Brian Shaw, former Yellow Jacket basketball player, 2004 graduate, and the 2011 and 2013 World's Strongest Man is awarded this year's Young Alumni Achievement Award by, left to right, Tom Wheaton, director of Alumni Relations, Lori Caldwell, president of the Alumni Association, BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp, and Steve Meeker, vice president of University Advancement.  Brian Shaw, Class '04, returned to Black Hills State University earlier this month to accept the 2013 Young Alumni Achievement Award. During his visit, Shaw, the 2011 and 2013 World's Strongest Man, spent two hours signing autographs and talking with BHSU students, faculty, staff and community members.
Brian Shaw, former Yellow Jacket basketball player, 2004 graduate and 2011 and 2013 World’s Strongest Man, returned to the court he once played on last weekend to accept the 2013 Young Alumni Achievement Award. He was presented the award during halftime of the men’s basketball home opener.

“It’s awesome,” Shaw said of being presented with the award. “Anytime you can get honored from the University you attended for an achievement after you have graduated – it’s really a big honor.” 

The Young Alumni Achievement Award is awarded to alumni who have attended BHSU within the last 10 years and have distinguished themselves with outstanding achievements, contributions and service to society, the community, and the University.   

Prior to accepting his award, Shaw, who earned his wellness management degree from BHSU, spent nearly two hours signing autographs and chatting with BHSU faculty, staff, alumni and community members.

“It’s been fun being in this environment again,” said Shaw, who has not been back to BHSU since graduating. The campus has changed quite a bit, according to Shaw, but so has the former Yellow Jackets basketball player. Transforming from a 6’8” 280-pound basketball player to a 420-pound professional strongman, Shaw has been dominating the strongman world, building a successful business, creating training products and booking appearances across the country. His latest strongman title came in September when he deadlifted 975 pounds to secure his place as the 2013 World’s Strongest Man, earning the title for the second time in three years.

Created in 1977, the World’s Strongest Man has become the premier event in strength athletics. For more than 30 years, the strongest men on the planet have come together in a series of unique and amazing tests of strength to determine the ultimate title of World’s Strongest Man.

Growing up in Ft. Lupton, Colo., Shaw excelled at athletics at a young age using his strength and determination to succeed in many sports. He earned a scholarship to play with the Yellow Jackets and during his training for basketball discovered a passion for weight training.

Shaw said that basketball provided a great foundation for the success he has had in the strongman competitions.

“I’ve really found my passion,” Shaw said. “To do something I love it’s a dream come true.”

He began competing in international competitions, winning numerous strongman contests, including back-to-back Strongman Super Series World Championships. He qualified for the first World’s Strongest Man competition in 2008. A year later he placed third in the contest; the following year he placed second; and in 2011 he officially became the World’s Strongest Man. In September 2013, Shaw once again took home the title during the competition in Sanya, China.

Shaw said he is excited to continue competing. “I’m just getting into the prime of my career,” he said noting that the most strongman titles anyone has won is five. Shaw’s goal is six. “But I’m just taking it one competition at a time.”

His next competition will be the Arnold Classic, founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger, next March in Columbus, Ohio. The top 10 of the world’s best strongman athletes are invited to attend the annual event.