San Diego

Brent Woodall, Killed on 9/11, Leaves Lasting Legacy in San Diego and Beyond

La Jolla native Brent Woodall was a talented athlete, a loving husband and a soon-to-be father when a plane struck the south tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001

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"Intense." "A competitor. "Dedicated to being successful."

That's how family members describe Brent Woodall, a La Jolla native with a storied sports career and ambition that took him to New York City. That's where he worked as an equities trader in the south tower of the World Trade Center.

It's also where Brent Woodall died, along with nearly 3,000 others on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center's Twin Towers, the Pentagon and, through the efforts of passengers on board, a field in Pennsylvania instead of its intended target in Washington, D.C.

"Sometimes I will see footage and think, 'There's no way that's how he died," Brent's brother Craig Woodall said. "Anniversaries are always interesting to me because everyone else remembers around anniversaries, and for me and my family, I remember him every day," Craig Woodall said.

San Diego remembers Brent Woodall, too, because of the impact he made while he was here.

If you knew him, you knew he'd be successful

Craig Woodall, Brent's Brother
Craig Woodall
Brent Woodall holding his baby brother Craig. Brent Woodall was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His family has helped carry on his legacy.

"If you knew him, you knew he'd be successful," Craig Woodall said.

As a teen attending La Jolla High School, Brent Woodall was a three-sport letterman in basketball, football and baseball. His talents, not only as an athlete but as a student as well, earned him the title of San Diego County's High School Athlete of the Year in 1989.

Every year, the high school honors Brent Woodall.

"I knew Brent and the legend he was growing up. He was someone we all idolized," one person said in a tribute video posted by the high school.

Brent Woodall and father
Craig Woodall
Brent Woodall in his Cal uniform and his father. Brent Woodall was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His family has helped carry on his legacy.

His talents took him to UC Berkeley where he was a stand-out athlete in football and baseball but also thrived academically; he left Cal with a business degree and academic honors.

Brent Woodall's athletic career then took him to the midwest, where he pitched for the Chicago Cubs' farm team until an injury shifted his path towards finance.

After his move to New York, Brent Woodall met his future wife Tracy, who was the former captain of Columbia University's volleyball team. And, in 2001, the couple was overjoyed to find out they were expected a baby.

But, Brent Woodall would never get to meet Pierce, his little girl. She was born six months after the terrorist attacks.

Tracy Woodall
Brent Woodall's daughter, Pierce, was born six months after he died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"Brent was a special man and he touched many lives," Tracy Woodall said. "He is missed by many, especially me. I am heartbroken still to not have the life I dreamed with him."

Tracy Woodall always wished to recover Brett Woodall's wedding ring, but it had never been found. She calls it "her biggest hurt."

Brent Woodall Missing Poster
Craig Woodall
A missing poster searches for Brent Woodall in the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Brent Woodall never made it home.

The Woodall family in La Jolla, including Craig, was grieving for the loss, too. They knew Brent Woodall wanted to make a difference and struggled to accept that he could no longer accomplish that goal.

But it didn't take long -- just a few weeks after his death, in fact -- to realize that Brent Woodall still could make a difference.

"People need to remember that adversity can bring about positive things if we allow it," Craig Woodall said.

Craig and close friends of the Woodalls created the Brent Woodall Memorial Scholarship fund at Cal, which honors Golden Bear student-athletes.

And, closer to home, La Jolla High School created a memorial award and scholarship recognizing outstanding baseball players in the athlete's honor.

Craig Woodall
A bench in New York City honors Brent Woodall, a La Jolla Native who was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In 2003, Brent Woodall's widow, Tracy, established the Brent Woodall Foundation for Exceptional Children to support the families of children with autism and developmental disabilities.

But perhaps the most poignant Woodall legacy is a living one. Pierce Woodall is following in her father's— and mother's — footsteps, becoming her own gifted scholar-athlete.

She now attends Columbia University, where she plays on the volleyball team with the same intensity as her dad.

Tracy Woodall
Pierce Woodall, daughter of Brent Woodall, is now a talented student-athlete herself. She plays volleyball for Columbia University.
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