Brian Osborne never applied to appear on “The Bachelorette.”
Now of reality TV fame, the Temple alum was surprised by a call from ABC after his graduation in 2011. Without his knowledge, two of Osborne’s female friends nominated him to compete for a rose while they were still in school, and eventually he caught the network’s attention.
Osborne described his reaction as nonchalant when he was approached about undergoing an initial contestant interview for “The Bachelorette.”
“I didn’t really prep for it,” he said. “I didn’t prepare myself. I just went in being the normal Brian and next thing I knew, I was headed for the mansion in Malibu.”
Osborne’s full-time job and part-time coaching position for the boy’s basketball team at Trinity High School in Harrisburg went on hold while he competed for bachelorette Andi Dorfman’s affections. When he was eliminated in Belgium on June 30, many viewers expressed their disappointment.
Though he never expected to be dubbed “the most normal guy on the show” by fans and media alike, Osborne’s popularity was notable. He insisted that all of his actions came from a purely genuine place – he wasn’t trying to win anyone over except Dorfman.
“I really didn’t change one bit,” Osborne said. “There were a couple guys who did, like it was an acting gig. I was just trying to be me. I tried to be the best guy I possibly could.”
Many of Osborne’s fans – including his high school basketball players and a large fan following at Temple – seemed to think he was. His former boss at Temple’s Campus Recreation office, Intramural Coordinator Ray Destephanis, was among them. He said he strongly feels that Osborne “should have been in the final four where they meet the family.”
“It was fun watching him,” Destephanis said, adding that he’s never previously watched the show but DVR’d it just to see Osborne on television. “When he’d need to be a leader, he’d be a leader, like the day of the basketball [tournament] he was a leader. He was right on the money on the show.”
And his presence on reality TV wasn’t a far cry from his days working for Campus Recreation. Destephanis called him a “top notch” employee who worked himself up from student official to supervisor for a number of different intramural sports.
Osborne, who called his time at Campus Recreation majorly influential on his character, also recalled his senior capstone class for tourism and hospitality management.
“It was really about business and we had to carry ourselves in the best way possible, professionally and socially,” Osborne said. “I thought it had a big impact on my maturity level after I graduated. A lot of things that I needed to think about on camera were [taught] in that class.”
Those experiences during his college education helped him to conduct himself in the collected, respectful manner that drew viewer support, Osborne said.
His time at “The Bachelorette’s” “Malibu mansion,” where contestants live during filming, was comparable to being in a fraternity, Osborne said. He said relationships with co-stars weren’t at all strained due to competition. In fact, he believes he’s established life-long friendships with some of the other men on the show.
When it comes to Dorfman, Osborne is just happy she’s happy – if he didn’t win, he said he wanted her to “end up with the best guy.”
Rumors circling the status of his own romantic future, namely that he was in the running to be the bachelor in the upcoming season, are something Osborne said he takes day by day. While he did confirm that he won’t be returning as the new bachelor, Osborne has been using his current fan following to support some charitable events, including a 2014 Central PA Hydrocephalus Association Walk that he attended on Aug. 2 in honor of a family friend.
“If there’s a good cause, if there’s a way I can help out of course I try,” Osborne said. “If I’m available I’m always going to do something. I have to give back. The love and support I got from the central Pennsylvania area, and Temple and Philadelphia – I can’t complain.”
Though he said he’s ready to get back to just being “Coach Osborne,” the experience was “one of the coolest” he’s had, Osborne said.
“You learn so much about yourself and who you want to end up with eventually,” Osborne said. “The way I carried myself, there are little aspects that made me who I was on the show. Temple did, being a basketball coach did. I have no regrets.”
Erin Edinger-Turoff can be reached at email@example.com and on twitter @erinJustineET