May 19, 2009
UCSB student-athletes are a special group of young men and women who also serve as great role models to the many fans and youth that support them in sports and in everyday life.
Each day more than 450 UCSB student-athletes compete in the classroom, compete in their respective sport and give back to the community.
This week's Great Example is baseball player, Brian Gump.
Gump, a graduating senior from Westminster, Calif., is completing a degree in English and hopes to continue his baseball career professionally after he graduates in June.
Gump, who was recently named college baseball Player of the Year by the Santa Barbara Athletic Roundtable, is completing an outstanding career. This season he has played in all of the Gauchos' games and failed to reach base or record an RBI just once. He ranks third in the Big West in runs scored and fourth in stolen bases.
When Gump is not on the field, he is busy fulfilling his duties as co-chair of the Student Athlete Advisory Board where he enjoys having a behind-the-scenes look at the operations of the Athletics Department. His position in SAAB has also given him the opportunity to take-part in raising money for great causes, such as the Isla Vista Youth Project, which benefited from Gump and SAAB's efforts earlier this year.
Gump took some time to answer a few questions about himself.
1. What is your favorite part about going to UCSB?
The great people that I am surrounded by on a daily basis, whether it be my teammates, coaches, friends, fellow athletes or administrators, no matter where I go any given day I get to interact with amazing people.
2. What are your plans for after graduation?
They are up in the air right now, I am looking forward to hopefully getting an opportunity to play baseball professionally. It's a pretty exciting prospect and on top of that, I would like to get my teaching credentials and possibly a master's and be a teacher and a coach, who knows, maybe even be the head coach here at UCSB one day.
3. What are you going to miss most about playing baseball for the Gauchos?
Plain and simple, I'm going to miss my teammates. I already know that and I'm sure it will become even more painfully obvious once I'm out of here. My teammates for four years here have been unreal, so many good times.
4. What do you like to do for your free time?
I'll be honest, a lot of my free time when it is not being allocated towards extra practice in the cages or the weight room goes to my lovely girlfriend, Ariana Gnekow. I don't know how she isn't tired of my antics yet, but I'm not complaining.
5. What has been your biggest accomplishment while playing here?
Being the captain of the team and earning my teammates' and coaches' respect on and off the field is my biggest accomplishment. Those are some great men and to have their respect and trust means a lot to me.
6. What will you miss most about Isla Vista?
I will miss the accessibility of so many friends in such a small place. It is such a rare opportunity that will undoubtedly never come my way again to live in such close quarters with so many friends. Once we're all out of here and in the "real world" we wont be able to see so many friendly faces on a daily basis.
7. Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Not many people know this, but I pray at a minimum 2 times before every game, once with my teammates and once during the national anthem. It helps put things in perspective as to how lucky I am and I make sure to thank the big man upstairs for the opportunity each game brings.
8. Who is your biggest role model?
I would have to say my family. Each family member has had a distinct and immensely positive impact on helping me develop into who I am today. I am extremely lucky to have such great brothers and parents, I could brag about them for days.
9. What has been your favorite class at UCSB?
My senior seminar, English 190, with professor Shewry was probably my favorite class. It was about indigenous literature. I think I learned the most from that class and came away with a distinctly different perspective about the histories of people.
10. What is one thing about you most people don't know?
I was a commercial actor when I was a child. Despite what most people saw in the Pink Zone promotional video, I have done some legit commercials in my day.
11. What has been your biggest challenge in your four-year college baseball career?
Learning how to take things one day at a time on the field. I'm still learning, baseball is all about living in the moment, you fail way too much in this game to dwell on the past.
12. If you couldn't play baseball, what other sport would you want to play?
Soccer! I still think I would have been a pretty solid player. I love the game and the physicality mixed with athletic ability that it demands.
13. The one thing you could not live without is...
My cellular telephone
14. What is your best memory from your four years here?
Rounding third base after my grand slam in the eighth inning at Cal Poly (last year) and seeing my entire team waiting for me at the plate. It was the most amazing comeback I have ever been a part of.
15. Is there any motto that you live by?
I tend to live by a lot of mottos. I think my favorite is, "failure is not falling down, failure is not getting back up after you have fallen down"
16. If you could only pick one I.V restaurant to eat at, which one would you pick?
Javans! Those sando's are so good
17. In one word how would you describe UCSB baseball?
18. What is the most embarrassing moment in your baseball career?
In high school I was trying to score from first and as I was rounding third I got tripped up and face-planted and then crawled back to third instead of scoring...pretty embarrassing!
Earlier this year UCSB Athletics unveiled the BE Great initiative. BE Great is dedicated to maximizing leadership ability, strong on-campus interaction, and general welfare for all 450 student-athletes and Intercollegiate Athletics staff at UC Santa Barbara. BE Great also focuses on personal and career development, diversity, and social awareness, along with ensuring academic success. UCSB has a 92% student-athlete graduation rate.