Josh Willeford was a pitcher for the Lipscomb Bisons. He is a vice president, financial operations, for The Advisory Board Company. He keeps a busy schedule, but he spent some time talking with Lipscombsports.com about his memories of Lipscomb and what he is doing today.
What years did you play baseball at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
"I played from 1996-2000. I pitched, sometimes well, sometimes not so well.
"My four years lined up with Mel Brown's four years as head coach. I got there a year after coach Ken Dugan retired and left a year before Wynn Fletcher became the head coach. Carmon Brown, Richie (G-Mo) Estep and Jay Lasley were the assistant coaches."
Why did you choose to play baseball at Lipscomb?
"I actually committed to Lipscomb simply for baseball. I born and raised about an hour north of Nashville in Adairville, Kentucky. Coach Brown started recruiting me my senior year.
"I came down for a try out, saw the baseball field and absolutely loved it. I decided that playing baseball and going to school an hour from home would probably be a good thing.
"I committed without knowing that Lipscomb was affiliated with the Church of Christ or that it even had a Christian affiliation.
"I was immediately drawn to the Christian environment. I found the people (staff, students, community) to be kind, genuine, and caring. Looking back at my time on campus, Brent High invested in me heavily. Brent discipled me and taught me what it meant to love and follow Jesus. It was really an attractive place for me."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"My sophomore year (1998) we played Berry College when they were ranked in the top five in the country in the NAIA. I pitched a complete game. We beat them 4-1. It was on my birthday, March 20."
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
"My teammates. The comradery, the bonds and the friendships formed on and off the field over those four years were extremely special. They truly did become my family during those four years and some are still like family. Brian Cromwell, Richie Estep, Clark Lambert, and JD Blackburn were seniors when I was a freshman and they really took me under their wings. Brian is still one of my best friends today."
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"I met my wife, Lori (Taylor), on campus. She was an All-American tennis player at Lipscomb. I met her through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Hands down, she was my best catch on campus.
"Brent High and others were in the process of starting the Lipscomb version of FCA. They asked me to be one of the leaders of that group."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"My time at Lipscomb taught me that relationships are the most important thing in life - relationships with God, family, friends and teammates. Those are the things you remember and are of the utmost importance."
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"Charles Frasier and Perry Moore were outstanding professors and advisors. I have a friendship with them today and have tons of respect for both of them.
"You could tell they were very invested in you as a person and in your success. They are both super guys.
"I majored in accounting. I got my Master's (MAcc. - Accounting-Audit) at the University of Tennessee the year after graduating from Lipscomb. I moved back to Nashville after enduring Orange for a year (Go Big Blue!) and started my career in what was Big Five accounting at Arthur Andersen."
Where do you live now?
"The Crieve Hall area of Nashville."
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
"I work for The Advisory Board Company. We are a hospital and health care consulting firm. We work with hospitals, health systems, payers, and providers in a variety of ways. Ultimately, we help hospitals experience success in employing physicians.
"My current role is vice president of financial operations."
Tell us about your family.
“My wife’s name is Lori (Taylor, Lipscomb 2002). Our son, Weston, is 7 and coaching him in the Crieve Hall Baseball League is one of the most fun and rewarding things I’ve ever done. Our daughter, Taylor Grace, is 5. Our son, Lincoln Joshua, is due the Fourth of July.”
What is your email address?
“My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from anyone in the Lipscomb community.”