What sport(s) did you play at Lipscomb? What years? Who were your coaches?
I started all four years for the Lipscomb baseball team as the lead-off hitter and center fielder from 1969-1972. I graduated from Lipscomb with a BA in Mathematics in June of 1972.
Ken Dugan was the head coach during my career. Gary Davis was the assistant coach.
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
I was considered a core member of the teams that elevated the Lipscomb baseball program to the next level of national recognition and dominance in the 1970s decade. I helped lead the 1971 and 1972 teams to consecutive runners-up finishes in the NAIA Baseball World Series, the first NAIA teams ever to accomplish this feat on their first two appearances.
Being the first African-American, “The Jackie Robinson of Lipscomb Baseball”, to play baseball for such a prestigious baseball program and the highly recognized coach, Ken Dugan has significant meaning to me, because it served as the gateway for African-Americans to be recruited into the baseball program. Such players as Jacob Robinson, Reggie Whittemore, Mel Williams, and several other have followed and made major contributions to the Lipscomb baseball program.
Breaking and establishing three school records during my career for hits, runs scored, and stolen bases in a season, with the stolen bases (39) still standing to date.
Being named one of the captains of the baseball team my senior year, the first African American to receive such an honor from the team.
Induction into the Lipscomb Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997 was considered a reward for my contributions to Lipscomb Baseball. I am proud to be one of the pioneers for opening the door for other African- American athletes to play sports for Lipscomb.
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
Coach Ken Dugan made the biggest impact on both my personal development and athletic career. Many life lessons were learned from being coached, developed and mentored by one of America’s greatest coaches.
Coach Dugan was real clear about his goal to win a national championship and embrace his system for achieving this goal. As a player for Coach Dugan I learned to master and execute the fundamentals of the game, be intense about developing my talent to the fullest, demonstrate teamwork by encouraging an trusting in my teammates, maintain a positive image on and off the field, and be passionate about exceeding individual and team expectations, follow team rules and directives, and accept the discipline required to achieve team goals.
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
The great relationships established with many students (athletes and non-athletes), professors, alumni, and supporters of Lipscomb during my college career. Several of my closest friendships today were established while attending Lipscomb from 1968-1972. The support I have received from these relationships at different times in my professional career and personal life has been extremely valuable.
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
The experiences I had at Lipscomb shaped my “core values” that drive how I live my life. Guided by a strong belief in God allows me to live by the following core values: Integrity (ethical, honest, trustworthy, and respectful); Making Positive Things Happen; Passion for learning and developing; Accountability to God, family, self, team; Commitment to excellence in performance and service; and Teamwork (Together Everybody Accomplishing More).
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
I had two favorite professors, Dr. Robert Kerce and Dr. Ralph Nance. Since I majored in mathematics, I spent a lot of time with Dr. Kerce. Dr. Kerce will always be special to me because he was genuinely more interested in me as a person than as a star athlete. He talked to me more about obtaining my degree in four years and about life after baseball. Dr. Kerce was a role model for exemplifying the values of Lipscomb. He was a spiritual, loving, caring, nurturing, encouraging and supportive person.
Dr. Ralph Nance was one of my favorites because he had a loving and caring spirit. He always had a few minutes to greet you with a warm smile and talk with you for a few minutes and offer words of encouragement. He will always be special to me because he made me feel a part of the Lipscomb family as a student first and then as an athlete. I regret that he recently died because he will be truly missed.
Where do you live now?
I recently moved back to my home town of Springfield, Tenn., from Atlanta, Ga., to be closer to my 80-plus years old parents who have declining levels of health.
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
I am the CEO and Founder of ITAP Solutions, a six-year-old business coaching practice that offers small business owners with 5 to 150 employees the advisory services along with easy to implement business strategies and programs that produce consistent growth in revenue and profits leading to the accumulation of personal wealth over time.
Prior to starting this enterprise, I spent 27 years in the telecommunications industry in various management positions with AT&T and Lucent Technologies, and as the COO and co-owner of WireAmerica, a light manufacturer and distributor of telecom products to the Regional Bell Operating Companies.
Tell us about your family:
I have a beautiful and talented daughter, Tiffany Nicole (28), from my marriage to Shelia Wilkerson. Tiffany is a doctor of dental surgery (DDS) practicing in Los Angeles, Calif.
I am blessed to have both of parents, Linconia (80) and Louis (83), still alive. They have been married for 63 years and reside in Springfield.