Brian Mast is the senior director of Lipscomb’s Academic Success Center. He and his wife are raising two young children. He is also close to completing his doctorate at Trevecca in leadership and professional practice. He returned to the mound at Ken Dugan Field Tuesday night to throw out the first pitch for the Bisons game against Belmont. He also spent some time talking with lipscombsports.com.
What sport did you play at Lipscomb? What years? Who were your coaches?
"I played baseball from 1990-93. I was a right-handed pitcher. (Editor's note: Brian had 30 career wins, 332 strikeouts in 279 innings and a 2.81 earned run average. In 1993 he was named the team MVP).
"As soon as I stepped on that rubber to throw out the first pitch I looked up in the stands for a minute. It brought back so many memories. It was exciting, especially throwing out the first pitch against Belmont."
"Ken Dugan was my coach. Roy Pardue was my pitching coach my senior year. Al Austelle was an assistant coach. Lynn Griffith and Andy Lane also helped out with the team."
"I am from Bremen, Ohio. I initially thought about coming to Lipscomb and playing basketball. I was an all-state basketball player, but I was not an all-state baseball player. I majored in social work and sociology."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"I have a few of them - pitching the game when Ken Dugan Field was dedicated in 1991. I also pitched coach Dugan's 1,000th win. Those were big events.
"When we came in as freshmen everybody was talking about coach Dugan's 1,000th win. We were several games away, but I knew it was going to happen during my four years here. To get the ball that day was quite special.
"In 1991 I pitched and beat Cumberland in the NAIA District Tournament my sophomore year.
"Another neat experience was standing out on the mound for a game and seeing a lot of my friends, who were not athletes, hanging `Ks' from High Rise."
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
"Coach Dugan and my teammates. Coach Dugan pushed us to be men. He taught us to respect people, our teammates and the people we were playing against.
"He made us work. He challenged us and made us believe that we could be better than we thought we could be."
(Editor's note: Brian was drafted in the 24th round in 1993 by the New York Mets. He pitched one season at Class A Kingsport. An injury in spring training the next season cut his career short.).
"When I told him I wanted to be a professional baseball player he basically told me what it would take. He told me that I would need to work header than anybody else in the United States because everyone had the dream to play pro baseball.
"He was very realistic. He told me that only a small percentage of people would ever realize that dream. He stressed academics and the need to have a back-up plan. But he always believed I could do it. He used Bo McLaughlin as an example because he was also from Ohio.
"That's when it really sunk in. I always wanted to play pro baseball. He pushed me to do the little things. He pushed me to work harder on the drills and to put time in on weekends. He pushed me to do whatever it took to throw the ball harder and more accurately.
"Matt Alexander was my roommate for all four years. We didn't know each other before we got to Lipscomb. We were both right-handed pitchers.
"He had a great career here as well. It was just a lot of fun to room with him. We became life-long friends from the first day we met on campus."
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"Obviously, it was the camaraderie with teammates and students off the field. I built relationships that have lasted a long time. I developed relationships with the parents of players, the faculty and former players. It was a great experience with the Bisons community off of the field.
"Also, I could never beat David Costello in Nerf basketball in the dorm."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"I learned a number of valuable things. Coach Dugan taught us how to treat people with respect. He taught me to believe in myself.
"I remember meeting with him and having some pretty deep conversations about setting goals and believing in yourself and working to accomplish those goals. I still set goals for myself every day.
"A couple of those goals were to play professional baseball and to reach as high as I could academically. I will finish my doctorate at Trevecca in a year in leadership and professional practice."
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"I had such caring, passionate professors that interacted with me both in the classroom and outside the classroom. It was always great to look up in the stands and see all of the professors that supported me.
"I will say Dr. Robert Hooper showed a major interest in me while I was a student. We had great conversations both inside and outside the classroom. I would always see Dr. Hooper's face in the stands."
Where do you live now?
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
"I am the senior director for the Academic Success Center. I have been here since July of 2012.
"Basically, we are a one-stop shop for all academic resources and support. We house the university's math lab and the writing studio. We do tutoring. We have technology the students can use. We have academic workshops and academic advising. We have academic coaching and student advocacy.
"I was the executive principal at Antioch High School last year. I spent almost 15 years with Metro schools. I have taught and coached.
"I was perusing the Lipscomb web site and saw the job was posted. I have worked with academic success. The job was very intriguing."
Tell us about your family.
"I am married to Lorri Forman Mast who teaches at Croft Middle School. We have two children - Eli, who is 4 years old, and Ella who is 9 years old. Eli was adopted from Ethiopia when he was six months old and Ella was adopted from China when she was 10 months old. They are great kids.
My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. My Twitter handle is @mastbrian.