Jorge Gutierrez only played baseball for one year at Lipscomb, but what a year it was. With Gutierrez at shortstop the Bisons won the Atlantic Sun Tournament and then upset Georgia, the host school, in the first game of the NCAA Regional in Athens. They didn't win the region, but they definitely got noticed, especially for the white shoes that made their debut in the first Georgia game. After playing in the minors, and making it all the way to Triple A with the Kansas City Royals farm system, Gutierrez returned to his hometown of Miami, Florida where he owns and operates Power Alley Training. He found some time this week to talk with Lipscombscports.com.
What years did you play at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
"I only played one year in 2008. Jeff Forehand was my coach."
Why did you decide to attend Lipscomb?
"I transferred from UAB. Pretty much the only reason I decided to come to Lipscomb was Coach Forehand.
"When I played junior college at Jackson State in Jackson, Tennessee Coach Forehand recruited me to come to Trevecca. I turned him down. The reason I gave him was because I had my grades and I was going to play NCAA Division I. That had always been my goal.
"I went down to Newnan, Georgia for a workout with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Coach Forehand was down there with Brad Coon. He told me he really wanted to sign me to play for Trevecca. I told him then if Trevecca was a D-I school I would have signed with him pretty much with my eyes closed because I had heard so many good things about Coach Forehand.
"The coach resigned at UAB. That same week Coach Forehand called me. He said you turned me down because I wasn't coaching at a D-I school. He told me he was at Lipscomb. When I was at Jackson State I turned down Lipscomb when Wynn Fletcher was the head coach.
"Coach Forehand found out I had left UAB through an ex-teammate of mine who had played at Trevecca. He pretty much surprised me when he called me. I didn't know he was at Lipscomb. I was getting ready to sign with the University of South Florida.
"When I visited the Lipscomb campus I made my decision right away."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"My favorite memory is winning the A-Sun Championship game. The whole tournament had been a positive for us.
"It was such an up-and-down game against Gardner-Webb in the finals. They started out ahead. We got ahead. They came back. At some point we were wondering how we were going to get out of the hole, but in the 15th inning we came back (with three runs to win 10-9).
"If it hadn't been for that game we would have never been in the regionals. Throughout the 15 innings the whole team was a part of the win."
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
"Coach Forehand, by far, and in every way possible.
"I grew up in Miami and culture is a lot different here. It is definitely fast-paced living and you can get caught up in that.
"It was always good to see him walking around campus or to find him inside his office. You could talk about anything with him. I felt like I had that relationship with him where I could go in his office and talk with him even if I was just killing time between classes.
"On the field Coach Forehand was someone you didn't want to disappoint. You just wanted to give him your all.
"Just being around Coach Forehand makes you a better person. He made me a better baseball player. He treated me like one of his own from the beginning.
"He was a guy who kept recruiting me when I had pretty much turned him down. I feel bad about saying that now. I didn't know at the time he was going to be such a big part of my career.
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"I would say just hanging out in the student center with the team. It was new for me. UAB's campus was downtown. It was a faster pace there.
"Lipscomb was different. It was pretty much a ritual to go to the student center and hang out and wait for class or wait for lunch. I truly believe that is the reason why we got along so well in the field because we were together everywhere. We hung out together on the weekends.
"We were really close. We still stay in touch with each other."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"Just how to treat people and be a better person. It goes back to Coach Forehand and pretty much giving back to others like he does.
"I am a business owner now. I like to be a leader. I want to lead. I don't want to just boss people around. Becoming a better person all-around helped me a lot."
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"I took some Spanish courses from Frank Martinez.
"I liked the way he ran the class. He was really into the whole class participating. Whenever he taught he always had a story to tell behind it. His sense of humor was good. He was great."
Where do you live now?
You were instrumental in the baseball team wearing white shoes for the first time in the NCAA Tournament in 2008. What prompted you to want to do it?
“One day when I was in Coach Forehand’s office by myself. We were talking about what equipment he was getting us, from practice uniforms to game equipment. So I asked him, ‘Coach, I want to wear white cleats, let's get white cleats’. Without skipping a beat Coach Forehand replied, `Jorge, get us to a regional and we will wear white’.
“Fast forwarding five months later, soon after we won the Atlantic Sun Conference at Stetson, at the moment we got on the bus still celebrating, Coach Forehand gives me a hug and tells me that he was getting on the phone with the Nike rep to have the white cleats ready for us to be worn in regionals.
“First day ever wearing white cleats with our gray uniforms, we beat Georgia 11-7.
“And that's the story of the famous white cleats! Till this day I'm very proud of sharing that story.“It says a lot of how great of a person/coach Jeff Forehand is. He kept his word!”
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
"I own a gym, Power Alley Training. I got a degree in diversified science at Lipscomb. I earned my Master of Science in Exercise Science and Health Promotions and in performance enhancing and injury prevention from California University of Pennsylvania in 2014.
"Out of Lipscomb I signed with the Kansas City Royals and made it all the way to Triple-A. I had an injury at Lipscomb. After playing Triple-A the Royals gave me a postseason physical and I still had a hairline fracture in my wrist.
"They signed a couple of guys in the winter meetings and released me. I played a couple of years in independent ball. I decided in 2011 to start my business."
Tell us about your family.
"I am single."
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org