Where Are They Now? Baseball's Mark Joseph
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Where Are They Now? Baseball's Mark Joseph

Mark Joseph has been part of a family tradition in Lipscomb baseball. He was an obutstanding infielder for the Bisons and his son, Caleb, was a star catcher at Lipscomb who just finished his second season with the Baltimore Orioles. Mark, a magna cum laude graduate of Lipscomb, has a new job but he managed to spend some time talking with Lipscomsports.com.

What years did you play baseball at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?

"I played in 1982, '83, '84 and '85 for Ken Dugan who was the head coach, manager and teacher. Al Austelle was the first base coach and the do-it-all on the field kind of guy."

What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?

"The 1984 team. I had my favorite experience and my worst experience all in one. We carried a 34-game winning streak into the NAIA Area 5 Tournament. We were playing at Greer Stadium. If I remember correctly all we had to do was win that tournament to go to the World Series.

"Winning 34 games in a row was an awesome accomplishment. There were a few of those games where we had to come back from way behind to win. It was one of those teams that felt confident that no matter how bad a game started we were going to be victorious at the end.

"That Area 5 Tournament ended with two straight losses. We lost both games by one run. I made the last out in one of the games with the bases loaded. I made pretty good contact on a ball I hit to center but it got up in the air and into the wind and just stopped. That is the best team I ever played on.

"I was the shortstop my freshman and sophomore years. Rey Solis came to the team from junior college and was quicker than me so he took over at shortstop. I played third as a junior and senior. It was pure reaction. I made fewer errors at third because the ball got there so quick."

What attracted you to Lipscomb?

"I wanted to go to a Christian college, much to the disappointment of my high school baseball coach. When I took my ACT test I wrote down schools like Lipscomb, Harding, Pepperdine and Abilene Christian.

"My high school coach had set me up for several visits to schools. I visited the University of Iowa and the University of Missouri. I could see I wasn't going to fit in at a larger school like Missouri. The programs were very impressive and their facilities were unbelievable, but those visits made me want to go to a Christian college even more.

"My Dad and I set up a visit to Lipscomb. Coach Dugan invited us to come and check it out. I signed a baseball scholarship with Lipscomb right on the spot. My high school coach was pretty upset with me.

"I was totally sold on Lipscomb. In my mind I can still smell the old wooden seats and the classrooms in the physical education department in McQuiddy Gym. It was a very humble place. It wasn't all that impressive, but it was a place where I could come and play ball and continue to educate myself In Gods' word. That was important to me. And the baseball team was a power in the NAIA. I really respected Ken Dugan's baseball knowledge."

Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?

"What motivated me as an athlete was to be the best person I could be in the way God made me. I wanted to glorify God with my talent.

"The Bible says something about when you are working for an employer you are to work like you are working for the Lord himself. I wanted there to be no doubt in anybody's mind why I was playing for Lipscomb. That is kind of the approach I took for my athletic activities.

"I wanted to play the game of baseball for Coach Dugan just as if I was playing baseball for the Lord. I wanted to make the Lord proud by playing hard and with as much integrity as possible.

"The baseball field was my only time to give my witness. When you sign on to play a sport at Lipscomb you are locked into a schedule that allows for little socializing or a social club. If you wanted to make good marks you put your tine in on the field and in the weight room, went to dinner and then went back to the dorm and did all of the studying you needed to do.

"I can remember Coach Dugan would come up to me when no one else was around and he would tell me he wanted me to make more of an effort to keep everybody in line. He knew that was why I was there. That put me between a rock and hard place. He didn't want me to be whistle-blower. He just wanted me to be a witness to have an Influence on my teammates."

What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?

"I had a different roommate every year. My freshman year I roomed with Andy Hogan. He was a left-handed pitcher from the Chattanooga area. The next year I roomed with Allen Malone, a big strong right-handed pitcher from Atlanta. One of my three brothers, Monty, came to Lipscomb my junior year on a tennis scholarship. We roomed together that year. I marred Lori Waller and she was my roommate my senior year.

"Lori's Dad, Gary, invested in a house on North Observatory. He also played baseball for Lipscomb. Coach Dugan lived in the house at one time and his son, Mike, was born there. Lori and I lived there my senior year."

Who was your favorite professor? Why?

"I was an accounting major and a computer science minor. My top three would be Axel Swang, Charles Frasier and Al Austelle.

"Dr. Swang loved the baseball team. It was kind of embarrassing in class. There would hardly be a day that went by that he didn't find some way to embarrass me in front of the class. He just treated all of the ballplayers with fondness. He had coached the team. He was honorary coach for several games. It was a sport dear to his heart.

"You took Axel Swang if you were serious about accounting.

"Charles Frasier is a close second. He lived close to us on North Observatory. We spent a lot of time chatting when we lived near each other. He always has a big smile on his face. He never changes.

"I had Al in computer since classes. He was a personable kind of guy. Coach Dugan's job was to make better ball players out of us. Al was there to keep it all balanced.

"A fourth one would be Earl Lomax. He was an English teacher. He was encouraging and very complimentary of me and all of my family who attended Lipscomb. I didn't make my best grades with Earl but I really admired him. He was a real strong Christian and I think we respected each other for that commitment. It was sad for me to see him pass away so young."

Where do you live now?

"Franklin, Tennessee."

Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?

"I work for LBMC Technology Solutions. I have been there since July. I am a business systems consultant. My favorite thing is consulting with businesses and helping them implement Cloud-based accounting systems. I love it. I am excited about it."

Tell us about your family.

"We have two sons, Caleb and Corban and one daughter, Carly. Corban married Emery Cochrane. They had our first grandchild, our granddaughter, Addi Tyne. Carly met Jackson Nichols and they married. Caleb and Brooke (Cannon) have had our second grand baby, a grandson, Walker. All of them are celebrating their third anniversaries. We had three weddings in the span of 105 days."

 My e-mail address is mjoseph@lbmc.com.