One of the reasons why Chris Gainer chose to attend Lipscomb University was the opportunity to break into the lineup quickly. He didn’t realize how quick that would happen and that he would be Lipscomb’s equivalent of Cal Ripken, Jr., in terms of longevity at shortstop. Gainer is involved in computer software engineering and spent some time this week while he was on the road to talk with Lipscombsports.com.
What years did you play baseball at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
"I played from 1992 through 1996. I played shortstop.
"Ken Dugan was my head coach the entire time. He retired my senior year. We ended our baseball careers together and that was an honor for me.
"The assistant coaches were Roy Pardue, Kolin Holladay, Randy Bostic and Lynn Griffith."
Why did you choose to attend Lipscomb?
"I grew up in Brentwood and played baseball at Overton so Lipscomb was local for me.
"The main reason for my decision was the fact I thought I would be able to play early. I had several opportunities to go other places, but Brent High, a high school teammate, told me he was going to sign and play at Lipscomb. That cinched the deal for me when I found out Brent was going to go and I signed. Brent and I actually roomed together our freshman and sophomore years."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"The funny thing is as time goes on my favorite memory is the players I met who remain friends to this day. We had quite a few guys who were really good ball players.
"We played in the district tournament my sophomore year and went pretty deep in that in Athens, Tennessee at Tennessee Wesleyan. We lost to Lambuth.
“Sadly enough, I made an error, but I still have fond memories of our team competing in that tournament. The pitcher who threw for Lambuth, Ray King, had a long major league career. We should have beaten them, but at least we lost to a good pitcher.
“There was a player who was injured my freshman year before the spring season started. I felt badly about that, but ended up starting my freshman year and played every inning at shortstop for all four years at Lipscomb. That was kind of a neat thing.
“My senior year Coach Dugan asked me if I wanted a break. I told him I wanted to keep going.”
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
“Ken Dugan. Coach Dugan was really sick my last two years there. One of the things I thought was neat about Coach Dugan was he would call me into his office, sometimes in the middle of the day, and just sit and chat about life and about baseball.
“We talked a lot about how to be a better leader and how to lead on a team. We were a very young team. My sophomore year he was wanting me to take more of a leadership role. I don’t believe he did that with a lot of players on the team, so I kind of treasured that he would take the time out of the day to talk with me.
“He talked with me a lot about the mental side of baseball. My freshman year he stressed the importance of getting stronger and becoming a more mental hitter. From my freshman to my sophomore year I probably improved the most in baseball than I had done in my entire life.
“I won a lot of honors for that in the district, on the team and even nationally. Coach Dugan was the person behind that. I don’t believe I would have done those things if it wasn’t for him.
“He wanted to make sure his players were performing well in the classroom. We would talk a lot about grades.”
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"Meeting my wife, Derinda (Tyler). I had put off taking a class called differential equations for two years and I had to take it my last semester of college.
"My future wife was in the class and tutored me. I would probably not have met her had I not waited to take the class.
"Her Dad is a math professor. They were big math people. We had a little study group of people and then somehow she and I started studying together. We studied a lot in the common area of her dorm (Yearwood, which was replaced by Allen Arena)
"The rest is history. We are getting ready to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary in a few days."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
“My four years there I just met so many genuine people. You treat people the way you want to be treated and the way they want to be treated.
“As a Christian university I just saw so many people giving of themselves and being selfless. I try to aspire to that. We are all not there yet. I saw Brent High giving of himself so many times and helping people out. I am trying to aspire to do that.
“There are a lot of people that need my time. It is easy to say you are busy, but I am really trying to live that selfless life and be of help.
“That is the philosophy of Lipscomb to live the way Christ lived. There are a lot of students in their teens and 20s trying to model that and 20 years later I am still trying to do the same thing.”
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
“I was a computer science major. Dennis Hood was the head of computer science while I was there so I had him for a lot of classes.
“He was a computer guy and my Dad was a computer guy so I related to the fact he was very logical about everything. There wasn’t a lot of emotion. Everything was either true or false. It was a computer program and it was either right or wrong. I work well in that world and not so well in creative, grayish areas.”
Where do you live now?
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
“I am in computer software development for a health rehab company named Key Rehabilitation. Out headquarters are in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I work from home most of the time.
“As a software engineer I like to know exactly what is going to happen and make the computer do that. If it doesn’t do that I want to figure out why and fix it.”
Tell us about your family.
My wife’s name is Derinda. We have a 14-year old son, Tyler, and an 11-year-old daughter, Ellie.”
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.