In a first for “Where Are They Now,” we found one of Lipscomb’s student-athlete married couples. Pitcher Paul Piennette and basketball player Karli Osborn met in school at Lipscomb and were married in 2008. They can both make the enviable claim of winning an ASUN Conference championship and earning a berth in an NCAA Regional. Learn more from their conversation this week with Lipscombsports.com.
When did you compete for Lipscomb?
KARLI: I played from 2002-06 for Coach Frank Bennett and amazing assistants Billy Snell and Cheryl Smith.
PAUL: I played baseball from 2006-08 – one year for Coach Wynn Fletcher and two years for Jeff Forehand.
Why did you choose to attend Lipscomb?
KARLI: My older brother, Clayton Osborn, played basketball at Lipscomb his freshman year before he left on a two-year mission for our church. He had such an amazing experience both spiritually and academically that I wanted that for myself too. The opportunity to move from Utah to Nashville meant that I would be closer to my sisters and the country music scene, a win-win all around!
PAUL: I think location and timing had a big impact on why I ended up at Lipscomb. I was recruited out of a summer baseball league in Tennessee. I grew up in Indiana and played baseball in the snow and cold for a long time, so when I was choosing colleges I wanted to move south – out of the snow. I was playing summer baseball when the Lipscomb coaches saw me and started recruiting me. I enjoyed Nashville and was very excited to stay in the south to play baseball. But when I started investigating the school I was immediately sold. Lipscomb had everything I was looking for in a school and baseball program: strong academics, good people who were not scared to talk about faith and religion, and no snow (at least not regular snow).
What is your most fond athletic memory at Lipscomb?
KARLI: Besides winning the conference in 2004 and experiencing the NCAA Chattanooga (TN) Regional Tournament, I think living my childhood goal and dream of singing the national anthem before the game and then stepping out on the court as an NCAA DI athlete.
PAUL: Winning the 2008 A-Sun Championship and earning the right to play in the Athens (GA) Regional in the NCAA Tournament.
Who was a great influence in your athletic career at Lipscomb?
KARLI: Billy Snell was such a great mentor to me. He was like my big brother whom I could talk to about anything. He was so encouraging and positive. He supported me in my musical endeavors and never discouraged me in my involvement outside basketball –the Tau Phi Cowboy Show and being a member of the Sigma Iota Music Fraternity. He genuinely wanted the best for each player!
PAUL: I would say my teammates. My senior year, our team had such a good collection of guys – people who were not only fierce competitors on the field, but people that I also really enjoyed off the field. We had a lot of different personalities on the team, and we all seemed to mesh real well together both on and off the field.
What is your most fond non-athletic memory from Lipscomb?
KARLI: Meeting all the wonderful people who I will always call my friends. Of course, there is one person I met who changed my life: Paul, who later became my husband. I met him my senior year at Lipscomb. He was a sophomore transfer who decided to go to Lipscomb because it had a great baseball program and his cousin was attending Lipscomb at the time. Lipscomb provided the opportunity for two people from different parts of the country to meet and fall in love. Now we have three handsome boys who want to be Bisons one day too!
PAUL: Meeting and getting to know my wife.
What’s the most valuable lesson you gained from your time here?
KARLI: My time at Lipscomb was my most challenging on every level: academically, physically, spiritually and emotionally. I was figuring out who I was and who I wanted to become. I was stretched to the point that I knew I needed help beyond my own strength. It was the first time in my life I really learned to lean on God and trust Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” This valuable lesson has helped me face life’s challenges after college with a little more courage and faith. I would not be the mother and wife I am today without those valuable life experiences I had at Lipscomb.
PAUL: I learned who I was as a person in my time at Lipscomb. Being away on my own for an extended period of time for the first time in my life forced me to decide what I wanted to do, how I wanted to live and the kind of people that I wanted in my life. The experiences I had and the people I met, especially Karli, have really shaped who I am today.
Who was your favorite professor, and why?
KARLI: Dr. Gerald Moore was one of my music professors. He pushed me in my musical abilities and was so supportive in my being a student-athlete as well. He encouraged me to participate in the school choirs, which gave me the opportunity to travel to China on a music exchange program with China University.
PAUL: This is a tie between Dr. Kent Clinger and Dr. Philip Choate. Dr. Clinger was my advisor and was always there for me when I needed advice or direction on how and what to do next, both academically and in the bigger picture of life. Dr. Choate was just a really fun teacher and was the first one to introduce me to medicine and what it takes to pursue a career in taking care of sick patients. His Anatomy and Physiology class might as well be taken right out of a medical school curriculum – perfect preparation.
Where do you live, and what do you do?
KARLI: I’m a wife/mother/teacher/coach. I live with my husband, Paul, and our three energetic sons: Asher (6), Bryson (5) and Caleb (3). I also get to work as a private basketball coach for Coachup Inc., and I’m an online teacher for VIPKID teaching English to students in China.
PAUL: I’m an Anesthesiologist in Birmingham, Alabama at University Medical Center and the University of Alabama Medical School. I’m responsible for taking care of the acute issues and maintaining the safety of patients who are having surgery.
You can reach Paul and Karli by email: firstname.lastname@example.org