He came to Lipscomb from his family farm in Indiana, and he graduated four years later with a degree in Engineering, a career-long job, and a wife. But Neal Langdon also left campus with something unique: two championship rings. We learned about his memories from the 1977 and 1979 NAIA National Baseball Championships, the famous “Chuck Ross rain-out” game, and his favorite professor when he visited this week with LipscombSports.com.
What years did you compete for Lipscomb?
I played for Coach Ken Dugan from the fall of 1977 through the spring of 1980.
What teammate was most memorable?
There are too many to name without leaving people out. But whenever I see former teammates, the memories rush back over me and I think of the kids we were in those days.
What degree have you earned?
I earned my B.S. in Engineering Science from David Lipscomb College in 1980.
Why did you attend Lipscomb?
I grew up in Indiana playing baseball and working on a farm. I came to Lipscomb to play baseball and to get a good education, and thankfully I succeeded at both. I feel all of those experiences helped shape the person I am today.
What is your favorite athletic memory at Lipscomb?
The obvious answer is winning NAIA World Series Championships in both 1977 and 1979. In addition, some of the experiences along the way stand out in my memory – like getting back into the 1979 tournament after Grand Canyon College dropped out.
I’ll never forget working all Saturday morning to dry the field out and get ready for a doubleheader, but the team from Michigan did not show up. On Monday, Coach Dugan learned that “Coach Chuck Ross” had called the opponent team’s hotel early Saturday morning and advised them that the games were rained out, so they went on home.
Another fun memory was coming from behind by about six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat Vanderbilt. It was dark when the inning started, but when we finally yelled “courts” (to warn people on the tennis courts in right field of the three-run home run), it was too dark to see the ball clear the fence to win. It was an amazing finish, and one I’m sure we remember much more favorably than the Commodores do.
Who influenced your athletic career at Lipscomb?
Coach Dugan influenced my entire life a variety of ways, and athletics is certainly one of them.
What do you remember about Lipscomb campus life during your time here?
It’s a challenge to explain the atmosphere on Lipscomb’s campus to someone who hasn’t experienced it personally, but the simplest summary might be: there were so many people that cared about each other. Maybe other college campuses are like that, but it was a feeling I hadn’t experienced before, from fellow players, students, faculty members and coaches. Being a student at Lipscomb was a very unique opportunity that I appreciate more as time goes on.
What is the most valuable lesson you learned in your time at Lipscomb?
Coach Ken Dugan, Dr. Ralph Nance, Brother Willard Collins and others inspired a sense of living and respect that I feel is portrayed in the following quote from Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Who were your favorite professors?
Dr. Ralph Nance was my favorite professor as well as my advisor. After graduation, he also helped me land a job at Nashville Bridge Company. Even though it is under different ownership, I still work there today. So this was a lifelong of guidance he so selfishly provided to me. I still see his son, Paul, quite often. We were friends and had classes together. Good memories of school and Dr. Nance come back every time I see him.
What do you do now?
I’m currently the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at ARCOSA Marine Products. We are the leading builder of tank and hopper barges, barge covers and NABRICO marine products in the United States and internationally.
Tell us about your family:
I was privileged to meet and marry my lovely wife Mary Jane (Holleman) during my time at Lipscomb, and we’ve been married for almost 39 years. We live in Goodlettsville, TN.
We have a son and a daughter. Weston graduated from Lipscomb University, went to Medical School at Vanderbilt, and is now a Doctor of Radiology. He and his wife Jessica are expecting their first child in the spring and live in the Nashville area.
Our daughter Laura Jane also attended Lipscomb University before earning a Physician Assistant degree at South College. She lives in west Tennessee and practices in Steele, MO. Both of our children and our daughter-in-law spent a semester abroad in Vienna, Austria during their time at Lipscomb, and all came back impressed with how Lipscomb’s Study Abroad program added value to their educational experiences.
- Favorite food: Dinner at Antoine’s in New Orleans
- Favorite TV show or movie: “Curse of Oak Island”
- Favorite Bible scripture: Luke 6:31 – “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”
- Favorite sports team: PGA Golf Tour
- People I most admire: My Mom and Dad. They taught us well and gave us wings to fly on our own.
- Rather ride or drive? Drive
- Pick one – salad or dessert: Dessert
- Dream vacation spot: A quiet beach
- Early morning or late night person? Late Night
You can contact Neal by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org