UMO Student Athlete Overcomes Hardships to Pursue Graduate Degree

UMO Student Athlete Overcomes Hardships to Pursue Graduate Degree

MOUNT OLIVE- Twenty-three year old Julian Santos of Miami, FL is the first University of Mount Olive (UMO) student to pursue a master’s degree and a spot on the Trojan’s baseball team. Santos’ future is looking bright in both graduate academics and athletics, but it wasn’t always smooth sailing for him.

Santos’ love for baseball transpired early on in his childhood. His father played collegiately for Miami Dade Community College, and Santos grew up chasing a dream of playing professionally for his favorite team, the New York Yankees. He developed into a standout center field player in high school and was awarded with first team all-county and first team all-region honors during his time at Miami Killian Sr. High.

When it came time for college, Santos decided on his dream school, The University of Miami. With his repertoire of impressive high school stats, Santos was offered a scholarship and a position on the baseball team in 2010.

As he headed into his freshman year, disaster struck for Santos, and he tore his right ACL and meniscus during a summer game. He had to undergo reconstructive surgery that led to a serious infection that hindered his recovery. After months of rehab, he was finally able to return to the field.

“I was finally cleared to play on March 9, 2011,” Santos recalled. “I played centerfield during the top half of the 9thinning. Later I went up to bat and heard a pop in my left knee and I instantly went to the ground.”

Santos again faced surgery, but this time for his left ACL and meniscus. His athletic pursuits were once more put on hold when Miami reduced his athletic scholarship and his starting position.

Santos decided to transfer to a junior college, State College of Florida, to regroup and focus on becoming the player he once was. He rehabbed and overcame his knee injuries and went on to win all-conference and all-tournament awards.

“My high school coach use to say, ‘it’s not where you’re at; it’s where you are going.’ I kept that in my mind during my recovery and I kept looking forward,” said Santos.

To complete his bachelor’s degree, Santos attended Bethune-Cookman University. Bad luck again followed as Santos ruptured his Achilles tendon during his 2015 season. Despite another injury, he focused on his education and graduated in the spring of 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies.

Even after so many setbacks, Santos never lost sight of his love for baseball. He heard about the the University of Mount Olive and decided that it would be the perfect fit to earn his MBA degree and complete his final year of baseball eligibility.

“I’m thankful that the coaches at UMO have faith in me that I can come back and be the player that I once was, and I am thankful that they have given me this chance.”

Head Baseball Coach Carl Lancaster commented, “We are excited to have Julian as our very first baseball player to enroll into our master’s program here at the University. He is an extremely hard worker both in the classroom, as well as the field, and these qualities are certainly not overlooked by our staff or his teammates.”

Santos plans to graduate with an MBA in the summer of 2016.  His ultimate dream is to play professional ball and then pursue a career in business administration.

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College.  For more information, visit old.umo.edu.