John Baldwin played golf for the Bruins from 2002-2006. The Winchester, Kentucky native played in 28 tournaments for the Bruins and helped his team win five tournament titles during his four year-career. In addition, he was a four-time Atlantic Sun All-Academic selection. Recently, John reflected back on his time at Belmont and discussed his current role at the NCAA National Office in Indianapolis.
Why did you choose Belmont?
I chose Belmont because it was, in my view, the perfect combination of athletics and academics. I wanted to compete at the Division I level, but didn’t want that to come at the expense of a great education at a smaller school. Belmont gave me the ability to pursue both.
What is your fondest athletic memory at Belmont?
We were fortunate to win a few tournaments during my last couple of years at Belmont, and very few things were as satisfying as the trips back to campus following those events. Golf is an individual sport at its foundation, so it was special to be able to succeed and celebrate as a team during those times.
In addition to my golf memories, I will always reflect back and smile at the memory of watching the men’s basketball team advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 2006, during my senior year. It has been amazing to watch that first appearance turn into seven out of ten, and each appearance continues to bring exposure not only to the basketball program, but to the athletic department as a whole. I am always full of Belmont pride, but it never gets old when that pride swells up during the month of March.
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Belmont?
My teammates. As golfers, we spent a great deal of time off-campus practicing and playing at courses in and around Nashville and as a result, we leaned on each other quite a bit. I was very fortunate to have some great teammates who positively impacted me more than I’m sure they realize.
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Belmont?
Without a doubt, the friendships that I gained from my time at Belmont are what I value the most. In addition to my teammates, the relationships that I developed with others within the Belmont community continue to influence me today. Belmont is a special place, in large part because of the quality of people that make up the Belmont community.
What advice would you give to current members of the golf team?
To take advantage of all that Belmont has to offer, both within the Department of Athletics and throughout the university as a whole. I’ll forever be grateful for my time as a student-athlete and the experiences through golf that helped to shape my future, but I was also fortunate to have some wonderful opportunities at Belmont outside of golf. I’d encourage the guys to make time to experience all that Belmont has to offer. Focusing on something else from time to time might even help to take a little pressure off their golf games.
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
Dr. John Gonas. Dr. Gonas took a great interest in his students, including several members of the golf team who majored in Finance. Dr. Gonas’ excitement for his classes was infectious; he had a unique ability to make almost any topic seem incredibly interesting. In addition, he took the time to get to know his students on a personal level outside of the classroom. His overall support for his students left a mark on many of us.
Where do you live now?
I have lived in Indianapolis, Indiana since graduating from Belmont in 2006.
What is your occupation?
I work as an Associate Director of Championships for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). My job is to work with championship hosts, sport committees, and NCAA staff to operate and execute a handful of NCAA championship events each year. I currently work most closely with basketball, golf, skiing, and soccer championships across Divisions I, II, and III.
Tell us about your family.
My wife Lauren and have been married since 2013 and we share our home with our two-year old pup, Blair. We are incredibly blessed to have the support of our families, especially from our parents and siblings. We’re looking forward to seeing our own gamily grow in the future, but are enjoying spending time with our nephew and three nieces in the meantime.
If you are a former Belmont student-athlete and want to particpate in this series, please contact John Langdon at firstname.lastname@example.org.