December 6, 2013

Catching Up with Spartan Hall of Famer Brian Reynolds

Former York College standout and Spartan Hall of Famer Brian Reynolds took the chance to reflect on his highly successful Spartan career. Reynolds was a four-year letter winner, a multiple All-CAC selection and made two trips to the NCAA Tournament.

1.  Describe your experience as a Spartan.

I arrived at York College in 1992 with a strong desire to continue playing baseball. I had experienced some success in high school and American Legion but did not have the talent or aspiration to play at a high post-collegiate level. However, at age 18, I was not ready to hang up my cleats just yet.  

My freshman year was definitely a learning experience. I was one of many freshmen on the team and was lucky enough to get a lot of at bats and playing time in the outfield. It took some time to adjust to the college game and to Coach Paul Saikia, but by the end of the season I was beginning to learn what baseball at York College was all about.

Sophomore year brought about a lot of change. There was a lot of turnover on the roster and we brought in an abundance of upper class talent from around the region. For reasons I did not understand at the time, our very talented team performed far below our own expectations.  Personally, I was asked to focus more on pitching as our staff lacked depth. We were all incredibly disappointed when we did not receive an invitation to the NCAA Regional Tournament.

Prior to my junior year, I decided to take more of a leadership role. I continued to dwell on the prior year and still couldn't understand how such a talented team could perform so poorly. During the fall season, it finally dawned on me. All the talent in the world meant nothing if the roster was composed of a series of individuals more interested in stats than wins. What we needed was a group of "gamers" who were willing to put the team first. That cohesiveness arrived in the spring of my junior year and success reigned.  We were rewarded with an invitation to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament.

My senior year saw very little turnover on the roster and our team-first attitude led to even greater success. Thanks to contributions from almost everyone on the roster throughout the year, we again participated in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament.

To this day, I still think of my teammates and the times we spent together both on and off the field.  Baseball is a funny game.  Most statistics are based upon individual performance but it's the composition of the roster that makes all the difference.      


2.  How did you stay involved in baseball after your college career?

Following college I basically stopped playing competitive baseball. I had offers to play in various adult leagues but always declined. I often get asked why I didn't continue playing and, quite honestly, haven't come up with a good answer. Deep down, I think I just couldn't bring myself to play without my fellow Spartans.  


3.  What are you doing now? (Work, Family, etc)

A year after graduating, I entered law school and received my law degree in 2000. I have been employed as a Trusts & Estates attorney at the same firm ever since.

In 2002, I married Hillary Walters (YCP Class of 1997) and we currently live in Basking Ridge, NJ with our three sons – Benjamin (10), Andrew (8) and Carter (4). 


4. What was your most memorable moment?

As a sophomore, I was throwing a no-hitter. In the last inning, my good friend and roommate, Chris Lease, was inserted into the game at shortstop for defensive purposes. With two outs, a ground ball was hit to Chris. He was so sure-handed that I thought I had the no-hitter. He fielded the ball cleanly and proceeded to throw it about five feet over the first baseman's head and into the stands. I can vividly remember him coming to the mound immediately after his wild throw and telling me that if I didn't get the next guy out he was going to kill himself. Luckily for both of us, we got the next batter out and he is still alive. We laugh about that moment every time I see him.


5.  Who was your most influential teammate?

The person who influenced my college years more than anyone (other than my parents) is Coach Saikia. As only someone who has played for him can truly understand, he definitely took some getting used to. That said, the lessons he taught me both on and off the field still guide me today. I think of him often. 


6.  What lessons learned in college do you still apply to your life today?

Dedication and the ability to prioritize are the most lasting lessons that I learned in college. As a true student athlete, you have less free time to socialize and are forced to make sacrifices that most of your fellow students don't have to make. As my life unfolds, I find myself constantly pulled in many different directions. The ability to prioritize and remain dedicated to all that's important in my life is a skill that I'm grateful I learned as a student athlete and helps me deal with all that life has and continues to throw my way.   

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