Belmont baseball outfielder William Dodd has worked hard on and off the field to get where he is.
Dodd, a fifth-year senior from Murfreesboro, Tenn., has aimed to dispel what he views as a misconception about student-athletes.
“Even more so than the other sports, there is a strong stereotype about the baseball team, very standoffish and uninvolved,” said Dodd. “When we did Towering Traditions and Welcome Week, I remember getting immediately involved and getting outside of any shell that I could possibly be in.”
His involvement outside athletics and character were reasons why Belmont baseball coach Dave Jarvis pursued Dodd as a recruit out of high school.
“We felt very strongly that he had the tools to play at the Division I level,” said Jarvis. “We also felt he was a very good fit here academically and character-wise.”
Dodd is one of four captains for the baseball team this year, his second straight year in the position. His primary role as captain is to serve as a representative of the team and act as a liaison between the players and the coaches, Dodd said.
Dodd will graduate in May with a degree in literature and credits Professor Sue Trout for convincing and inspiring him to pursue the degree.
“She was the first English professor I had and I was a little unsure about the degree when I first switched,” said Dodd. “I was really able to connect with her class because it gave the words meaning and, prior to that, words really lacked meaning as far as literature was concerned.”
Over his time at Belmont, Dodd has taken 10 classes with Trout and the two have gotten to know each other very well over the years.
“He is a strong writer, he is a beautiful reader, and he takes learning seriously,” said Trout. “I always thought he did a remarkable job of balancing his coursework with playing sports. He is consistently trying to not just to broaden his thinking, but push his thinking in areas that he hasn’t really tested yet.”
One of the challenges Dodd has tackled is balancing his coursework with his athletic commitments.
“Some semesters are harder than others. I remember one semester I was taking 18 hours of literature-only classes. I read every Shakespeare play and 23 novels over the course of that semester,” said Dodd. “Nobody really knows how much time goes into athletics. During the spring– including travel– it’s probably an 80-hour week just with the sport.”
Jarvis believes Dodd’s academic and athletic achievements to this point are an indicator of his ability to succeed.
“He’s self-motivated and he’s driven. You can look at what he’s already accomplished and see that he’s a finisher,” said Jarvis. “He’s somebody who, once he sets his mind to something, he’s going to get it accomplished.”
As he nears the end of his final year, Dodd is looking forward to what awaits him after Belmont.
“I’ve already been accepted into a program in South Africa where I plan on doing human rights work,” said Dodd. “That’s the plan for now, to go work in Cape Town for four months and see where that takes me”
Dodd and the rest of the baseball team can be seen playing at Rose Park throughout April and May.