‘Investing in Our Home’by Missy Pankake Aug. 10, 2016, 1:56 PM
As director of player development for the Cleveland Indians, Carter Hawkins, BS’07, thinks a lot about the growth mindset. In his role the former Vanderbilt catcher helps 180 Indians minor-leaguers to maximize their potential.
Hawkins credits his Vanderbilt mentors with helping him find his path and his passions. “From Coach [Tim] Corbin on down, the Vanderbilt coaching staff focused on our development—as players and as people. They taught us that until we work really hard and with a purpose, we don’t know how good we can actually be,” Hawkins says.
Last spring Hawkins learned about Vanderbilt’s plans to upgrade the baseball facilities. He was among the first former student-athletes to contribute, pledging a leadership-level gift to the $10 million project that will renovate and enhance training areas in Memorial Gym and build out new operations and team spaces for students and coaches. The project’s additional focus on creating a home for former players, some of whom play professionally, also appealed to Hawkins.
“It was a no-brainer for me and my family,” he says. “This project is for the players and forthe program, and we wanted to give back so future generations could enjoy the same opportunities I did.”
As the vision for the project came to life, Hawkins found himself in another leadership role. Hawkins, along with Drew Fann, BS’11, MEd’13, assistant athletic director of internal affairs at Vanderbilt, began talking to other former players about supporting project needs.
“It all goes back to the family atmosphere of Vanderbilt baseball,” says Hawkins. “We’re constantly in communication—even across different generations of players—keeping up with each other and following the Vanderbilt program. I really just nudged those guys to invest in our home.”
So far, more than half of all former student-athletes who played under Coach Tim Corbin have contributed to the project. “We’re invested,” says Hawkins in describing the culture of Vanderbilt baseball. “The players are invested in each other as much as themselves, all for the betterment of the program. This is a place focused on growth.”