« Baseball 2009

Brandon McArthur

School

University of Florida

Position
Infield
Major
Criminology
AVG
.325
R
15
H
39
FLD%
.938
RBI
23

Classroom

McArthur is a sixth-year senior at Florida who is attending graduate school.  He has earned a spot on the SEC Academic Honor Roll four-straight times and is one of only three players in school history have collected the academic honor multiple times.

Character

McArthur was a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Florida when he was severely injured in a random act of violence on Oct. 30, 2003. A stranger punched him, and McArthur hit his head on the pavement outside of a Gainesville nightspot. He had two brain operations within 24 hours after the attack and later had a third in May 2004 at Tampa General Hospital. He was in a drug-induced coma for five days, and doctors weren’t sure if he would survive. McArthur went through an extensive rehabilitation process and returned to the Gator baseball program for the 2005 season after taking a medical redshirt in 2004. For everything McArthur has gone through on and off the baseball diamond, his competitive behavior and never-say-quit attitude are well-respected by the entire Gator community. He is a true leader in every sense of the word, someone who puts the team above any individual accomplishments or awards. While many people going through similar situations might have ended his or her career at the first sign of adversity, McArthur continues to set a positive example through his actions and commitment to the Florida baseball program and the University. His relationships with the coaching staff and teammates are solid and the respect they have for him cannot be measured in words since the coaches and players have the utmost respect for his willingness to sacrifice his body for them.  While every student-athlete obviously wants to win every time they step on the playing field, McArthur understands that there are sometimes larger things at work in the big picture of our lives. Although people often say that winning or losing can be a “matter of life and death,” he can take a different perspective knowing everything he has overcome to continue playing the sport he loves.  Trying to describe his response to victory and defeat can be difficult since there are days when McArthur realizes that just competing with his teammates brings him more satisfaction than any result. His motivation to do the best he can and lead by example are traits which each individual should strive to emulate. In the long run, collegiate athletics can provide life lessons and McArthur’s work ethic and attitude illustrate a clear understanding of teamwork and being a role model for everyone around him.

Community

McArthur recently received a President’s Volunteer Service Award from President George W. Bush’s Council on Service and Participation which recognizes McArthur’s contributions to the Gainesville community and demonstrating values that “make our nation strong in helping to build a culture of citizenship, service and responsibility in America.”  President Bush wrote, “Your ability to overcome adversity is a testament to your character, and your compassionate efforts serve as an inspiration to others. You are making our Nation better and stronger, one person at a time.”  McArthur constantly lends his time and support to a variety of charitable causes. He was named to the 2008 SEC Baseball Community Service Team that highlights an athlete from each school who gives back to his community in superior service efforts.  McArthur has been a representative on Florida’s Student-Athlete Committee (SAC) and is a frequent speaker at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings. He often visits the pediatric care unit at Shands Hospital (where he was a patient recovering from his life-threatening injuries) and has participated in wheel-chair basketball with Special Olympians. McArthur spoke at “Youth Quake,” an organization that provides alternative Christian entertainment that confronts issues relevant to today’s teenagers and has given speeches at Gainesville middle schools about the importance of doing well in school. In addition, he is a member of the Big Brothers organization in which he often brings little kids to practice and brightens their day by having them around the Gator baseball players.  McArthur was the keynote speaker at the March of Dimes Health Conference that was held on the University of Florida campus on Dec. 2, 2008. His responsibility was to engage 350 at-risk middle school students by his speech. This was the 20th year for the conference and McArthur was chosen because the group was looking for “an athlete with a motivating story and a person who can teach these children the importance of believing in their dreams.”
He also participated in the Climb for Cancer Sports Camp last October. The camp, which was held on campus at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center and the Gator football practice fields, allowed children to participate in a number of athletic activities. The camp was made up of four sports venues which included football, basketball, volleyball and soccer. Both the children and student-athletes were able to enjoy themselves in activities ranging from pick-up basketball and volleyball games in the O’Dome, to soccer drills or a game of catch at the football practice fields. Climb for Cancer is a not-for-profit organization that has funded or created several programs which provide support to the patient and family, research grants, and given kids the opportunity to attend camps such as this one.

Competition

After taking a medical redshirt in 2004, Brandon McArthur played in 64 games in 2005, making 60 starts at third base, as Florida enjoyed its best season in school history. The Orange and Blue was the runner-up at the NCAA College World Series and captured its first Southeastern Conference championship in seven years, putting together an overall mark of 48-23. McArthur played an integral role in the team’s success and was the lone member of the team chosen to the SEC All-Freshman Team after batting .286 in 28 league outings. During his sophomore year in 2006, he participated in 46 of the Gators’ 56 games and made starts at second base (25 games), third base (13 games) and as the club’s designated hitter (five). As a junior in ‘07, McArthur underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow after being injured on opening night. After working hard in the off-season to get back into shape, he was enjoying a tremendous campaign before rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee on April 2, 2008. McArthur elected not to have surgery until following the season and batted a remarkable .367 (29-for-79) with 20 RBI over his final 20 games of the year while playing hurt. He wound up setting career-highs in batting average (.337), runs batted in (44), doubles (11) and triples (3) and was a catalyst in UF’s first NCAA Regional appearance since 2005. Picked to finish 11th of 12 teams in the SEC, the Gators were second in the Eastern Division and third overall. In voting conducted by the Gator Dugout Club, supporters of UF’s baseball program, at the conclusion of last season, McArthur took home two of the four awards. He collected the Mr. Gator Baseball Award, symbolic of the player who most personifies the spirit of Gator Baseball, and the Steve Georgiadis Award, presented to the Gator baseball player who has most overcome adversity. The Georgiadis Award is given in memory of former Gator pitcher Steve Georgiadis, who passed away on March 17, 1990.  McArthur underwent successful knee surgery over the summer and is hitting .333 (5-for-15) with a team-leading eight RBI through five games for the 12th-ranked Gators (5-0).