Eric Sorenson

Columbia pitcher Dan Bracey loves a challenge

by Eric Sorenson April 18, 2011 in Baseball

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The first thing you notice about Dan Bracey is that this is a guy who loves a good challenge.

Let’s face it, the right-handed pitcher from East Greenwich, Rhode Island, chose to go to Columbia for crying out loud. As if that’s not a challenge enough, right?

“I liked everything about Columbia,” says Bracey. “I love the feel and the pace of the big city. Plus there’s nothing like going to a school where you have Nobel Laureates as your professors.”

If the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award is given on the basis of having guts, Bracey should be given the award right now. In this day and age when you hear about college football and basketball players skating by and obtaining just the minimum grades until they can go to the pro ranks after two or three years, it’s refreshing to note that not only did Bracey choose to go to one of the toughest academic institutions in the country, he is also excelling in a major that doesn’t exactly hand out degrees out of charity.

“When I first got here to Columbia, I had about seven or eight friends that wanted to go into economics as their major with me,” Bracey said. “But after a few semesters most of them had quit and changed their majors. Now I’m the only one left in our group of friends who is still an econ major.”

The Lion senior is also used to challenging himself and coming out on top on the diamond as well. In 2010, the strapping righty earned second-team All-Ivy League, finishing second in the Ancient Eight in strikeouts and going 4-4, 4.55 on the season. So far, 2011 has proven to be even better, starting out 3-2, 3.10, giving up just 10 earned runs in 29 innings pitched.

But unlike most college players, his on-field prowess was not further enhanced by summer ball. And it wasn’t from not having opportunities, since Bracey has been invited to play in the NECBL each of the last two seasons. Instead, the CU hurler decided it would be more beneficial to his future to work with a certain company called IBM. With an eye toward his success in the business world, Bracey has taken on the challenge of working his last few summers with the Fortune 500 company.

“When it came to my summers, I was thinking more about three or four years down the line,” Bracey said. “I could’ve gone and had fun playing summer ball, but I know that working at IBM was going to be more important to my future.”

Another facet of life that has taken on more importance to the Lion senior is his mentoring work. The last few years, Bracey has influenced the lives of middle school kids as part of the Level the Field program, a non-profit organization that uses sports as a vehicle to cultivate social skills and develop work ethic in students.

“It’s something that is very important to me,” Bracey said. “I can use my talents to teach the kids about baseball and pitching, but I also talk to them about how important it is to take care of things in the classroom too.”

The important part of the Level the Field program is that it is geared toward kids that wouldn’t normally have the same opportunities as their counterparts that come from more affluent backgrounds.

“I tell them, no matter what their background, it is important to obtain a good balance in life,” Bracey said. “Take care of the academic side too. While their friends may be out there having fun hanging out, staying ahead of their studies will pay off a lot more in the long run.”

And Bracey himself is the perfect life model for these kids to follow. Not only will he be graduating in May with an economics degree from a highly-respected Ivy League institution, he also has a risk services consulting job with Deloitte & Touche awaiting him in the fall.

“The Deloitte & Touche job is in New York City, which is what I wanted,” said Bracey. “That’s a big part of why I decided to go to Columbia. I like the pace of the big city. I know I won’t be living in a top-floor penthouse at first, but there are tradeoffs to living in Manhattan.”

A fresh-out-of-school college grad trying to afford living in Manhattan. Didn’t I tell you this guy loves a good challenge?