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A Pitcher With Command

Beyond the mound, cadet earns top student leadership post

From his first days as a cadet, Alex Rozak dreamed of being regimental commander. MASSACHUSETTS MARITIME ACADEMY PHOTO

Whatever Alex Rozak understands about hard work and leadership, he credits to baseball. Good grades came naturally to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy pitcher, who is majoring in energy systems engineering. But school, he says, could only teach so much. It was three runs to the Massachusetts state finals with his Plymouth North High School baseball team that taught him about leadership and hard work.

“It’s not enough to be talented,” he still remembers his high school coach, Dwayne Follette, telling him. “You’ve got to work hard, and you’ve got to lead by example.”

So Rozak took those lessons and found a position that demanded both. This year, Rozak received the top leadership position among cadets at Massachusetts Maritime as the regimental commander – the one person every cadet sees each morning, who sets the example for the entire student body.

The position is demanding: Rozak knows that each of the 1,600 students he leads looks to him as a role model. It means waking at 6 a.m., pulling on his uniform and gathering with his staff members in the frosty air to take their reports as the cadets stand in formation. Then come daily morning meetings with the university’s leaders – including his father, Capt. Ed Rozak, the school’s commandant of cadets – followed by up to eight hours of classes.

And when spring arrived, Rozak added baseball – yes, he’s still helping the Buccaneers defend their first regular-season conference title – to a schedule that can keep him up until 1 a.m. each night.

“The free time,” Rozak admits, “definitely isn’t there anymore.”

But he’ll leave with the satisfaction of having helped other students by setting a strong example for them to follow – the demanding task of every regimental commander. And the payoff: Months before graduation, Rozak accepted a position to work on control systems on nuclear submarines.

He always knew baseball wouldn’t be his career, but the sport’s lessons helped provide one.

About Champion

Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.