January 28, 2011

Supple Strong on the Field and in the Community

By Carolyn Linck, '11

Senior Joe Supple (JS) is a force on the pitching mound, in the classroom and the community.  Looking to come back strong after sitting out last year following elbow surgery, Supple is excited for the upcoming season.  Recently www.SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) caught up with Supple about his return to baseball, his best memories as a Bronco and his involvement with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

SCB: You were a medical-redshirt last season.  How do you feel physically and what do you hope to accomplish as you come back this season?

JS: I had "Tommy John" surgery on my pitching elbow in October 2009.  That's why I medical-redshirted my junior season. It's usually a 12-18 month recovery to get back to full strength, and I am now in month 14. I'm feeling better than I ever have before. I've spent countless hours working with our trainer and physical therapists to come back and can't thank them enough for their help. Ron Forbes, our strength and conditioning coach, has been really great too. My job as pitcher is to do all that I can to help us win games.  Missing last year has been a driving force during my rehab, and I am hungry to get back out on the mound.

SCB: What goals do you have for the team in 2011?

JS: Our 2011 team as a whole is working extremely hard.  Everyone has stepped up to a higher level this year.  I am confident that all of our hard work will pay off this spring. Our coaches challenge us everyday at practice to make us better players. Winning the WCC and making a postseason run is our ultimate goal, but we can't look too far ahead – we have to concentrate on one game at a time because it's a long season.

SCB: Have you always been a pitcher or did you play other positions growing up?  Aside from baseball did you play any other sports as a kid?

JS: I've played many different positions in baseball but I've always felt at home on the mound.  Pitchers are a bit quirky, so I think this fits my personality the best. As a kid I played baseball, football and golf mostly. If you consider fishing a sport, I did that too.

SCB: What has been your best memory playing baseball for the Broncos?

JS: I don't have one best memory, but I would say that going to battle with my teammates these last four years have been something I will remember for the rest of my life.  We've had so many good times together. Although it wasn't in a Bronco uniform, one of my best memories was in summer ball after my sophomore year at Santa Clara. I threw a no-hitter back in Maryland. It was only the second no-hitter ever thrown in that league, so that was pretty awesome.

SCB: You and fellow baseball player Jason Westerberg are both members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).  What is your role in this organization and why do you feel it is important for student-athletes to give back?

JS: Jason and I represent the baseball team on SAAC. This is our third year on the committee. Coach O'Brien asked us to be a part of it, and we were honored to have the chance to represent our team. Our role as an organization is to be a voice for student-athletes at Santa Clara to make our college experience better. We also do community service events like the Zappos.com shoe drive which is going on now. We have large shoe boxes all over campus for people to donate their gently-used shoes. Not everyone has the opportunity to be an athlete in college, so I feel like it is important that we are able to give back to the community that supports us.