April 14, 2011
Senior pitcher Brian Dupra is determined to ensure that the Fighting Irish baseball team has a successful season in 2011. Dupra, a co-captain and three-year monogram winner, was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 11th round of the 2010 MLB Draft, but elected to return to Notre Dame for his senior year. One of the BIG EAST's top starting pitchers, Dupra has eight starts for the Irish this season and is 2-3 on the year. His 1.64 ERA is tops on the team as are his 51 strikeouts. Of the 58 hits he has surrendered this season, just eight (six doubles and two triples) have been for extra bases. The 6-3, 205-pound native of Rochester, N.Y., will be on the mound this weekend when the Irish play host to West Virginia this weekend in a three-game series at Frank Eck Stadium. Earlier this spring, und.com's Tom McGuire sat down with Dupra to talk baseball with Notre Dame ace.
When did you play baseball for the first time? I have been playing baseball since I can remember. But I've been playing organized baseball in a league since I was five years old.
What is most memorable about your high school years? The most memorable thing about my high school years would be all of the friendships I still have to this day. I'd also include anything that has to do with baseball.
What is your major? Why did you choose that major? My major is sociology and computer applications. I couldn't give you a good answer other than the fact that I don't like math.
What has getting drafted meant to you? Do you want to pursue a career in baseball after your career at ND? Getting drafted has just shown me that my dreams of playing professional baseball are a possibility. I would love to pursue baseball until I am no longer able to compete at a high level. So, after my career here at Notre Dame ends continuing to play baseball would be the next best option.
Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions? I try to use again whatever worked the week before for the next outing on the mound. Recently, Todd Miller has been giving me a different haircut for every game.
What's the hardest part of being a student-athlete at Notre Dame?
I think the hardest part of being a student-athlete at Notre Dame is the time commitment. It is an all day, everyday job and it's tough to find time for yourself, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
What is your favorite memory with your teammates? I have had an unbelievable amount of great memories with guys from the team. If I had to choose one I would have to say finishing the last morning workout with them this year.
Describe your perfect day - who would you spend it with, what would you do, and where would you be? My perfect day would be spent with the guys on the team of course after winning a big game. In a perfect world we would be winning the national championship and just taking in the rest of the day in with whatever activities you do when a national championship is won.
What are your goals for this season-both personal and team? My personal goals have to do with making the team better and bringing along the younger guys on the team to compete day in and day out. Being a pitcher I would have to say I would really like to see all the guys on the pitching staff continue having a strong season and keep improving. As a team obviously our goal is to win starting with the BIG EAST and moving on from there.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do? If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would go to Paradise Island with all of my friends and of course cruise around on the beach with my Speedo.
Who was your role model growing up? Why? My role models have always been my father and mother. To me, my father is a very honest person with the best intentions. He has also taught me that I have to work for anything I want in life. My mother is just the most caring person on the world who keeps me in line. I can only hope that I can become as good of a father as my dad has been to me and have a wife that cares like my mother.
If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? I would have dinner with Jackie Robinson. I would like to hear the first hand account of what he went through when he was the first African American baseball player to play in the major leagues.
Do you have a guilty pleasure song? (If not, what are you listening to right now?) I usually just listen to whatever is on because I have yet to master how to use an iPod, so I just let other people handle the music selections. But a guilty pleasure is songs from musicals like Les Miserables, It has a great sound track if you haven't heard it.
Who is your inspiration? I don't have any one inspiration, but there are a whole lot of people who inspire me. Someone like John Lester who overcame cancer and now the opening day starter for the Boston Red Sox really inspires me.
What is your favorite sport, other than baseball? My favorite sport other than baseball is basketball because I used to play and enjoy the game.
What does being a part of the Fighting Irish program mean to you? Being a part of the Fighting Irish and the baseball program has been an amazing experience. I would not trade my four years at this University for almost anything. The people I have met and the life lessons I have learned will always be with me because being a part of the University is bigger than just yourself.
What would you like to be remembered for after leaving ND? Besides anything having to do with baseball, I would like to be remembered as someone who was honest and was always looking to have a good time.
Who is your favorite professional athlete? Why? My favorite professional athlete is definitely Golden Tate because he is one of my best friends, and I roomed with him for two of the best years of my life.
Do you have any nicknames? How did you get them? Well when I am at home, everyone calls me BD. At school I will occasionally hear Dups, and some of the guys call me Dr. J -- I think because he was number six as well, but you would have to ask them to be sure.
What was the biggest thing that attracted you here to Notre Dame? When I stepped onto the Notre Dame campus for the first time I was pretty sold that this is the place I wanted to spend my college life. It has been the best decision I have ever made, I and wish I had more time or another crack at the four years I have spent here.