Lee's Perez A Standout On And Off The Field

Friday, May 20, 2022
His teammates call him Dr. Joshua Perez!

For most young athletes who are completing high school and entering college, their thoughts are mainly on playing sports and maybe getting a shot of playing in the pros. That certainly was not the case for Soddy Daisy High School’s Joshua Perez who just completed his undergraduate degree in premed at Lee University. 

His father Ed was born in Cuba and instilled a hard-work ethic in his two sons, Caleb and Joshua from the beginning.
Ed attended pharmacy school where he met his wife, Lea Anne. Both are pharmacists but Josh’s older brother took an alternate route from medicine and is studying to become a lawyer. He is in his second year at The University of Notre Dame Law School. Josh noted that Caleb was a former athlete and has had a great influence on him both athletically and academically. 

Joshua decided on turning his attention towards becoming a medical doctor while still in high school. His brother Caleb was diagnosed with Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis. “I saw him undergo a complete personality change. One day in the hospital, a physician took the time to sit down with me and explain in Laymen’s terms what was happening to my brother and why,” he pointed out. “From that day, I knew I wanted to learn about the physiology of the body and hold the power to help those desperately in need. Since then, my brother has fully recovered.” 

Joshua said deciding to make Lee his college home was an easy choice. “Lee was a school that started recruiting me early. I fell in love with the campus and facilities and felt a strong calling to attend. Logan Workman, who I went to high school with, started at Lee a year before me and had nothing but positive things to say about both the school and the baseball program,” Perez explained. “From the moment Lee started recruiting me it showed great interest in me as an athlete and a person and made me feel like more than just any other recruit. In this sense, they differed from other schools that had been recruiting me and it became clear that this was the place for me.” 

Josh found a way to balance his baseball and premed studies. He admits graduating as a premed student while playing baseball is extremely tough. “There are several times where sleep and social activities must take a back seat,” he admitted. “It is vital to manage your time efficiently and make sure your priorities are in order. Planning when to study and when certain assignments are due is essential when playing a full 60-game season. It is important to utilize off days and try to stay ahead so you are not always playing catch up in the classroom.” 

Not only did Joshua Perez earn his valuable four-year degree in premed, one week later he was winning all-tournament honors and was a part of Lee’s first baseball team to win the GSC Championship. “I have been blessed to be a part of this program for four years. I have met lifelong friends who I would consider family and playing beside them is something I do not take for granted,” he sincerely admitted. “Winning the tournament was an experience I will always cherish. I love everyone on this team and getting to be the first team in Lee history to win the GSC tournament is super special. You never compete for individual accolades, so I really had not considered being named to the all-tournament team. However, being able to help my team win and receiving recognition for it was special and something I’ll always remember.” 

Not only is this Lee team very close, but several of the parents are in full support of their sons. Josh says his family has been an incredible support system both athletically and academically. “Playing at a university where they can watch our games in person is something that I love. Trying to perform on the field and in the classroom can be stressful at times and having the support of my family has been a tremendous blessing,” he said in praise of his parents. 

Josh also pointed out there are many people who have helped him throughout the years. “I have had incredible mentors athletically but none more helpful than my Dad. He is someone who has spent countless hours in the batting cages, fine tuning my swing while sacrificing so much of his time. Academically, Andrew Franklin (former Flame currently in med school) paved the way for me and showed me what it takes to be successful in the classroom while balancing a sport,” he said in closing. 

Josh’s dream is now to join the likes of former Flames Jason Spangler, an Orthopedic Surgeon with Center for Sports Medicine and Chris Camp, Medical Director, Team Physician and Director of High Performance for the Minnesota Twins Baseball Club (2019-Present).  

Lee baseball Coach Mark Brew said, “JP (Josh Perez) is the consummate student athlete. He’s very intentional about his studies and it shows with his academic performance. His ability to balance such a tough degree track while maintaining excellence in both the classroom and field is impressive. I’ve always got very positive feedback from his professors and that means a lot. He is a leader on this team due to his work ethic in and out of the classroom and I am very proud of him. He is going to be a success as a doctor.” 

Brew added, “Our team has shown tremendous progress academically. It has taken an intentional approach by the coaching staff and the team, but also some incredible support from our faculty mentor, Dr. Jason Robinson. He has been a great asset for our program and his hand can be seen all over our success as a program on and off the field. I’m proud of our team and the effort they have exhibited in the classroom.” 

Not only did the Lee baseball team perform on the diamond, but their performance in the classroom also stands out with their grade point averages which are listed below: 

Team overall - .323 GPA, 27 players with a 3.01, 18 players with a 3.3+, 9 players with a 3.7+ and 5 players with a 4.0. 

Six Lee players were not able to attend the graduation ceremonies on campus because they were taking part in the GSC baseball championship in Oxford, Alabama. Lee Professor Dr. Jason Robinson directed a graduation ceremony for the Flames at Choccolocco Park in Oxford. Below is a list of the graduates: 

Thomas Zazzaro (B.S in Marketing with minor in Advertising); Justen Freeman (Masters in Business Administration); Jared Demkowicz (Master in Business Administration); Joshua Perez (B.S. in Biological Science Pre-Professional Emphasis) graduated with Honors; Dallas Schultheis (B.S. in Pastoral Ministry with minor in Business Administration); Miguel Alba (B.S. in Liberal Studies) 

Also four former Flames were back on campus to receive their degrees.  

Nate Dupree (Masters in Business Administration); Colton Yeager (Masters in Business Administration) Alex Butler (B.S. in Engineering Science); Tyler Fairchild (B.S in Business Finance) 

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