Former Rochester Honker Brandon McArthur from the University of Florida was recently selected as the winner of the 2009 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in the baseball division. The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of coaches, media and fans, is presented annually to college baseball’s outstanding NCAA Division I senior student-athlete. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award has grown into the nation’s premier tribute to college seniors. The award identifies personal qualities that define a complete student-athlete, with criteria including excellence in the classroom, character and community, as well as competition on the field.
McArthur was a member of the Honkers in 2004 following a redshirt freshman year with the Gators. McArthur was forced to redshirt in the spring of 2004 after being severely injured in a random act of violence on Oct. 30, 2003. A stranger punched him, and McArthur hit his head on the pavement outside of a Gainesville nightspot. He had two brain operations within 24 hours after the attack and later had a third in May of 2004 at Tampa General Hospital. He was in a drug-induced coma for five days, and doctors weren’t sure if he would survive. McArthur was able to join the Honkers one month into the 2004 NWL season on June 28th. He played in 29 games that summer and hit .282 with two home runs and 13 RBI’s.
“Brandon was very inspirational to our team,” recalled Rochester General Manager Dan Litzinger. “His first at bat after returning to live action, a double scoring his best friend and Florida Gator teammate, Jeff Corsaletti, left not a dry eye in the stadium! Brandon scored that inning and Jeff met him at the plate with a huge hug!”
McArthur has persevered through a series of injuries since the attack and the summer he spent in Rochester. As a junior in ‘07, McArthur underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow after being injured on opening night. After working hard in the off-season to get back into shape, he was enjoying a tremendous campaign before rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee on April 2, 2008. McArthur elected not to have surgery until following the season and batted a remarkable .367 (29-for-79) with 20 RBI over his final 20 games of the year while playing hurt. He wound up setting career-highs in batting average (.337), runs batted in (44), doubles (11) and triples (3) and was a catalyst in UF’s first NCAA Regional appearance since 2005. In voting conducted by the Gator Dugout Club, supporters of UF’s baseball program, at the conclusion of last season, McArthur took home two of the four awards. He collected the Mr. Gator Baseball Award, symbolic of the player who most personifies the spirit of Gator Baseball, and the Steve Georgiadis Award, presented to the Gator baseball player who has most overcome adversity. The Georgiadis Award is given in memory of former Gator pitcher Steve Georgiadis, who passed away on March 17, 1990.
The award is given to someone who excels in the classroom, is active in the community, has demonstrated high character and has had success in competition. McArthur received his bachelor’s degree in criminology and is working towards a master’s degree in anthropology. He carries a 3.21 GPA and is a four-time selection to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. He recently received a President’s Volunteer Service Award, recognizing his contributions to the Gainesville community. In addition, he is a two-time selection to the SEC Baseball Community Service Team, highlighting one baseball player from each conference school for his superior service efforts. McArthur ended his senior year with a .338 batting average, 41 runs batted in, 25 runs scored and three home runs. He led the team with 14 doubles. Florida finished the season ranked ninth in the nation with a 42-22 overall record. The Gators were eliminated from the 2009 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship by Southern Mississippi in the Super Regional.
“We are very excited that Brandon was given this award as he truly overcame the odds, due to hard work and determination,” Litzinger said.