May 22, 2004
An intense person is someone who feels things strongly and acts with a great deal of emotion. This description fits David O'Hagan perfectly. The Cardinal closer seems to seethe with intensity and determination every time he steps on the mound.
'I want to leave everything on the field every time I go out,' O'Hagan said. 'I don't want to look back and have regrets. I want to cover every base. I want to give it everything I have.'
This approach is only found in the most passionate and competitive players. O'Hagan has had a lifetime to define his competitive spirit. Ever since he was a child, he has been fascinated with the game he loves.
'I always wanted to play baseball as a child. When I was young, I had the opportunity to go to Cooperstown and hit in the batting cages. I was captivated by the game of baseball,' O'Hagan reminisced. 'I made my father pitch to me all the time. I also played baseball and football with my younger brother while we were growing up. We were always very competitive and fed off each other. We pushed each other to get better.'
All the dedication and encouragement has paid off for O'Hagan. He is now attending one of the most well regarded schools in the country. The chance to attend Stanford is an opportunity that is well appreciated by O'Hagan.
'The combination of academics and athletics is second to none,' O'Hagan said. 'I went to a baseball camp at Stanford after my junior year in high school. I had never seen the school before. At the camp, I saw the incredible beauty of the campus and I fell in love with the school. I wanted to come to Stanford independently of baseball. Stanford's baseball program is the most prestigious program in the nation. To have the opportunity to attend Stanford and play baseball is a dream come true.'
O'Hagan has certainly made the most of the dream that has become reality. Throughout his Cardinal career, he has come through in important situations. Now in his senior season, O'Hagan is the anchor of Stanford's bullpen. He is often called upon in tough save situations and is always up for the challenge.
'When I go out for a save, I don't want any of the team's hard work to go to waste,' O'Hagan explained. 'I want every pitch to count. I want to keep the team ahead.'
Though he is often the center of attention when he takes the mound, O'Hagan takes a team approach to the game. An unselfish player, he finds the most satisfaction in the many accomplishments of the team he is a part of this year.
'We have defeated Cal six times in a row (this year),' O'Hagan said. 'Cal is our natural rival and we took it to them. To me, that is the most satisfying moment of the season to this point.'
This attitude exemplifies a true team player. Many of O'Hagan's memories focus on the team he is so proud to be a part of. His favorite Stanford memory centers on his teammates' accomplishments.
'We were facing Cal State Fullerton last year in the College World Series. It was late in the game, and I was pitching. Jonny Ash hit a game-tying home run, and I ended up with the win. It was an unbelievable game. Jonny's home run was the most amazing moment,' O'Hagan remembered.
O'Hagan has had many great memories of his team and his teammates over his career at Stanford. He has had the opportunity to be a part of the College World Series for the last three years. O'Hagan knows this season is his time to shine but also an opportunity to bring his experience to the forefront.
'Being a senior means everything,' O'Hagan said. 'It's a bittersweet ending for all five of us seniors. We have all played in tough spots, and we bring experience to the forefront. We want to be an example to the younger guys. Everybody has to be on the same page because this might be the best team we will ever play on.'
Stanford head coach Mark Marquess recognizes the important contributions O'Hagan has made to the team and the work he has put in to get to this point.
'David O'Hagan is a great success story,' said Marquess. 'He has done a great job making himself one of the best pitchers in the nation and deserves all the success he has enjoyed this season.'
O'Hagan has indeed been one of the top pitchers in the nation, posting a 5-1 record with six saves and a 2.82 ERA that ranks second in the Pac-10 in 51.0 innings over a team co-leading 19 appearances.
While O'Hagan has been a large asset to the team, Stanford has also proved to be a great benefit to O'Hagan. Over his time at Stanford, he has not only grown as a player, but as a person.
'I was younger when I came here so I was immature,' O'Hagan explained. 'I've learned how to be independent. I found out who I can rely on and who I can't. I've learned some great life lessons here. There have been ups and downs, but it has been a great experience. I don't regret any of it.'
He knows he could not have accomplished this feat by himself. O'Hagan has always had his the love and support of his family to draw on. O'Hagan's parents, Gary and Marcia, have been there for their son every step of the way.
'My mother worked so hard for both my brother and myself,' O'Hagan said. 'Both my brother and I are healthy and energetic. We kept her busy and gave her a handful. She deserves all the credit in the world.'
'I have learned so many life lessons from my father,' O'Hagan said. 'I see how well grounded and balanced his life is. He's so diligent and persistent. I get a lot of those qualities from him.'
O'Hagan's brother, Liam, has also been a significant source of inspiration for him. Liam, who is set to attend Harvard in the fall as a freshman, will compete in football. Both brothers have assisted each other throughout their lives.
'My brother and I spent a lot of time with each other growing up,' O'Hagan said. 'We talk to each other all the time. He's my best friend.'
O'Hagan knows that he has been blessed to have his families encouragement to help him. Now that his college career is drawing to a close, he has plans to use his talents on a larger stage.
'I hope I have the chance to play professionally,' O'Hagan said. 'It would be great to play Major League Baseball. I'm going to give it my best.'
O'Hagan certainly has a great chance to do just that. Often described a bulldog by his teammates, he knows he will have a long road to the major leagues but he is up for the challenge.
'I'm not physically big so I have to put forth extra effort,' O'Hagan explained. 'I'm intense because I grew up in an extremely competitive environment. I played three sports growing up so I was always competing. I want to put my best foot forward and generate intensity.'
One thing is guaranteed. No matter where his life takes him, O'Hagan will bring his competitive spirit and intensity to the forefront.
by Janelle Kwietkauski