WESTFIELD — Westfield native Jordan Jessup, a 2012 Appalachian State graduate and baseball pitcher, was recently awarded the Athletic Scholar award ring from Appalachian State University.
It is the second ring that Jessup has been awarded by the university in less than a year.
“In any league, if you get a ring, then you know that you have done good,” said Jessup.
The first ring awarded Jessup is called the Southern Conference championship ring. It was given to everyone on the 2012 team because of a Mountaineer 48-18 record season, when the team claimed the conference title. Jessup said the record is the best ever recorded in Mountaineer baseball history.
The Athletic Scholar ring was given to four seniors on the team and symbolizes excellence in academics and sports.
Jessup played as a pitcher on the 2012 champion team and said the Southern Conference champion ring memorializes their title as Southern Conference champions and portrays a run in the NCAA playoffs in it’s design.
Large capital letters inscribed “Regional,” on the ring’s side, represent the ASU run in which the Mountaineers took two victories, he said. One victory was over Oklahoma and the other against the University of Virginia. The 2012 Mountaineers were knocked out of the tournament after they lost two games to Oklahoma in Omaha, Neb., said Jessup.
He said the Southern Conference Championship ring is special not only because of such a record breaking team accomplishment but is truly unique because it was designed by a teammate who is a graphic designer major.
He noted the difference in each ring’s personality. The Southern Conference one is flashy, Jessup said, and he wears it mostly for special occasions. The Athletic Scholar one is more like a class ring and can be worn every day, which he mostly does, he said.
Etched on the Southern Conference Championship ring is a permanent tribute of the team’s season. It is illustrated by the inscription, “41-18.” Jessup also said, his name, a baseball, a pitcher and his jersey number (11) are on the ring.
“The thing I love most about my (championship) ring is that it is absolutely huge, and it really shines. With all the stones and gold it is really an eye-catcher. It is really not something to wear every day, but after 18 years of playing baseball and trying to win a championship ring, I wanted it to be huge. I am very blessed and thankful that I was fortunate to get to play baseball at such a high level and be part of something that will be in Appalachian State’s history forever.”
To receive the Athletic Scholar ring from the university, a GPA of 3.0 or better must be maintained, said Jessup. Jessup, a history major and psychology minor, said the ring is not an easy one to get but is highly prized because it represents how much is required to maintain high academic standards in the busy moving world of college athletics.
“I would hold history books and study while on the bus traveling to games, and others did, too,” Jessup said.
He also described it as sterling silver with an ASU emblem in it’s middle. The name “Jordan Jessup” is etched on its right side and on its left one, a large “A” and “Appalachian 2012” is etched.
He said the rings bring to mind much of what he experienced in his college baseball career at Appalachian State University. He recalled playing against many of the best teams in the country. Teams such as Louisiana State University, South Carolina, Virginia, and Oklahoma, he said.
Many road trips required long drives and Jessup said he studied during these hours. He ended the 2012 season with the lowest ERA of any relief pitcher on the team and said it has been worth the sacrifice and hard work.
“There’s nothing like pitching in front of a sellout crowd in the thousands at the defending national champions in South Carolina, and I can say that I did that,” Jessup said.
He stated that another reason that he was able to keep his grades up while playing college baseball was because of his family and also because of his competitiveness.
He added, “I am truly blessed and had it not been for my Mom, Dad, and my younger brother, I could have never accomplished any of my awards and goals. I have always been proud of where I’m from and even in the team media books, I made sure that they always listed me from Westfield, North Carolina, because I knew that it would make my community proud,” said Jessup.
He said he will possibly try out for semi-pro league baseball or an independent league in the spring and also wants to finish getting his teaching certificate. Some day, he also wants to go into coaching, he said.
“I like helping, it means a lot to me that others did that for me when I was in high school,” said Jessup.