Senior Spotlight: Zach Hyde ’19 Dreams of the Big Leagues

Senior Spotlight: Zach Hyde ’19 Dreams of the Big Leagues

Senior Spotlight: Zach Hyde ’19 Dreams of the Big Leagues

Our 2019 Commencement Ceremony is right around the corner. To mark the occasion, and celebrate the incredible achievements of our seniors, we spoke with several students that will be graduating on May 29. Our hope is that their stories inspire the entire John Jay community—alumni, faculty, staff, current and prospective students—to strive for excellence. Our next Senior Spotlight is Zach Hyde ’19, a scholar athlete from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, who came back from a torn ACL injury to win 2019 CUNY Athletic Conference Player of the Year and pursue his major league baseball dreams.

What was it about John Jay that made you want to come here?
I actually transferred here. I played baseball and football my whole life and went on to play football my freshman year at Limestone College, an NCAA Division 2 school, in South Carolina. But I soon realized I wanted a change both in environment and sport, so I began exploring other opportunities outside of the state. It was my brother, who works as an officer with the NYPD, that suggested I look into John Jay. Before transferring to John Jay, I met with Coach Joe Mandile and our meeting just cemented to me that the College was the perfect place for me. He’s very much a father figure to me, he’s always told me to stay the course, keep going and don’t ever quit. He believes in me, he knows the game of baseball very well and I just knew he could get the most out of me.

Tell us a bit about your baseball career here at John Jay. What has the experience been like for you?
It has been incredibly fun. I’ve played baseball all my life, so to be able to do that here at John Jay has been thrilling. I like to think I’ve had a pretty decent career here. I’m tied for third all-time in hits and I am the leader in stolen bases here at John Jay. I won Rookie of the Year my freshman year and won Male Athlete of the Year my junior year. And, I just found out that I won the 2019 CUNY Athletic Conference Player of the Year award. I’m the first Bloodhound to receive the award since 2006.

Baseball

“I just found out that I won the 2019 CUNY Athletic Conference Player of the Year award. I’m the first Bloodhound to receive the award since 2006.” —Zach Hyde

As a player, have there been any challenges that you had to overcome?
When I tore my ACL was the most challenging experience. I was a junior at the time and went home to South Carolina for the summer. I was working out, planted my leg incorrectly and I heard a pop. I knew something was wrong. When I was sitting in the surgeon’s office my whole career flashed before my eyes. When that happens, you start to question whether to have surgery or not because having the surgery means you’re going to be out of play for almost a year and when you do come back, you may not be at 100 percent. But if you don’t have the surgery, you risk further injury.

Can you tell us a bit about your recovery process?
During the surgery, you’re going through what they call a ligamentation process where they take your patellar tendon and turn it into a ligament. It takes about six months for it to become as strong as it’s supposed to be. After surgery, it was brutal because you can’t walk for about a month and a half. Then you’re on crutches. I was going to physical therapy four times a week and there were days where I just wanted to give up. It was really the support of my family—my brothers would remind me daily that playing professional baseball is my dream and that I deserve the success I’ve been working so hard for—and my John Jay family, Coach Mandile and Brandon Fieland, that got me through the recovery process. They all encouraged me to battle through and I actually recovered much faster than expected. Normally, the timeframe to return to playing a sport after ACL surgery is nine months to a year. I came back in seven months. It was all thanks to their unwavering support.

Is there a baseball player you look up to?
I’m a big fan of David Wright. He played for my favorite team, the New York Mets. As he got older he faced a lot of adversity—a number of injuries, including hurting his back, which meant he couldn’t play. Just seeing him go through those challenges and witnessing his comeback each time was something I admire and find so inspiring.

Zach Hyde

“One moment that really stands out is a big conference game we played against City College of New York. I hit three home runs during that game.” —Zach Hyde

Is there a moment here at John Jay or out of the field that stands out as your favorite moment?
My whole senior year at John Jay has been really special for me, because I was able to get back on the field after having it almost taken away from me. One moment that really stands out is a big conference game we played against City College of New York. I hit three home runs during that game.

Five years from now, where do you see yourself?
The week after graduation, June 3 through 5, is the Major League Baseball draft. I’m hoping to hear my name called. So, five years from now, I see myself playing professional baseball. I just need the opportunity to prove myself. Of course, I would love to play for the New York Mets, but I think when you get to that level of playing, you realize it’s just a blessing to be on any team. I would be happy just being out on that field, giving it my all each inning, and making my family, both at home and at John Jay, proud.

Listen to the full interview with Zach Hyde.