April 30, 2010

Doug Hansen: A Great Example

April 30, 2010

As one of the UC Santa Barbara baseball team's catchers, Doug Hansen is almost constantly working on his game or helping the pitching staff. The discipline and preparation he displays on a daily basis has earned him the nickname "The Professional."

One of the reasons Hansen works so hard and does things the right way is because he's used to it. He developed type 1 diabetes when he was three years old, which has taught him to always be well prepared and responsible.

The Gauchos coaching staff loves having Hansen around because of his contributions to the team and the example he sets for his teammates, but he almost wasn't part of the team.

It had nothing to do with his diabetes, but Hansen was unsuccessful at walking on to the team his freshman year. After playing for the club team for a year, he tried out a second time and made the team.

Even with the workload of a catcher, Hansen is able to manage his diabetes by keeping a close eye on what he eats and adjusting his blood sugar level between innings with insulin or some Gatorade when necessary.

"He was the last guy we let go, but he left a lasting impression with his character," remembers head coach Bob Brontsema of Hansen's first try-out. "You want as many guys like Doug on the team as you can get."

Hansen is so used to monitoring himself and managing his diabetes that he says it doesn't affect his play at all.

The same skills that allow Hansen to compete at such a high level have probably helped him in other areas of life as well. He is a business economics major with a minor in sport management, and he plans on going to law school after graduating from UCSB.

"He's very astute, in some ways it's like having another coach out there," explained associate head coach Tom Myers. "He's a positive person, and his teammates feed off that."

His attitude and work ethic have not gone unnoticed. Hansen was awarded the Phil Womble Gaucho Heart Award last year at the SB Awards for his "never give up" attitude.

Hansen credits his family, especially his mom, in helping him develop the skills that have enabled him to be so successful on and off the field.

"I've had diabetes for so long that I don't even think about it most of the time," said Hansen. "I've never thought that I wouldn't be able to do something."