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Wildcat Pitcher Jacob Peaden Looks to Lead in His Own Way

by | Feb 10, 2022

Jacob Peaden after he took care of several Lehigh batters in a game his freshman year.


Leadership can take on many forms and be a difficult trait to describe or pinpoint or even to understand.

Davidson pitcher Jacob Peaden, set to begin his junior season next week, recently got some new insights into what it means overall and specifically to him when he attended the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum in Houston, Texas.

The late November gathering was an exclusive one — Peaden was the only male athlete from the Atlantic 10 Conference to make the trip.

After a nomination process from the league’s individual institutions, he joined VCU field hockey player Ashley Barrett as the A-10’s two representatives.

“I felt blessed that I got it, honestly,” says Peaden. “It made me proud that the A-10 thought that much of me that they would send me to the conference.”

For four days, Peaden spent time in both in large and small group settings, listened to guest speakers and pursued the idea of leadership through numerous activities. Topics ranging from mental health to having difficult conversations with teammates were covered, and Peaden found that leading is about doing it your own way.   

“It wasn’t, ‘Good leaders are strong, independent, they’re the wolf,'” says Peaden “It wasn’t that. It was more of finding out who you are and how, based off that, what skills you can use best for your leadership style.”

Peaden learned about the word “mudita,” that became a rally point for Alabama softball and means sympathetic and unselfish joy. One way to lead, he says, is to “genuinely care more about the success of others than yourself.”

Peaden grew up in eastern North Carolina and didn’t play baseball until he was 11. Last year, he appeared in 18 games, making three starts, and covering 30.2 innings. He struck out 44 and held opposing hitters to a .236 average, with his top performance coming against North Alabama in early April. That day, he threw 4.2 innings and struck out six without allowing a hit or run. He also struck out seven against Dayton.

“Jacob is a competitive person on the field and focused on what he needs to do to perform,” says head coach Rucker Taylor. “Off the field, he is personable and enjoyable to be around, and he has continued to evolve as a person and player. He takes what he does seriously but doesn’t take himself too seriously.”

Among his teammates, Peaden is known as a caring, vocal leader and one of the first players to step into a drill and set the tone.

“He’s a very competitive person, and that pushes everyone else to do their best,” says fellow pitcher Nolan DeVos. “He’s always down to talk baseball, school, or life with you. I always enjoy being around him, and it makes my day better.” 

As the 2022 season nears, Peaden expects to be in the same kind of flexible role as last year, where he could potentially be used in long relief, as a midweek starter, as a closer or anything else the Wildcats need at a given time. To him, it’s whatever he can do to help the team succeed.

“I’m ready for anything that’s thrown at me,” he says. 

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