On the Diamond, Haas Alum Means Business
By Sara Palmbush
Not many Cal graduates get to choose between playing
professional baseball and pursuing a career in business,
but that was where former Cal shortstop Jeff Dragicevich
found himself after finishing his undergraduate degree
at Haas in 2004.
In truth it wasn't much of a dilemma for the
Pac-10 standout who last June was chosen by the Colorado
Rockies in the 18th round of the Major League draft.
"I'm really enjoying the chance to fulfill
my dream. I want to see how far it will take me,"
Both California and athletics run in the family. His
grandfather Ray Bergstrom went to Cal, his father Chuck
played water polo and swam at UCLA, and his older brother
Scott was an infielder at rival Stanford.
But while his athletic career defined much of his time
at Cal, Dragicevich says Haas teachers such as Steve
Etter, BS 83, MBA 89, a finance lecturer, left a lasting
impression. He cites Etter's support in the classroom
as well as in the stands. Etter rarely missed a home
Dragicevich says baseball helped him in some of his
business classes. He once used his athletic skills for
a project where the goal was to instruct classmates
on a topic they were unfamiliar with. He showed them
how to hit a baseball. He believes there are similarities
between what he learned in the classroom and what he
learned on the field. "In both baseball and business
you have to be technically sound and then you have to
be willing to take risks and just go for it,"
Now in the off-season most of Dragicevich's
time is taken up by practice in Southern California
with a group of professional baseball players including
his brother Scott. The rest he spends tutoring high-school
kids in math, going to the beach, and playing his favorite
song, 'Mr. Jones,' on the guitar. It's
a song by rock group Counting Crows, who are incidentally
"huge Cal fans," he says.
He plans on putting his business degree to work after
he's finished with baseball, but right now he's
seeing where this road leads. Says Dragicevich, "Success
is being happy with your career and the life you're
leading, and I am."
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