By Drew Leach | Guest Contributor
In an organization, some of the most important people are those who are not seen. Baylor baseball has 40 players, four coaches and several student managers, all of whom are managed by director of operations Justin Grassi, who has held the position since 2019.
“Basically, my job is to lay it out so the athletes and coaches can play it out,” Grassi said. “I handle everything from travel to administration, food, equipment and assisting with game day operations.”
However, Grassi hasn’t always been a member of the Baylor community — in fact, he was a sailor. Before coming to Baylor, Grassi served in the U.S. Navy reserves for eight years.
“Essentially, I graduated high school and tried to go to college for a year and just wasn’t really ready for it,” Grassi said. “I needed to mature and learn a career.”
Grassi did just that.
“I grew up and learned how to become a man,” Grassi said.
After the Navy, Grassi attended and graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He graduated from Baylor in 2017 with a bachelor’s in health kinesiology, and then again in 2019 with a master’s in sports pedagogy.
Grassi started working for Baylor athletics as a student, then turned it into a full-time job, but he still applies his military mindset to his job today.
“The accountability, organization and attention to detail,” Grassi said. “Being responsible for so many people other than myself, it’s kind of like service in the military was, it was selfless. It is more about the collective group of individuals.”
Grassi said he genuinely cares for the people around him and does everything he can to make life a little easier on them.
“Hopefully I make their lives a little bit easier,” Grassi said. “Hopefully I can help take some of that responsibility off your plate, dealing with college athletics and school. I feel like I have a diverse background of experiences so I try to talk to the guys and see what is going on and if I can help in any way.”
And he has been helping, as several members of the team said Grassi had a fun-loving energy that always brought a smile to their faces.
“He always finds a way to make me smile,” sophomore pitcher Cole Stasio said.
While the outside world may not know all Grassi does behind the scenes, his selfless and caring personality is recognized by his fellow staff members and players.
“Justin is one of the most loyal people I have ever met in my life,” baseball athletic trainer Josh Barnhill said. “Whether it be a shoulder to cry on or seeking advice, he is always there.”