Few college students can say they have established a “legacy” in four short years as an undergraduate. However, Jack Hollinshead ’21, the Wittenberg recipient of the 2021 Charles J. Ping Student Service Legacy Award, can say just that.
The Ping Award is distributed through Ohio Campus Compact, a nonprofit membership organization of 35 Ohio colleges and universities. Hollinshead, the founder of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization called My Inner Warrior Foundation (MIW), was recognized at this year’s Honors Convocation on April 9.
Hollinshead, who hails from Mayfield Village, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, created MIW in 2016 to provide greater access to inner-city youth baseball programs, with a goal to create year-long training programs. A record-breaking catcher for the Tiger baseball team, Hollinshead was inspired to create the foundation by his own passion for the game and also by his father, who previously served as executive director for a non-profit called The Littlest Heroes.
“Our main goal for MIW is to provide a year-long training program to extend the current inner-city baseball schedule,” said Hollinshead, a double major in sport management and financial economics who will graduate with honors from Wittenberg on May 15. “We intend to provide free training and tutoring for many inner-city athletes. We see this program bringing key characteristics that many inner-city athletes may be missing, such as structure, dedication and passion.
“I would love to extend MIW’s reach far beyond the city of Cleveland after we find success and continue to grow. We eventually want to work with the Major League Baseball (MLB) charities and provide more opportunity all across the nation.”
Hollinshead, who said the foundation’s work has been slowed over the last 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leads MIW as its founder and executive director. He is joined on the five-person executive team by “people who I am fortunate to call friends,” including fellow Tiger baseball standout Jack Siefert ’21, who grew up playing baseball in the same neighborhood as Hollinshead.
His professional goals include work in intercollegiate athletics. He views his work with MIW as compatible with aspirations that include serving as a collegiate director of athletics.
“I believe that this career path allows me to continue to use MIW as an avenue for change in athletics,” Hollinshead said. “I will always want to grow sport in less-privileged communities and will continue to promote My Inner Warrior as a beacon for hope within those communities. Even if MIW never grows to a national organization, I will always want to make someone’s life just a little bit better and help people in my hometown of Cleveland.”
Hollinshead earned second-team All-North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) honors as a sophomore in 2019. He leads the league with 13 home runs and ranks second in runs batted in with 42 this year after leading the Tigers to a 21-11 record and second place in the NCAC West Division.
He says Wittenberg has prepared him well for his personal and professional pursuits, which will start with a graduate assistantship for athletics development at the University of Illinois in the fall. Hollinshead plans to pursue a master’s degree in recreation, sport, and tourism with a sport management concentration.
“The Wittenberg experience has prepared me immensely for life after college,” he said. “I am fortunate to have the best professor on campus as my advisor, Dr. Jen Parsons, who has been fundamental in helping me to shape my ultimate goal of becoming an athletic director. Her guidance and support over the past four years has been incredibly helpful and meaningful to assist me in where I want to go!
“I would also be remiss if I didn’t talk about the baseball program. Coming to Wittenberg four years ago, I knew that baseball would be something that is extremely important to me. I have been fortunate to play in this program, under Coach (Brian) McGee, and have the opportunity to start, become a captain, and be a part of a turnaround that will have Wittenberg baseball on top for years to come. The experiences I have had on the diamond are second to none and have helped me in becoming a better person, teammate, friend, and adult. I look forward to staying involved with this program for years to come.”