Commencement 2015: Senior student-athlete balanced academic achievement with standout baseball career

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KINGSTON, R.I. – April 9,, 2015 – Tim Caputo of Greenlawn, N.Y. has had an impressive four years at the University of Rhode Island that would leave most people wondering how he did it all.

As the starting shortstop on the URI baseball team since his freshman year, he was an Atlantic 10 All-Star Rookie in 2012, a Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star in 2013, and was voted among the top defensive infielders in the Atlantic 10 during the 2013 and 2015 seasons.

In addition, he is a seven-time Dean’s List honoree with a 3.53 cumulative grade point average in kinesiology.

But what stands out most about Caputo is his humility and gratitude to those around him. When talking about his URI career, Caputo focused not on his own myriad accomplishments, but on the people who have helped him accomplish them.

“The people I’ve run into here at URI, whether teammates or professors, have shaped who I am today,” said Caputo.

Caputo cites Raphael Cerrato, the baseball team’s head coach, as one such role model. Cerrato and Caputo joined the team in 2012, Cerrato as assistant coach and Caputo as a freshman. They’ve grown together and become close over the years. “He’s taught me a lot about the game,” said Caputo, “but that’s on the field. Off the field, he’s been a good father figure to me and my teammates. He’s taught us how to carry ourselves in good situations and bad.”

Caputo said the most influential person in his URI life was a teammate, Jeff Roy, who now plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates. “My freshman year, he showed me the ropes and how to carry myself on and off the field. He was my best friend on the team.”

Back home in Greenlawn, N.Y., a friend’s father who owned a physical therapy clinic sparked his interest in kinesiology after he treated Caputo for a twisted ankle in high school. “I think it’s a really interesting and fun profession that I could see myself doing in the future,” Caputo said.

Caputo’s goal is to one day have his own physical therapy clinic, although he sees himself starting his career in an in-patient hospital setting, then moving to an out-patient clinic. Caputo will participate in commencement in May 2015, but will continue to take classes in the fall to prepare for physical therapy graduate school.

Caputo set his career goal when he interned with Olympic Physical Therapy last summer, a clinic with multiple Rhode Island locations. When Caputo returned for school in the fall, his boss Bert Reid offered him a job. “Olympic was a great place to learn because they allowed me to work directly with patients almost immediately.” As a member of the staff, he now holds more responsibilities in the office and still enjoys working with patients.

The biggest challenge that Caputo faced over the course of his college career was balancing athletics with academics. “You have to make time to get your work done,” he said. “Being a student-athlete and having to juggle various tasks on a daily basis definitely made me more organized. The academic advisors were a big help.”

Caputo recently gained a new perspective during a seminar he attended by Chris Herren, a former college and NBA star, and recovering alcoholic and drug addict.

Herren said something that stuck with Caputo: “You have to ask yourself is: If you were a little kid, would you look up to yourself?”

Caputo said he would. “I looked up to leaders on my team who were successful and I tried to emulate them in every aspect of my life. Today, being a senior captain on the team and making my own impression on some of the freshmen feels very rewarding.” Caputo laughed and said, “It’s kind of surreal.”

Pictured above:

Tim Cuputo. Photo by Mike Salerno.

Caputo makes a play for the Rams. Photo by Steve Caputo.