It’s tough enough to become one of the top players in the country in one sport. John Douglas did it in two.
Douglas, a three-time basketball All-American at Catholic University, was also a Major League Baseball draft pick. His dual achievement left a lasting impression on his basketball coach, Mike Lonergan.
“John was one of the best all-around athletes I ever coached,” said Lonergan, now head coach at George Washington University. “To become a professional baseball player and also be an All-Conference basketball player for the top Division III program in the nation is quite a feat.”
Douglas was a four-year starting shortstop (1992-95) for the Cardinals and three-time All-Capital Athletic Conference selection (second team 1993 and first team in ’94-95). He was a career .348 hitter with 13 home runs, five triples, 32 doubles, 58 stolen bases, 90 RBIs and 129 runs. In 139 career games, he struck out just 52 times (vs. 85 walks).
In 1994, he batted a career-high .395 with four homers, 24 RBIs and 22 stolen bases. The Toronto Blue Jays selected in the 31st round of the 1995 Major League Draft.
“John was a rare player who did what it took to prepare to be successful in every way on and off the field,” longtime CUA Baseball Coach Ross Natoli said. “He was a talented player who got the absolute most out of his potential. And as good a player as John was, he was an even better leader and teammate.
“He is unquestionably one of the top players to play for me.”
Douglas was assigned to Toronto’s rookie affiliate in Dunedin, Fla., the Gulf Coast Blue Jays. He played third base, shortstop and second base, and in 55 games, batted .235 with two home runs, six doubles, 26 RBIs and 21 runs. Roy Halladay, one of his teammates, later enjoyed a 16-year career with Toronto and the Philadelphia Phillies.
A Star on the Hardwood
Douglas, who came to Brookland from Vienna, Va., was also a four-year starter in basketball, primarily at small forward. He scored 30 or more points seven times and is the sixth all-time leading scorer (1,774 points) in school history.
As a junior and senior, he was a first-team All-CAC selection. In 1994,’95 and ’96, he was named honorable mention All-American.
In a January 1994 game against Skidmore, Douglas pumped in a career-high 36 points. He averaged 21.5 points in 1994-95, garnered MVP honors of the CUA Coca-Cola Classic and was an ECAC South Region All-Star. In an 86-78 overtime victory at St. Mary’s (Md.), he tallied 34 points and 14 rebounds.
“J.D.” played his final season as a post graduate and averaged 18.4 points and 8.4 rebounds. In the Cardinals’ 92-88 victory over No. 1 Rowan at DuFour Center on Jan. 15, 1996, he scored 12 points in 19 minutes and surpassed the 1,500 point mark. He punctuated the win over the eventual national champions with an emphatic dunk as time expired.
Douglas was named CUA Senior Athlete of the Year in 1995-96. He was the first person in school history to play on two NCAA Tournament teams (1992-93 and ’95-96). The first squad finished 21-6, then a school record for victories. The second won the CAC regular-season title (12-2) en route to a 19-8 record.
“John was instrumental in taking a successful Catholic University program to the next level,” said Lonergan, who was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2005. “He was a quality young man and had a tireless work ethic. He was truly a joy to coach.”
Douglas earned a bachelor’s (1995) and master’s (’96) degree in sociology. His wife, Jen (Keegan), played field hockey for the Cardinals and graduated in 1993. In 2008, he was inducted into the Georgetown Prep Hall of Fame.
Douglas works as a vice president for Homeward Residential Capital in Mount Laurel, N.J.
By Chris McManes (August 2015)