Derrick Freeland, Jr., meets with Judson student-athletes

Derrick Freeland, Jr., speaker, author, entrepreneur, and former student-athlete, spoke to Judson College student-athletes February 10, 2021.

Freeland shared his personal story of learning to excel through adversity, noting that failures and setbacks are only part of the process of growth toward success.

He encouraged students to identify their dreams and to treat every challenge as an opportunity for growth. After a traumatic brain injury that kept him from his own dream of becoming a professional athlete, Freeland said that the most challenging obstacle he faced was himself. Failure, he said, wasn’t a reason to quit–instead, it was an opportunity to step forward on his path to success.

This message resonated with Judson’s student-athletes, whose regular seasons have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cassidy Murphy, a junior on the Judson Eagles basketball team, said that Freeland’s message reminded her that there is meaning to be found in the hard work of regular practices, despite cancellations and changes to the team’s game schedules. “Instead of our just going through the daily motions,” said Murphy, “Freeland encouraged us to ‘buy in’ to the process and trust that there’ll be a greater product.”

Marsha Ford, Athletic Director, echoed that Freeland’s “Process Over Product” message affirmed for students that “there’s a reason for their being here at Judson, and their lives can have an impact on so many others if they take time to embrace the journey God has them on–rather than rushing through life.”

Ford said that the Athletic Department has encountered many hurdles during the COVID-19 pandemic, with game and season cancellations continuing to disrupt schedules and travel plans, even in 2021. “However,” she said, “we’re still here for a purpose and grateful that our student-athletes have the chance to represent Judson.”

The Judson College Eagles basketball team will conclude its shortened spring season this week, and the volleyball and softball teams’ spring schedules extend into April. Find updated schedules at

by: Mary Amelia Taylor, Associate VP for Marketing & Communications