The UNC Asheville Office of Athletics Communications will try to provide an Alumni Spotlight every few weeks to let people know what our former Bulldogs are doing right now.
Today, we profile two alums, former baseball standout Alan DeRatt (2009) and his wife, Natalie Pearson DeRatt (2011), one of the best to ever run track and field at UNC Asheville.
Alan is one of the top pitchers to ever wear a Bulldog uniform. He was the Big South Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2008 and was drafted by the Colorado Rockies that spring. Alan steadily moved up the Rockies' minor league system and pitched in Triple A with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. He was released in 2012 but hasn’t given up the dream of getting to the big leagues as he’s pitching for the Sioux Falls (South Dakota) Canaries in the independent American Association. Alan’s been the closer for the club the past two seasons and saved 22 games last season.
Natalie is one of the best sprinters in the history of the Big South Conference. She won five different Big South championships and was the 2011 Big South Female Athlete of the Year. Natalie is the only Bulldog track and field student-athlete to ever qualify for the national meet as she competed in both the 2010 and 2011 NCAA Track and Field National Championships.
Natalie and Alan met at UNC Asheville and were married this past October. They both have made Asheville home when Alan’s not in Sioux Falls. Both have great memories of their time as Bulldogs.
“I really enjoyed my time at UNC Asheville. I’ve made friendships that are strong today, and I know will be strong forever,” commented DeRatt.
The Bulldogs won their lone Big South Conference championship in 2006 with DeRatt being a big part of the tournament title. He pitched an opening-game shutout against top-seeded Birmingham-Southern in the first round and then came on in relief in Asheville’s championship game win over Liberty. The Bulldogs trailed 10-0 but roared back to win 16-11. He allowed just one run against the Flames, enabling the Dogs to rally and win. Alan earned All-Tournament honors for his work.
“One of the greatest experiences and memories I have at UNC Asheville was our Big South Conference championship in 2006,” stated DeRatt. “I’ll never forget that week as long as I live and the thrill of going to the NCAA Tournament the following week.”
Natalie graduated in 2011 with a degree in mass communications and literature. She made a run at trying to qualify for the Olympics in her native England in 2012 and just fell a little short. However, Natalie is still training.
“I’ve changed my focus from track and field to the Bobsled-Skeleton,” Natalie said recently. “I’m being trained by Keith Scruggs, who is a track and field alum. There’s a competition in August that I hope to be ready for and we’ll see where that takes me.”
Natalie has a full-time job in Asheville.
“I’m working full-time for Eagles Nest Outfitters here in town as their Marketing Coordinator,” Natalie added. “And last October Alan and I got married with Morgan Weeks (track and field alum) performing the ceremony.”
She enjoyed her time at UNC Asheville.
“I had a wonderful experience at UNC Asheville. It was the perfect size for me and gave me an awesome education,” she explained. “What was best about UNC Asheville was that it was full of supportive individuals who helped me grow and as a student-athlete and woman in the workplace.”