Former Southeast Missouri State University baseball player Francisco Montiel firmly believes in remembering your roots and giving back to your hometown community.
Francisco is the educational manager for his Native American tribe, the Pascua Yaqui. He oversees Yaqui education services in the Guadalupe, Ariz. area, including more than 1,300 students, six staff and a $1.64 million budget, providing both K-12 and higher education assistance.
“We assist our K-12 students in the Pascua Yaqui Tribe with financial assistance, advocacy, parent/student workshops and community partnership events. Our higher education assistance program provides financial assistance to students attending public colleges in the state of Arizona and other public state universities and colleges,” he says.
Francisco says his passion for what he does is his secret to success.
“Drive can’t be transferred over into something you don’t really care much for!” he says.
“Working with the community and both sharing their accomplishments and helping them overcome obstacles is very rewarding,” says Francisco. “We are a resilient people.”
Francisco graduated from Southeast in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science.
After his collegiate baseball career at Southeast, he went on to play in the independent Golden Baseball League in California and Arizona before marrying his wife, Christina, in 2008. Francisco also formerly served as mayor of Guadalupe, his hometown.
Reflecting on his time at Southeast, Francisco says, “Southeast faculty/staff, alumni and the city of Cape Girardeau gave me an experience that helped me mature as a student as well as a person. The combination of challenging coursework, faculty professionalism and overall support I felt as a student-athlete helped mold me into a great working professional.”
He says many of his favorite Southeast memories come from the baseball diamond.
“The two that stand out are playing well with a bum ankle in the 2005 season opener against Tulane University (which was ranked #1 nationally), and a walk-off home run my roommate E.J. Bracamonte hit at home against rival Mizzou. The atmosphere was electric.”
He had the following words of wisdom for future Southeast students.
“Be part of your Southeast experience and get to know as many students with different backgrounds as possible. Participate and be engaged in school activities. You make your experiences; they don’t make themselves.
“I miss Cape Girardeau and everyone at Southeast,” he goes on. “It was an experience that will never be forgotten. I hope I can make it back someday for Homecoming!”
Looking to the future, Francisco says after he and his wife finish graduate school they plan to add to their family and stay active.
“We really want to keep it simple, to stay involved with our children and to be mindful of our healthy lifestyles,” he says. “My wife and son are my most prized possessions, and I have been blessed with a great family.”
In his spare time, Francisco likes to stay active in his community, especially in athletics and recreation.
“I try to keep in shape,” he says. “My wife and I still play baseball and softball competitively. Taking our two year-old son, Frank Jr., to the park and playgrounds helps keep us young.
Francisco and his family reside in Guadalupe, Ariz.