Howie headed to EKU
By Matt Betts
Canadian Baseball Network
It has been a crazy year for Ontario Blue Jay Nick Howie (Oakville, Ont).
First off, his Ontario Blue Jays team won two tournaments, one the Perfect Game National Championship and then he went on to participate in the Tournament 12 held at Rogers Centre.
Next he and the Ontario Blue Jays made their annual trip south to take on various NCAA Division 1 schools. The fall finally came to an end after his team lost in the quarter finals of the WWBA World championships in Jupiter, FL.
Howie received interest from many Division 1 schools and junior colleges but the Eastern Kentucky Colonels head coach Edwin Thompson and assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Tyler Hanson saw him multiple times at T12 and in Jupiter. After he visited EKU, he knew it was the right place for him.
“It was a brand new coaching staff this year at EKU and I already knew the coaches from previous schools they were at so I had a good relationship with them,” Howie explained. “I really liked what they had to say about me having a chance to start early in my career. I felt it was the best place to continue my development.”
Howie also mentions that the Colonels program is about to invest a lot of money into facilities which will include a new stadium and clubhouse being built for the spring of 2017.
“My favorite part about EKU is all the renovations that will be taking place for the program as it shows the commitment the school has towards the baseball team,” Howie said. “It will also make for an amazing atmosphere to play in and I really liked the attitude that the coaches and players had towards the baseball program as well as the school in general. I felt like I fit right in on campus.”
Fitting in should not be a problem, especially in the Colonels lineup.
“I just plan to work my hardest in the classroom, weight room, on the ball field and see where it takes me,” Howie said. “The coaches have told me that I will have a chance to earn a starting spot early in my career, so I just have to work hard and hopefully receive those opportunities.”
It seems a lot of great players have their quirks or superstitions and Nick Howie is no different. Although his parents probably taught him how to tie his shoes, coach Thompson might want to keep an eye on how he puts them on.
“My biggest superstition is that I have to put my left shoe on before my right,” Howie explains with a serious expression. “I remember one game I realized I put my right shoe on first and I ended up not having a good game. So ever since then I always make sure my left one goes on first.”
Reaching college baseball is quite the accomplishment while making the pros is even more difficult and Howie has his priorities straight heading into his first year at EKU. He realizes the biggest thing is his degree and he is most likely going to major in business marketing.
Business has always intrigued him and the job possibilities in marketing is also something that excited him.
“Obviously playing professional baseball is a big goal of mine but I also know how important it is to go to school and get my degree,” Howie said. “I will have that my whole life.”
Howie clearly has a good head on his shoulders and he says his parents have had the biggest impact on him during this entire process.
“My dad has coached me for multiple years and he was the one who introduced me to baseball,” Howie explains. “My mom has been my biggest supporter and has always been there for me to help guide me throughout this process.”
There is little doubt who has had an impact on the baseball side for Howie.
“My hitting coach Pat Visca, who started working with me when I entered the Blue Jays program,” Howie pointed out. “We have worked on slight adjustments to my swing to help give me success at the next level.”
The whole recruitment process can be very stressful and Howie admits the later you go before signing, the harder playing can become. He is glad to know where he is headed to school and admits it takes some pressure off for the upcoming season
“It is very reassuring to know where my college career is heading,” Howie said. “Now that I know where I am going, I will not have that pressure of finding a school and I can just go out there and play the game.”
And boy how can this Howie kid can play.