Back-to-Back: Cowgill Brothers Help Each Other Through Baseball and Life
By: Sean Cartell - UK Media Relations
When sophomore Kentucky outfielder Collin Cowgill and his brother, James Madison senior Michael Cowgill, hit back-to-back home runs in a Valley League baseball game this summer, the feat seemed only fitting.
After all, the Lexington natives have spent their entire lives supporting one another in their baseball careers and in life. Graduates of Henry Clay High School, the duo is one of only about 30 pairs of brothers who currently are playing Division I baseball.
“This is definitely a unique experience,” Collin Cowgill said. “Michael and I have played with each other our whole lives and I think it is just a credit to our parents to have raised two Division I student-athletes.”
From an early age, parents Bill, a former Birmingham Southern basketball player, and Michaelene Cowgill played an important role in their sons’ baseball careers. The parents encouraged their sons each step of the way, telling them to focus on academics first and baseball a close second.
“We always knew we wanted to wanted to play baseball as long as we could,” the younger Cowgill said. “Our parents pushed us hard in school and in baseball. They always wanted us to have something to fall back on in case baseball didn’t work out.”
Collin and his brother Michael both were at the top of their classes at Henry Clay High School, always with the goal in mind of achieving their dreams of playing Division I baseball.
“This has definitely been a great experience for the both of us,” Michael Cowgill said. “It is really a blessing for us and something that we both really enjoy. Our parents have been so supportive of us, coming to games to see us play and encouraging us our whole lives.”
Despite the fact that the two brothers differ in age by two years and are 400 miles apart, they continue to encourage one another in baseball and in life.
“We’re both very busy with school and baseball, but we try to find time to talk as much as we can,” the elder Cowgill said. “We talk a lot of baseball and try to help each other with things we can improve on. Even when we aren’t able to talk, we are pretty familiar with what the other is doing. We know each other’s stats pretty well and how their team is doing.”
The 2006 campaign has brought a much greater reward for both Cowgills, whose teams are enjoying great success for the first time in both of their careers. Both James Madison and Kentucky have spent time in the top 25 polls this season and have posted strong records.
“It is really a great feeling for both of us,” Collin Cowgill said. “It is exciting to know that both of our teams are near the tops of our conferences and competing nationally.”
In addition to the successes that their teams have had, both Cowgills have assumed leadership roles on their teams, and each are quick to credit the other’s work-ethic and dedication.
Collin Cowgill, who has started and played in each of Kentucky’s 29 games this season, is third on the squad with a .323 batting average, is third on the team in RBI (26) and home runs (6), and has coaxed a squad-best 27 walks.
“Collin is such a great baseball player,” his brother Michael said. “Growing up, we always pushed each other. He was younger, but he grew up bigger than me. He’s got great speed and is really a good hitter. He is such a hard worker.”
Michael Cowgill, is a captain for the Dukes’ baseball team, and has hit a team-leading 13 home runs. His 13 round-trippers are the third-most in the nation. He is also batting .292 with a squad-best nine stolen bases.
“Michael is a really good player,” his younger brother said. “He gave me so much advice coming into college and as I finished up with high school. He told me to relax and let things happen. I did that and I was able to be successful by trying to do the things that he did.”
Even though the two have spent most of the past four years apart, they have been able to train with one another each summer back in the Bluegrass. The two spent each off-season together before getting the opportunity to play together on the Covington Lumberjacks (Low Moor, Va.) in the Valley League this past year.
“It was an incredible experience this summer,” said Collin Cowgill, the 2005 Valley League Prospect of the Year. “We batted back-to-back in the line-up – he batted fourth and I was fifth – all year long, and it was something really special.
“One game, we hit back-to-back home runs and our mom was there watching. It was unbelievable.”
Brother Michael Cowgill agreed, saying the feat was nearly indescribable.
“You just can’t top a moment like that,” the elder Cowgill said. “It was so much fun to be able to play together and then it was just incredible to hit back-to-back home runs.”
And for the brothers, wherever they go in life, whether they are playing baseball or not, they will continue to share success together in that same way.