Growing up in Canada, Nick Howie knew that he wanted to play baseball for as long as he could remember. He just may not have known that it would lead him to another country.
The 6’3” outfielder was first seen by head coach Edwin Thompson when Howie was just a sophomore in high school, Thompson said. He knew then that Howie was a great hitter and someone that he wanted to have in his program.
“He’s an offensive player. That’s a strength. There’s no denying that,” Thompson said. “He’s everything I recruited when I saw him play.”
After being named to the Ohio Valley Conference All-Rookie Team his freshman year, being selected as a member of the OVC All-Tournament team, the All-OVC second team and the Academic All-America Team his sophomore year and playing in every game since he arrived on campus, Howie has made his mark on the EKU baseball program.
Now, as a junior, Howie is not done making his mark. With those previous successes, his goals have become even higher for himself, he said. Some of those, Howie said, include hitting over a .330 average and setting a new season high for home runs. Last year, Howie hit 10 home runs and so far in the 2019 season he has belted 11 home runs.
“You want to keep performing every year,” Howie said, “but the goal has always been to do better than I did the last year, in all different aspects.”
Both on and off the field, one of his personal goals is to continue growing in his role as a leader, especially now that he is an upperclassman and in his third season as a Colonel, Howie said. Thompson said his growth in being a leader has certainly been evident.
“I see more leadership in him, a lot more than last year,” Thompson said. “He was one of our starters, but his leadership qualities have started to expand and his overall desire for the success of the guy next to him has really grown.”
As an upperclassmen leader on the baseball team, Howie has learned the importance of being a role model for the younger guys on the team.
“There are now guys looking up to me… Instead of being the one that is asking and following, you’re the one that has to lead and know your role and be ready to know that people are looking at you, so you have to be a role model for the team.”
That aspect of leadership transfers into the classroom for Howie as well. As a finance major, Howie has a 4.0 GPA. He attributes his success in the classroom to the two traits that he believes give any student athletes the ability to succeed: hard work and motivation.
Thompson said that Howie’s habits of being able to balance academics with baseball have helped him achieve those accomplishments and in turn, the respect of his teammates, coaches and others that look up to him.
Beyond his victories on the field and in the classroom, Jacob Abbott, Howie’s teammate and roommate, said their relationship is one in which they can push one another to make each other better.
“He’s one of the guys who would do about anything for anyone,” Abbott said. “He’s a good friend to have around.”
Abbott said that Howie is a big voice on the team and one of the major components to bringing the whole team together.
Howie’s character, Thompson said, is something that has always set him apart. His loyalty to the program and to Thompson himself, has shown what his values are and that he holds himself to a high standard, whether he is in a baseball uniform or not.
It is because of those strides Howie has made and the standards he has set that his coach will continue to push him to make him better as a player and as a person, Thompson said.