Potent Panther Transplant
By Michael Perry
into his sophomore season at the University of Vermont, Mark
Micowski (left) was as anxious as every other college baseball
player a week before opening day.
Unfortunately for Micowski and his teammates,
instead of taking some extra time in the batting cage or staying
after practice to shag a few more fly balls, life would change
On Feb. 20, 2009, Vermont officials announced the
discontinuation of its baseball and softball programs. Despite
playing the 2009 season, budget cuts left several young athletes
scurrying to get onto a new team by the 2010 campaign.
“It was a big shock to me and no one ever saw it
coming,” Micowski said. “Everyone was pretty much scrambling. It
was pretty much like senior year, getting recruited all over
Micowski remarked that the
cut of the program astonished everyone involved, as Vermont
baseball was traditionally known as a winning program.
In late April, while finishing his final season
with the Catamounts, Micowski made his decision to head south to
Atlanta to play for Georgia State.
Rather than heading to the first college he could
find, Micowski sought out a school with both strong academics as
well as a respectable baseball program.
“Vermont is a good academic school and I wanted
to go to another good academic school.” Micowski, a Political
Science major, said. “It just worked out that Georgia State was
that pick and it definitely helps that it’s down south because
warm weather always helps.”
Once securing his spot on a new team, Micowski
was forced to adopt a new program, a new university, and a whole
new region of the country.
was definitely a lot of adjusting,” Micowski said of his new
life in Georgia. “One thing that did help, though, was we had
signed a lot of junior college guys. That helped a lot because
they were all in somewhat of the same boat as I was, in being
new and being juniors especially.”
Though eventually settling into his new team,
being 16 hours from his hometown of Haddam, Conn., was
challenging for both Micowski and his family.
“It hurt just because they love seeing me play so
much,” Micowski said of his parents. “They’ve flown down twice
to see me play already (in Georgia), but the biggest thing is
they’re just happy to see me playing where I’m happy.”
Along with being a gifted baseball player and
intelligent student, Micowski has a deep connection to his
family. He keeps up with his parents extensively, especially his
father, who he regards as his biggest influence in his baseball
“I would definitely have to say my dad,” Micowski
said. “He still throws batting practice to me, and he’s the
first person I call every time after my games. He’s been the
best coach for me ever since I was a little kid.”
Micowski attended Xavier
High School in Haddam, where both he and his father played.
During his prep school career, Micowski was a standout baseball
and basketball player. He finally decided on baseball, even
though his father played basketball at
As of now the junior outfielder is fitting in
extremely well with his new team as he has competed in 20 games
and currently bats in the leadoff spot for the Panthers.
Georgia State head coach Greg Frady considers
Micowski a great asset to his squad, as well as being a great
person off the diamond.
“He is a quality young man, he’s very
intellectual and comes out and works hard every day,” Frady said
of Micowski. “He’s coachable in a way that he’s always trying to
pick up new things. He’s an excellent teammate and a good person
to be around.”
Micowski’s desire to
challenge himself in the classroom and on the ball field truly
rings true in both the words of Coach Frady as well as the stat
The junior is batting .456 and has 35 runs in 20
games. Micowski has an .on-base percentage of .519 while ripping
three long balls with 20 RBI. The outfielder is also a bandit on
the base paths, as he is tied for the team lead with six stolen
Micowski hit for the cycle
on March 5 against NC Central, going 7 for 8 with four runs and
seven RBI. He set school records for hits and at-bats. During
the first week of March, Micowski batted .636 (14 for 22) with
five doubles, two homers, 14 runs and 10 RBI in five games. He
was named Player of the Week in the Colonial Athletic
Association, Northeast Region Player of the Week by
CollegeBaseballInsider.com and National Player of the Week by
the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).
Micowski was also named to the College Baseball Foundation
National All-Star Lineup.
Though Micowski and his former Vermont teammates
dealt with a tremendous trial that many athletes will
fortunately never face, his character, intelligence and
determination brought him through all right.
(photos courtesy of Georgia State Media Relations Office)