Townsend flourishes at Blue Mountain

By Bart Moss

For the FCT

In 2010, Curt Fowler was given the opportunity to start a baseball program from scratch at Blue Mountain College – an institution located in the north Mississippi town of Blue Mountain that was founded in 1873.

Fowler’s task was daunting. In a short period of time he had to fill out a 56-game schedule and recruit a team from scratch. His first priority was to decide what kind of team he wanted and what kind of young men he needed to recruit.

“I wanted to have quality kids to help me build the baseball program on a simple and basic principle,” Fowler said. “I wanted kids who understood that nothing was more important than God and family.  Baseball was important but it would definitely take backseat to those things.”

One of the young men Fowler turned to in order to build his program was Brent Townsend, a 2010 graduate of Vina High School who was a standout on the baseball team.

Fowler said he got a call from someone who knew he was starting a baseball program and suggested he go watch Brent play.

“My GPS didn’t even have Vina on it,” Fowler said. “I had to get out an old paper map to find the school. Brent had a good game that night and I left there knowing I would offer him a scholarship.”

A few years passed and Brent didn’t play very much, but his leadership abilities continued to flourish. Brent was respected by his teammates and his coach for the way he played the game of baseball and his team-first attitude.

“Brent developed each year and got better and better,” Fowler said. “He was first to the weight room and the last to leave the field every day.”

He also caught the eye of Fowler’s dad, Jerry. Fowler said his dad loved to watch Brent play. His dad often spoke of Brent’s enthusiasm, heart and determination.

Jerry Fowler passed away during Brent’s sophomore year, and it was very hard on his coach.

“My dad and I had a very special bond and it was real tough on me,” Fowler said. “Brent was the first player to come see me. He didn’t have to say a word; he just hugged me and held me in his arms while I cried.”

“My love for Coach Fowler goes way beyond the player-coach relationship,” Townsend explained. “He is a great coach but an even better person. He has taught me many lessons through the game of baseball. I am forever grateful to him for giving me the chance to play for him.”

“Brent Townsends don’t come along every day,” Fowler said. “It has been an honor to coach this young man. When I think of Brent, I smile because he’s become a man. He is one of my team captains and he serves in that role with dignity and purpose.”

Vina baseball coach, Greg Hamilton, echoed the sentiments of Fowler while recalling Townsend’s time in high school.

“Brent was an outstanding leader,” Hamilton said. “He was one of the hardest workers in the weight room, on the field, and in the classroom. He believed that hard work would reap rewards.”

The hard work did reap rewards. The Vina baseball team won their area during his senior season and he was the class Valedictorian.

“Leadership is about implementing all the lessons that my superiors have taught me,” Townsend said. “I’m grateful to the Lord for putting great examples of leadership in my life – everyone from my coaches, my parents and my teachers.

“Leadership is more than a ‘being a senior so I’m in charge’ attitude. True leadership has to come from the heart. Being a leader means being disciplined enough to stay mentally focused and enthusiastic at whatever you are doing. Enthusiasm breeds more enthusiasm just like laziness breeds more laziness.”

Brent Townsend will be the first four-year senior to complete his degree on the Blue Mountain baseball team when he graduates in May. He is a pre-pharmacy major and has been accepted into the McWhorter School of Pharmacy at Samford University in Birmingham.


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