BROOMFIELD — It is said, the ideal in athletics is to go out on top. Marc Cowell would be the first to dispute the notion.
The Holy Family baseball coach officially stepped down from his position less than two weeks after his team captured the Class 3A state championship in a dramatic comeback. And far from eliciting elation from the long-time veteran of Tigers baseball, the bidding adieu with another title to his name left the coach pretty low.
“You can put into your headline that this sucks,” he said. “But there is nothing you can really do about it.”
The coach relinquished his position after 10 years with Holy Family due to the increasing demands at his other job. Cowell is the executive director of the Longmont nonprofit the Tiny Tim Center, which provides pediatric therapy service and preschool for students with and without special needs.
While he did not make the decision official until the Tigers’ May 31 team banquet, Cowell had made up his mind about stepping down before the championship series began May 10 in Greeley.
“It had been building slowly over the past three years, but this past year became very difficult,” he said. “In the offseason, it was the first time in 20 years I had to step away and hire someone else to run my summer program.”
Cowell tinkered with the idea of concluding his career with the Tigers after the 2012 season, but was begged out of the decision by Holy Family athletic director Ben Peterson. He attempted to talk the coach out of retiring again on Monday, but this time to no avail.
“It’s a huge loss,” Peterson said. “Marc built a program that was mediocre into one that competes with Eaton year in and out. And he was instrumental in improving the facilities, from the backstop to the new scoreboard.”
Cowell leaves the baseball program as one of Holy Family’s most successful coaches. He led the Tigers to eight postseason appearances, four berths in the 3A championship game and two state titles — this season’s and the program’s first in 2010. It is quite a resume, but one the coach fully intended to build.
“When I came in I told (former football coach) Mike D. Gabriel that Holy Family was a football school, but by the time I left it was going to be a football and baseball school,” Cowell said.
Cowell was thrilled to have finished his run with the Tigers winning a championship, especially after losing the opening game of the double-elimination tournament. But the coach believed he had more to accomplish with the team.
“As a coaching staff, we were just getting the program where we wanted it to be,” he said. “It’s tough to leave in a situation like that.”
Holy Family has not set a deadline to replace Cowell, with Peterson planning on finding the best individual to continue the baseball team’s success. And the athletic director was certain he would not have a shortage of candidates aiming to snatch up a gem such as the Tigers baseball program. As for Cowell, he does not discount coaching again sometime at a future date.
“I’m not going out on my own terms, so there will always be that desire to go back,” he said. “But at this point, it’s hard to imagine wearing anything but the purple and gold.”
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