Testing at 4.0 and batting at .325 in his senior season, Owensboro native Collier Higgs told his classmates at Kentucky State University 4 words in his valedictorian speech: “We gon’ be alright.”
With a smile, Higgs recounted his four years at the university dashing between textbooks and home plates. He said it starts in the classroom. He said he worked to ensure he could make the grades first to continue his ventures on the field.
“So first and foremost, you have to try as hard as you can in the classroom. Then knowing that you have the talent, while you’re playing you have to put that into the work ethic at practice, weight room and everything else,” Higgs said.
From there, that’s how a full-balanced player and student is crafted.
By putting in the work throughout the years, he clocked in 92 games and bat .322 — with his freshman and sophomore runs being cut short because of the pandemic.
He said several people have helped and encouraged him throughout the process, including his Coach Rob Henry. Sometimes, getting into the right class was difficult, but Henry had always ensured that Higgs was on track to graduate and everything was in line.
He said that arranging classes was not his only struggle during his undergraduate years. He had hamstring injuries at the start of his college career, the pandemic, but both paled compared to his mother’s cancer diagnosis.
“That’s probably my biggest setback that I have faced throughout my life. It’s been hard to see that, but it’s like she always tells me, if she has to fight, then I have to keep fighting too, so I’m not going to let her down,” Higgs said.
So seeing his biggest supporters at graduation was the top part of the day.
Since graduating, he has seen an outpour of support from Owensboro as an Owensboro High School 2019 graduate.
“Just being able to get that support, it pushes me, even more, to want to come back and do more for them whenever I get to a certain standpoint,” Higgs said.
The horizon doesn’t end for Higgs there he said. With his bachelor’s degree in business administration, he plans to take the summer off from playing and prepare for his next season.
College athletes affected by the pandemic can opt to play two more seasons to catch up on the years they missed. During this time, Higgs will work to obtain his Master’s in Business Administration while still being a full-time baseball player.
An MBA is in his future, but right now he doesn’t have concrete plans on where to take the degree — one avenue however is upgrading Owensboro’s youth baseball environment.
“With Owensboro not really having a lot of baseball facilities, I can always probably just build my own facility for the kids around the area. Maybe have my own hitting facility or a bigger facility, so it really just depends,” Higgs said.