Home » College baseball: Louisiana Tech duo named Dick Howser Trophy semifinalists

College baseball: Louisiana Tech duo named Dick Howser Trophy semifinalists

by Russell Hedges

By Branford Clay, Louisiana Tech Associate Director Strategic Communications

RUSTON — Louisiana Tech’s Ethan Bates and Cole MConnell were named Dick Howser Trophy semifinalists, the Dick Howser Trophy Committee announced on Thursday. 

The Dick Howser Trophy, presented by The Game Headwear, is given in memory of the former Florida State University All-America shortstop and major league player and manager who died of brain cancer in 1987. The trophy is regarded as baseball’s most prestigious award. Criteria for consideration of the trophy include performance on the field, leadership, moral character, and courage – all qualities that were exemplified by Dick Howser’s life.

This year’s 68 candidates come from 18 different conferences and 48 different schools. The Southeastern Conference leads with 16 semifinalists with the Atlantic Coast having 13, Conference USA with six, Pac-12 with five, Big 12 and West Coast Conference with four apiece, Big West, Conference USA, Southern and Sun Belt with three, the American Athletic, Western Athletic, and Ohio Valley with two and the Atlantic-10, CAA, Southland, and SWAC with one.

Utility player Ethan Bates has 15 home runs with 14 saves this season. The Hot Springs, Arkansas native has 71 hits and 19 doubles with 69 RBI. He also has a 3.86 ERA with 46 strikeouts and 14 walks in 29 appearances on the mound this season. Bates was already named to the 2024 Golden Spikes Watchlist and the 2024 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award. 

Outfielder Cole McConnell is batting .389 this season and has a slugging percentage of .729 with an on-base percentage of .469. The Beaumont, Texas native has 79 hits and 65 RBI with 17 home runs this season. McConnell had a stretch of 25 games where he reached on-base. In the game on March 23 against Jacksonville State, McConnell had three home runs. 

“The Dick Howser Trophy was founded shortly after his death by a few friends of Dick’s in the St. Petersburg Area who played, coached and worked with him,” David Feaster, chairman of the Howser Trophy Committee said. “All knew him and were aware of him as a tremendous player, coach and friend. The award was initially awarded at the Governor’s Baseball Dinner held each spring in St. Petersburg to welcome spring training to Florida, and as time progressed, we moved the presentation to Omaha (in 1992), the center of college baseball, during the World Series. I have been involved with the award for more than 30 years and have loved every minute of my involvement. I have had the opportunity to meet some great college players as well as some great young men. I am so proud of the character quality we have in our award, which makes it unique. I am also proud of our selection process by the NCBWA which is the most democratic of any award and provides a true national scope.

“The Dick Howser Trophy is 37 years old and continues to increase in prominence and the scope of its reach increases exponentially each year,” Feaster added. “It is a true testimony to Dick Howser’s ability as a player, coach and gentlemen. I am proud to be associated with it.”

The winner’s name is inscribed on the permanent trophy – a bronze bust of Howser displayed often at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg – home of the Tampa Bay Rays – an in various national locales. The winner and his school receive a special trophy to keep.

NCBWA voting membership includes writers, broadcasters and publicists. Designed to promote and publicize college baseball, it is the sport’s only college media-related organization, founded in 1962.

The ’24 award will be presented at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, the home of the College World Series, for the 12th year. The winner also will be unveiled on MLB Network on Thursday, June 13, in the 9 a.m. (CDT) highlight show hour. A Friday, June 14, news conference with the winner will be held at 10 a.m., the opening day just prior to the first game of the 77th NCAA College World Series, in the Schwab Stadium Media Room.

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