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You can call Shelby County girls’ basketball coach Mike Sowers many things.
And maybe even “Michael.”
But as of today there is something else he can be called, “Dad.”
“My wife [April] and I have been blessed with the opportunity to adopt a newborn baby girl,” Sowers said earlier this week via E-mail.
Although I couldn’t see Sowers’ reaction when he typed that sentence, from what I’ve heard he’s extremely excited.
“Sometimes when he talks about it, he almost tears up, and he’ll smile big and blush,” Shelby County senior forward Kirstin Dugle said.
As any parent – including myself, a father of one with a second one due any day now – can attest there’s no better day (or days, depending how many children you have) in your life than when you become a mom or a dad. So those of us who have been lucky enough to become a parent can understand Sowers’ emotions. You also can’t help but feel happy for him, too.
I’ve gotten to know Mike a little bit over the last couple of years of covering his teams, and I’ve got to say that it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
I’ll likely never forget seeing Sowers, tears in eyes, emerge from the Rockets’ locker room after Shelby County beat Collins for the first time, back on Dec. 14. The tears, he said, were for the players – particularly seniors Dugle and Lynsey Nichols – who stuck with the program after the school split in 2010.
“We always talk about how we’re a family, and he loves us like we're his very own daughters,” Dugle said.
For their part, Sowers’s surrogate daughters can’t wait to meet his new daughter.
“We all will probably be blowing up his phone [today],” Dugle said. “We want him to send us pictures as soon as possible.”
And you can bet that they’ll put their best blocking out skills to use when Sowers brings his new daughter around for the first time.
“The seniors have already called it. We get to hold her first,” Dugle said.
With the new addition to his family, though, Sowers is taking a brief leave of absence from his teaching and coaching duties at Shelby County. So, you won’t see him at school, or on the sidelines, for the next week or two. In the meantime the Rockets will carry on, in the capable hands of his assistant coach, Kevin Radford, and with their thoughts with Sowers, his wife and their new daughter.
“He’ll be a really good dad,” Dugle said with a smile Wednesday afternoon. “He’s already told us what she’s going to do, and how she’s going to act.…She will play basketball.”
So today let us all congratulate Mike Sowers on becoming a father and the addition to his family, as well as the new addition to the Shelby County girls’ basketball family.