Cole Gilley wants to be a two-sport athlete at the collegiate level, and he’s already on his way to playing at least one of those sports.
The Columbus East sophomore has committed to playing baseball at Indiana University. He also was the backup quarterback and starting punter on the Class 5A state champion football team and is in line to take over the starting signal-caller duties next fall.
“I’ve always wanted to play both in college,” Gilley said. “I’ve always had a passion for both sports. I would be blessed if I got to play both. Not a lot of athletes get to do that.”
Gilley’s talent on the baseball diamond — namely his 88 mph fastball — caught the attention of several baseball programs, including IU. Louisville, Duke, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Tennessee also showed interest this summer.
But Gilley was partial to the Hoosiers.
“I’ve always grown up being an IU fan and being a Hoosier,” Gilley said. “When I got the offer, I wanted to jump all over it. It was a dream come true to play at IU. A couple other colleges were interested, but IU was the one I definitely wanted to be at.”
Gilley, who plays travel baseball for Evoshield Canes Midwest, was impressed that IU coaches stayed for his games this summer, even though a couple didn’t start until around midnight. He said it showed the coaches were there for him.
The Hoosiers actually offered a scholarship in mid-October, and Gilley accepted. But the Olympians were getting ready to open the football postseason, and he didn’t want to announce his decision so he wouldn’t take away from East’s football focus.
“I didn’t want it to be about me going into sectional,” Gilley said. “I wanted it to be about football and the team trying to win a state championship.”
Gilley is the second East underclassman pitcher to commit to the Hoosiers and the third Olympians pitcher to commit to a Division I program. Junior Julian Greenwell is headed to IU, and senior Drew Hasson is going to Northern Illinois.
Meanwhile, two Columbus North underlassman pitchers — junior Parker Maddox and sophomore Casper Clark — also have committed to the Hoosiers.
“(Gilley is) definitely on that level,” East coach Jon Gratz said. “He’s definitely earned that. He had a good freshman year for us and a good summer.”
Now, Gilley wants to add a state baseball championship to the football title he just helped the Olympians win.
Gilley is thinking of majoring in business or kinesiology. That IU has both of those majors, along with Columbus’ proximity to Bloomington, factored into his decision to commit to the Hoosiers.
“The coaches are really good, really energetic, they want you to be the best you can be,” Gilley said. “We’re 45 minutes away, so it’s really nice.”
Name: Cole Gilley
School: Columbus East
Sports: Football, baseball
Baseball stats: Went 1-0 with a 1.34 ERA and had 38 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings as a freshman
College choice: Indiana University