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Brookwood's Cotter excels as three-sport athlete

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Brookwood's Colin Cotter a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and baseball and was recognized as the Gwinnett County Public Schools' Outstanding Senior Athlete. He will be continuing to play basketball at South Georgia State College next school year.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Brookwood's Colin Cotter a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and baseball and was recognized as the Gwinnett County Public Schools' Outstanding Senior Athlete. He will be continuing to play basketball at South Georgia State College next school year.

The day after Brookwood was knocked out of the baseball state playoffs, Colin Cotter didn't know what to do with himself.

He didn't have to hurry to practice for another sport. For the first time in his high school career, the three-sport athlete was done.

"It was extremely weird. The next day after the last baseball game, it was a weird feeling," said Cotter, who graduated last week from Brookwood. "I've always been doing something up at the school. I always wondered what it was like."

It didn't take long for Cotter to find a way to keep himself busy for the rest of the school year. He got some time to hang out with his friends like any other kid after school.

It was a nice relief after spending most of the last four years juggling football, basketball and baseball, a rare varsity combination in an age of specialization in one or two sports. Cotter's athletic diversity was recognized at the Gwinnett County Public Schools' Outstanding Senior Athlete Banquet as the Broncos' top senior athlete.

"I think he's so well rounded," Brookwood basketball coach Daniel Bowles said. "In a school as big as ours, to play three sports and start in all three is a big deal."

Brookwood is one of the state's largest schools with more than 3,500 students, so to make the team in one sport, much less three, is an accomplishment.

"I really don't know (how he juggled them)," Bowles said. "It's a tough thing."

Cotter tried to spend his summers splitting equal time between all three sports. Football eventually got the bulk of the time toward the end of the summer.

"I played three sports for almost four years. I've been around Brookwood my whole life I think," Cotter said. "A lot of the people know me. I've been up here every summer."

Cotter played receiver and defensive back in football, making six catches for 167 yards and one touchdown on offense and 26 tackles with two interceptions on defense as a senior.

His biggest play came in the state playoffs. Cotter had an interception in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal in Brookwood's 24-21 upset over No. 1-ranked Lassiter in the first round.

"It was probably my favorite game out of every sport," Cotter said.

When football was over, Cotter went straight to basketball practice. With Brookwood's typically deep playoff runs in football, it meant Cotter missed the few weeks of practice.

It usually didn't take long for him to fit right in with the team, though. He was voted team captain and was the Broncos' starting point guard, averaging 5.5 points, 2 assist and 1.9 rebounds last season. He led Brookwood to a 16-10 record and the Deep South Classic title.

"That was pretty special because we struggled in that tournament the last few years," Cotter said.

Cotter thought about giving up one or two sports to focus on the others and he eventually did by not playing baseball his junior year.

"By the time they get to their junior or senior year, they've dropped one or two sports," Bowles said. "I'm not sure what he would do when he didn't have anything after school. He's a kid that likes to be involved. He's a heck of an athlete and it takes a special kid."

Cotter joined the baseball team for his senior year, hitting .257 with 16 RBIs.

"I've been playing sports my whole life. I love all of them so much," Cotter said. "I would lean towards not playing one of them and then remember how much I love it."

Cotter said he wouldn't have been able to play three sports for as many years without the support of his parents Phil and Lori Cotter, who were involved with each's sport's booster club.

"I tried to put in as much time as I could in the gym and on the field," Cotter said.

After a few days of spending time with friends, Cotter was back to practice where he felt at home. It wasn't mandatory, but Cotter was in the basketball gym, working on his shot. He spent so many years trying to juggle sports, now he has just one to think about this year after signing with the South Georgia State College basketball program.

"I'm really excited to put all my time in that sport and not worry about anything else," Cotter said. "It's 100 percent basketball this summer."