By Wes Johnson
NICEVILLE, Fla. – For most, college is an opportunity to discover what type of person they are and who they want to become. That experience was no different for Northwest Florida infielder Nic Nolan.
Nolan signed with Florida Gulf Coast out of Niceville High School and was excited by the prospect of playing for a Division I school, the pinnacle for most prep athletes. After one season and appearing in just seven games, it was clear to Nolan that he needed to rediscover himself, both as a baseball player and a person.
"I didn't play as much as I would have liked," the 6-foot second baseman said. "I broke my hand near the end of that year. I was kind of lost. I didn't know what I was going to do."
After a few weeks of contemplation, he knew that a change was needed in order to help him develop as an athlete.
"I knew that coming to Northwest Florida was going to be the best thing for me," Nolan said. "I needed to get my feet under me again and really find myself as a player. I really needed the playing time and the at bats to develop and get better."
It seems that decision has paid off. Nolan batted .296 in 22 games of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season for Northwest Florida. He drove in 11 runs and stole five bases en route to catching the eye of several DI coaches, including Troy University.
"I knew that's where I wanted to go," Nolan said. "There are a lot of ties to Niceville and lot of familiar faces there. It's going to be a great opportunity for me to go there and compete for a job."
Nolan will follow in the footsteps of several Niceville High School products that have made their way to Troy, most recently Drew Frederic, who was a senior this season and an All-Sun Belt performer in 2019.
Northwest Florida products and Niceville natives Robert Price and Danny Collins also played for the Trojans in recent years.
Throughout his journey, one thing has remained consistent about Nic Nolan … his work ethic never wavered.
"Early on in high school I had to figure that out," Nolan said. "Up until that point baseball came naturally. I had some friend and teammates start to commit early and I wasn't there yet. That's when the switch flipped for me and I realized that I needed to be doing more to get where I wanted to go."
The switch certainly flipped for Nolan and he's headed back to where he wants to be … Division I.
For more information on Northwest Florida athletics, visit NWFRaiders.com or follow us on Twitter at @NWF_Raiders.