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Former FSU Quarterback, Kelly Lowrey, Still Passing for Touchdowns for Columbia County

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Former Columbia High and FSU quarterback, Kelly Lowrey, has gone from throwing touchdowns on the gridiron to throwing touchdowns for the folks of Columbia County as Sports Marketing Director for one of the Southeast's finest multi-use sports facilities, Columbia County's Southside Sports Complex. In the past month, Mr. Lowrey has been burning up the scoreboard making deals with two of the premier tournament organizers in the country, Perfect Game USA and the United States Specialty Sports Association, which is known as USSSA Baseball.

Hired late in 2014 by the Columbia County 5 to be the Sports Marketing Director for the County Tourist Development Commission (TDC), Mr. Lowrey has taken some tough licks, but like any first rate quarterback, he is back up on his feet keeping the goal line in sight.

During Wednesday's TDC meeting Mr. Lowrey updated the TDC on the tournament activity at the Sports Complex.

He told the TDC, "Tak Walden has moved over from USSSA Baseball to Perfect Game, which is one of the elite baseball groups in the United States. We're real lucky to have him here."

He continued, "In the spring we've got USSSA Baseball signed. They have nine events – girl's softball and baseball."

FL State Babe Ruth Girl's Fast Pitch Softball Championship
Coming Back to Lake City

Mr. Lowrey announced more good news for the County, "I spoke with Doug Robinson (FL Babe Ruth State Softball Commissioner) this morning. We'll host the Girl's State Softball Championship, which was a great event for us. This event will be in 2017."

The TDC hosted the 2016 championship. That event was a big success.

Mr. Lowrey explained, "The event that we had in 2016, we're in the running for small market event of the year with the sports foundation. There will be a vote for that. We hope we win it. That will be a good feather in our cap, because it was a great event with 85 teams for five days."

The Championship Tournament had an estimated economic impact to Columbia County/Lake City of $2,000,000. (Click here to read email)

Also on Mr. Lowrey's game card was the Jacksonville Storm, a girl's youth tournament/travel softball organization whose goal is, "To give every girl within the organization the very best opportunity to be the best they can be as players and as young ladies."

Mr. Lowrey said, "I was asked about the Jacksonville Storm to see what I could do. We're trying to get the Jacksonville Storm back."

It was agreed at the meeting that Mr. Lowrey and hotel owner Nick Patel would invite Jacksonville Storm representatives to Lake City for a sit-down. Mr. Patel said that he would buy lunch.

Mr. Lowrey also told the group that USSSA men's softball "has inquired about coming to Lake City."

To Kansas and Back: More Good News

Last week Kansas City was host to the Sports Relationship Conference (SRC) in Overland Park, Kansas. The SRC is a national economic development engine for amateur youth sports.

Mr. Lowrey said a few words about his trip: "I went to Overland Park, Kansas, last week. I had a lot of interesting conversations with a number of rights holders. USSSA was there... I was talking with Jerry McDowell, who is the vice president of the USSSA Fast Pitch. I'm talking to him about some USSSA select events, which are the higher level girl's softball tournaments. He sent me an e-mail today. He said, "Let's see if we can get together for an event in Lake City."

Mr. Lowrey concluded his presentation by telling the TDC, "USSSA men's softball has inquired about coming to Lake City."

A Few Words With the Quarterback
"Our Kids Are Very Important to Me"

Your reporter asked, "Kelly, the Sports Complex seems to be on a roll. Can you give me a little insight into that?"

Mr. Lowrey answered, "I'd love to. The County Commission has not been bashful about spending money to improve the facility and it shows. It is looking better all the time and the County ground crews do a great job of keeping everything looking great."

Your reporter: "Other than the ideal location of the facility, only minutes from the interstate, what else attracts folks to bring their tournaments here?"

Mr. Lowrey answered, "All you have to do is drive down U.S. 90. The new eateries and the soon-to-be new shopping plazas will be another draw, as well as the world famous springs that are close by. And of course, the hotels do a first rate job of spreading the word that you get a square shake in Lake City."

Mr. Lowrey in a pensive moment a month after being hired.

Your reporter: "What do you see in the future?"

Mr. Lowrey: "My vision is to make Lake City the southeast tournament destination. We're four hours from Atlanta. We're four hours from Pensacola. We're four hours from South Carolina. We're 5 hours from Miami. We're easy to get to. I'm trying to get some bigger events so our kids can play in these bigger events, too. That's very important to me -- that our kids get to play in them."

Your reporter: "One more thing, you know I have to ask. You've taken some pretty big lumps lately in the local print media and from some in County management. Do you have a comment?"

"Yeah, that's one of those things. I'm a quarterback. You get blitzed – you get back up and keep your focus. This is my dream job. Every day I come to work and do the best job that I can for the people of Columbia County. They are the folks in the stadium; that's what they expect and that's what I try to deliver, every day."

Your reporter: "Thanks for speaking with me."

Photo credit: aerial of ball fields Columbia County, layout and graphics added by the Observer

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Links to articles about Kelly Lowrey and Columbia County:
Mob-Like Settlement Agreement Leaves Former FSU QB Kelly Lowrey's Reputation Mired in Murk
Nov 18, 2016
Former FSU Quarterback, Kelly Lowrey, Still Passing for Touchdowns for Columbia County
Sept 23, 2016
Whistle Blower Act Violations Claimed, Kelly Lowrey, Former Star Quarterback, Sues the Cnty 5
August 24, 2016
  Kelly Lowrey, the Man Who Knows Too Much, Puts County on Notice: "You've defamed me"
August 7, 2016