UM business grad changes plans when life throws a curve ball

A baseball on a field. Photo illustration.
A baseball on a field. Photo illustration.

Hannah Moore
Oxford Stories

Sometimes, life throws us a curve ball.

Colson Kostelnik refused to let a sports injury keep him from attending the University of Mississippi.

Kostelnik, a native of Sugar Land, Texas, located 20 minutes outside of Houston, graduated from George Ranch High School in 2017 and attended Cisco Junior College his freshman year on a baseball scholarship.

He always dreamed of playing baseball for Ole Miss, so he attended junior college hoping to be noticed and recruited as a member of the Ole Miss Baseball Team. 

“Baseball has been a part of most of my life,” he said. “I have and always will love the sport. I have always wanted to play for Ole Miss, so I figured going the junior college route could help me get there.”

Kostelnik knew he wanted to attend Ole Miss as a kid because his father, who he admired, did. He couldn’t wait to become a part of the culture. 

“I have been hearing how great of a school Ole Miss is from the time I could walk,” Kostelnik said. “Some of my favorite childhood memories are watching football games with my dad. I am a huge fan of sports, and I still now look forward to game days.”

After suffering a career ending injury at Cisco Junior College, Kostelnik put his childhood dreams of playing baseball for Ole Miss on hold. He tore his ulnar collateral ligament, or UCL in his left elbow, and rather than getting surgery, he decided to pursue other ventures.

The surgery he would have needed is commonly known as “Tommy John.” This is an invasive procedure, and there is a 50/50 chance of continuing to play baseball after the surgery.

Kostelnik saw things from a new perspective and made the best of his situation. So, he transferred to the University of Mississippi for his sophomore year of college and finished his education as an Ole Miss student. 

“I was really upset when I found out I had to quit playing baseball,” he said. “The one thing that kept me going was knowing I could still go to Ole Miss. Even though I could not play for them, I was still looking forward to becoming a student and seeing where life decided to take me.”

Colson Kostelnik attends an Ole Miss football game. Photo by Hannah Moore.
Colson Kostelnik attends an Ole Miss football game. Photo by Hannah Moore.

After enrolling at UM, Kostelnik quickly became involved with campus and Greek life. He pledged the same fraternity his father was in and acclimated well.  Ole Miss is located 10 hours north of his home, so making new friends and meeting new people was very important to him. 

“I met some of my best friends here and through Greek life,” he said. “If I could go back, I would not change anything.”

Kostelnik majored in business finance and focused heavily on academics. He found a balance between his social life and studies. He graduated from the University of Mississippi with a 3.5 GPA and was hired for a company in the Dallas Fort Worth area. 

“The business department at Ole Miss definitely prepared me for the job I have now,” he said. “I also think being an alum from this school helped me land this position as well. People from all over graduated from Ole Miss, and every alum is very helpful.”

Kostelnik moved to Dallas in late January and began working as an account executive.

The company he works for is called REVELxp, a premium hospitality and tailgating company. REVELxp works with large cooperations and acquires everything they need for a tailgate. The company sets everything up, and all customers have to do is show up and enjoy the game.

Kostelnik’s job as the account executive is to form relationships and sell tailgating packages to large companies. He talks and meets new people all day, building steady relationships. 

“I love working for this company,” he said. “I have always been a huge sports fan, and I think this is a huge reason why I chose to apply for this job in the first place. I wanted to work for a company that was in some form or way involved with sports, so I am really happy to be here. Also, I am only a drive away from my family which is nice as well.”

Kostelnik, now 22, has landed a job he is happy with and has had experiences he will forever cherish. 

“I am so grateful for my experience at Ole Miss,” he said. “My favorite memories are going to football games and being in the Grove. I also love the job I am doing now, and I am looking forwards to seeing what comes next.”

Kostelnik’s former teammate and childhood friend, Kyle Boudreaux, has always supported him. Boudreaux plays baseball at Nicholls State University in Louisiana. They grew up within walking distance of each other and connected through their mutual love of baseball. 

“He has always been a great guy,” said Boudreaux, “and I am proud of what he’s done for himself. I don’t know if I would’ve been able to handle his situation of becoming injured as well as he did. One of my favorite memories is the two of us playing baseball together.”

Kostelnik is now focused on building a career and is grateful for the experiences Ole Miss has given him. 

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