Super baseball bros: Cole and Tate Gambill are balling for BYU
It isn’t uncommon to hear team members’ names over the PA system during lineup announcements at BYU sporting events. It is more unusual to hear similar names announced. The Cougars have a long-standing history of family ties in athletics, and the Gambill brothers have emerged as the latest sibling duo on the baseball diamond.
Cole and Tate Gambill have been standout players for BYU baseball this season. The brothers have combined for more than 25% of the team’s runs, 13% of its hits and a collective on base percentage over .400. While both have been ruthless at the plate, their individual journeys to BYU involved patience, learning and dedication to their craft.
Cole and Tate, natives of Alpine, Utah, never had the chance to play together at Lone Peak High School due to their age difference. Their younger brother, Trey, is currently playing baseball at Salt Lake Community College. Another brother, Kade, is currently serving a mission in Mexico for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but plans on joining Trey in Salt Lake to play baseball upon his return.
The four Gambills were always involved in sports growing up. With their mother, Cynthia, originally from Argentina, soccer was one of the first sports they participated in. However, a different religion of sport took root in the boys’ hearts.
“Baseball was always the constant,” Cynthia said. “They would take on one sport, and try another one, and go back to one, but baseball was always the constant. A lot of it is because of their dad, and his love and understanding of the game, made them all really be students of the game.”
Tyler Gambill was a key influence not only on the boys’ baseball IQ but also by training their determined spirits. Trey, before really focusing on baseball, was hoping to succeed in basketball. Worried about his shooting game, Tyler and Trey would wake up early and head over to a local church building to shoot hoops to help advance his game and allow him to gain confidence in himself.
“We’re not here without them,” Trey said of the Gambill parents. “We don’t have a shot if they’re not here. My mom and dad have always given me the shot to do what I wanted to do.”
Tyler and Cynthia can often be found at Miller Park in Provo to catch Cole and Tate play, with Cynthia known to be one of the loudest fans when her sons’ names are called or when they are up to bat.
Cole, an outfielder, had an arduous path to being a Cougar, one that began with questions about his own potential. Cole had grown up, as most young athletes, dreaming of playing in college and in the professional ranks. Playing collegiately “was something I always wanted to do, but it wasn’t always something I knew I could do.”
“With Cole, we didn’t really know the ins and outs on to get into that (collegiate) world,” Cynthia said.
Tyler was one who didn’t raise his sons with this expectation for them to play in college. He rather saw it as an opportunity for them to have fun in high school.
“I would say as they were growing up, I was just hoping they would just not get cut from the high school baseball team,” Tyler said. “They weren’t really the best players on their own team, or the best players in their own league, or best in the state.”
Lightly recruited out of high school, Cole was able to find an open door at SLCC, where he played for two years before transferring to BYU. Despite having to take a longer route to arrive at a Division-I program, Cole never let this be something he felt he had to fight against.
“I would never consider myself to be a player who has a chip on my shoulder and I always play in a certain way that people think that about me,” Cole said. “I think for me, it was just about being grateful for every opportunity I got, rather than thinking, ‘oh, I deserve more.'”
Tate, Cole’s outfield mate, had a similar path to BYU. Also not being recruited out of high school, Tate took finding a home to play ball into his own hands.
“I thought I was done after playing high school, but then I heard about Cole and Trey just dominating,” Tate said. “I don’t know if it was just jealousy or my competitive nature that made me want to play.”
After making contact with coach Nick Aiello up at the College of Southern Idaho, Tate had his foot in the door, and he came swinging. In his two years starting for the Golden Eagles, Tate made the SWAC Second Team All-Conference in 2021 followed by an even more stellar campaign in 2022. He led the team in batting average (.376), hits (68), runs (68), walks (67) and on base percentage (.557) to be named the SWAC Player of the Year.
Tate’s performance for Southern Idaho granted him the chance to transfer to BYU last offseason, and he’s showed no signs of slowing down. Nor has he forgotten the blessing that was going to Southern Idaho.
“My time at CSI taught me to have a belief in myself,” Tate said. “Coach Nick was one of the best dudes I’ve met in my life. He helped instill a belief in myself. He really taught be to be a menace at bat and get on base.”
Playing at BYU together has meant a great deal to Cole and Tate, as well as their parents.
“It’s been a dream come true, really,” Tate said. “It was something I always wanted to do in high school. I was so small, there was no way I was gonna get on the same field as Cole.”
“I would have never guessed that, some of the time that we get to play together are in some of the biggest and most important games of our lives,” Cole said. “Being able to play together here at BYU has been amazing. It’s been so much fun, we get to work together every single day.”
“I can only explain it, talking about it, seeing them play, I cry,” Cynthia said. “These kids are very close in age. Baseball is the sport that brought us all together, brought them together as brothers and siblings, but it brought us together as a family… raising four boys in organized sports, particularly baseball, has been a rewarding experience as a parent. I will never complain about the years of playing at times up to 30 games a week with double headers and tournaments. These are good years.”
There is no doubt about the impact that baseball has had upon the Gambills, and Cougar nation can certainly see the impact the Gambills make at BYU.