Coach Sharon Howell retires after 38 years at Herkimer College

Herkimer, NY— Head Track Coach, Sharon Howell just finished her 38th year with the men’s and women’s track & field programs, serving 37years as the head coach.

Howell’s women’s team has captured seven Regional titles (1985, 2001, 2002, 2008, 2010, 2016 & 2018), and 15 Mountain Valley Conference Championships (1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1996 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2008). The men were runner-ups in the Region in 2015, 2016 and 2019.

At the National level, the women’s team was runner up in 2001 and National Champions in 2008 and 2010. The women consistently place in the top ten out of a 20+ team field. Coach Howell’s first Individual National Champion was in 1998 in the 10,000m and her last was in 2018 in the high jump.

Howell has had 25 athletes be placed on the NJCAA All-American 1st team and 27 placed on the 2nd team.

Howell was named NJCAA track & Field Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2003, National Coach of the meet in 2008 and 2010, and Regional Coach of the Year in 1985, 2001, 2002, 2008, and 2010.

A graduate of Adirondack Central School, Howell came to Herkimer as a three sport athlete (volleyball, basketball and track). In her senior year, she participated in three National Championships and was named Herkimer’s Female Athlete of the Year. Howell was one of the first women from Herkimer to receive a Division I scholarship.

Howell transferred to the University of Rhode Island where she set records in the high jump, long jump and the 50m dash. Howell is still ranked #3 of the top 10 jumpers at URI. After graduating, Howell continued to high jump and in 1984 was picked to be on Champion Products National Track & Field team. Howell traveled along the east coast and Canada competing at the Penn Relays, Colgate Women’s Games (Canada), Gatorade Classic and Melrose games. Howell’s officially recorded highest jump was 5’ 11 ¼” and at one point, she was listed as one of the top 15 high jumpers in the United States.

“Sharon has been a staple of the Herkimer College athletic program for more than 35 years. Her dedication and commitment to our student athletes has been proven year in and year out with the All-Americans and Regional/National Championship teams she has coached,” said Athletic Director Donald Dutcher. “She was always about the “student first” and “athlete second,” which compliments the academic mission of the college. She held her student athletes to a high standard and that was a major part of her success. We wish her the best in her retirement years and I know the track and field coach’s world will miss not having her knowledge and passion be a part of the organization.”

Coach Howell started her teaching career at Herkimer in 1981 as a lecturer in physical education and the women’s volleyball coach. Throughout her tenure at Herkimer, Howell has coached volleyball (18 years), track & field (37 years), cross country (three years) and swimming (one year). Howell was selected as an Outstanding Young Woman of America for 1984 in recognition of outstanding ability, accomplishments and service to the community. In 2011, Coach Howell was inducted into the Herkimer’s inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame, being one of three athletes inducted. In 2013, Howell received the prestigious SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service. In July 2018, Howell retired from full time teaching and received Emeritus status. She continued as the assistant cross country coach and head coach for track & field for the 2018-2019 seasons.

Howell resides in Ilion with her husband, Bill, of 33 years and has two daughters, Amanda and Sharon E.

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