Steve Howell – Squash

Steve Howell graduated from Serra High School, San Mateo, CA. This is an exceptional Catholic college preparatory school with a focus on academic and athletic excellence. He was a three-year varsity letterman in tennis.

Steve was a direct entry to the Naval Academy. He arrived five days prior to Induction Day and was invited to tennis team tryout with Coach Bayless. The tennis team roster ended up full, however, Coach Bayless referred Steve to the squash team of Coach Potter.

On the advice of Coach Potter, Steve competed on the 4th Battalion squash team at the beginning of academic plebe year. Although Steve had no experience at squash, he won every match resulting in 4th Battalion winning the semester squash championship. The team captain recommended that Steve should request carryon until Army from his squad leader for this achievement. Well, Steve’s squad leader was one of the Class of 1975’s fiercest firsties, the eventual Admiral Kirk Donald, future Commander of the U.S. Navy Nuclear Power Program. Incredibly, Steve was granted carryon which continued until Christmas break due to Navy’s impressive triumph over Army in 1974.

Steve joined the junior varsity squash team for the remainder of plebe year. The team and Steve defeated Army that season beginning Steve’s 4-year winning streak against Army opponents.

Youngster year Steve and two more ’78 classmates (Chet Seto, Class of ’78 NAAA Sports Hall of Fame Inductee, and Randy Kahn) joined a strong Navy team in which all of the upper classmen were firsties. Navy did not win the match against Army this season, however, Steve was victorious over his opponent for a second year. After Army, the team voted overwhelmingly to select Steve for next season’s team captain.

The beginning of Steve’s 2nd class year the team was considered to be in a building year. Steve posted a solid 14-2 record during the season leading to the defeat of a very strong Army team and earning Steve his first N. Consequently, the Bell Ringing ceremony in Tecumseh Court is one of Steve’s truly gratifying memories. Additionally, Steve was voted unanimously by his teammates for the prestigious R.K. Redden Trophy awarded to the midshipman demonstrating the highest qualities of sportsmanship and leadership for the squash team. The vote for team captain for the next season once again was for Steve.

Coach Potter explained that Steve was one of few midshipmen ever to be chosen captain of a varsity team for two years. Coach Potter retired after that triumphant season bringing in Coach Bayless to carry on. Steve was having a phenomenal first-class year until he rolled his ankle late in the season. He was able to continue playing but not at full strength. During spring break, he mysteriously contracted chicken pox further deteriorating his condition just prior to the match against Army. However, Steve persevered to beat his opponent, Navy defeats Army, Steve extends his Army win streak and earns his second N. Thank you, Coach Bayless!!

Once again Steve was the undisputed choice for the R.K Redden Trophy. Navy was ranked 5th nationally both years that he was Captain of the team. Steve achieved the highest levels of excellence in leadership and performance as a 3-year letterman with the Navy squash team.

Steve graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree then reported to NAS Pensacola commencing his aviation career covering 42 years of military and commercial flying.

In Flight School Steve won every performance award from Aviation Indoctrination ground school through Advanced Jets flying TA-4’s in VT-21, Kingsville, TX. He was selected for the Commodore’s List and selected for Captain’s List for outstanding achievement earning his wings of gold in September 1980. He then flew F-4 Phantoms with VF-151 Vigilantes off the USS Midway (CV-41) based in Yokosuka, Japan 1982- 84.

As a flight instructor at VT-21 NAS Kingsville, Tx, Steve was selected as Instructor of the Year and his squadron was also selected as the Training Squadron of the Year. His next transition was to Delta Air Lines flying as a line pilot, instructor pilot, and management pilot operating numerous different aircraft domestic and international from 1986 to 2020.

A cancer survivor since 1989, Steve voluntarily devoted his time and effort to supporting cancer survivors and caregivers at the American Cancer Society for over 25 years. Steve supported fund raising campaigns for the Gwinnet County Relay for Life which grew to become the largest in the world and raised over 20 million dollars over a 15-year period. Additionally, he led the Survivor’s activities resulting in nearly 2000 Survivors on the Survivors Lap. Steve was also a member of the American Cancer Society’s Leadership Team traveling as a keynote speaker to National training events.

Steve Howell is indeed a Class of 1978 Navy Sports Legend, a proven leader to our country and his community