Gordon E. Howell, or Gordie as he prefers to be called, came to Rollins in search of a master's degree in economics. During his years as a student, he helped teach economics and scuba diving. For three years, he worked as a football coach at Winter Park High school, but by 1967 he returned to Rollins as a physical educator.
A native of North Carolina, Howell attended Western Carolina University for his undergraduate degree before joining the Marines, where he rose to the rank of captain. Taking weekend courses at the University of Virginia inspired him to pursue a career in higher education. He was also the first in his family to go to college.
Rejoining the Rollins community, Howell became the director of men's intramurals, a position he held for fifteen years. When President McKean called upon him to assist with the men's soccer program, Howell accepted the challenge, even though he was not familiar with the sport. His 156-62-17 career record as soccer coach is a testament to his talent. During an especially turbulent time for the Athletics Department, Howell took on the role of interim director of athletics. Following the search for a new director, with over one hundred applicants, Howell came out on top as the best candidate for the job. Not only did he coach and teach activity courses, he designed a number of new courses to connect sports to the humanities and other aspects of academics.
Howell has also been inducted into two separate halls of fame: the Rollins College Alumni Sports Hall of Fame (as a soccer coach in 1988) and the Florida Intercollegiate Sunshine State Hall of Fame (as an athletic administrator in 1992). He has particular interest in Olympism and a holistic approach to sports.
Howell, Gordie and Zhang, Wenxian, "Oral History Interview with Dr. Gordie Howell" (2007). Oral Histories. 12.
Howell discusses the soccer team
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Howell discusses the second hearing about lighting Sandspur Field
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Howell discusses a holistic approach to sports
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Howell discusses developing 'Athletics of the Ancient World'
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Howell discusses Fleetwood People's diving Helmet