Stephen Decatur High School has had some of the best boys and girls high school basketball played on the Eastern Shore. Both team’s earned number seeds in the 3A East Region. In our conversation with Athletic Director Don Howard we discuss this season and his long run with the Seahawks program.
Pencek: What has it been like having both the boys and girls basketball teams have the success they have had this season?
Howard: The coaches, the staff, the athletes involved all have worked very hard to get to this point. They’re good athletes, they’re good kids, they’re all minds in motion people. These are a wonderful group of kids who worked hard to get where they are and they deserve where they are. It’s really tremendous to have both the girls and the boys coming on at the same time.
Pencek: You have alluded that you have been here for over three decades. Have you seen a season like this?
Howard: Not at the same time. There have been good years and good runs of years for boys and excellent years for girls but never together. We have had through the boys basketball years, the girls had a nice run in the 1980s. It’s just fantastic to have this. The community has gotten behind these programs.
Pencek: What has been like in the school, particularly the atmosphere the past few months?
Howard: The student population has shown up for the games. They followed us to James M. Bennett (for the girls Bayside Conference Championship Game). Between the boys and girls we played six games in seven nights at the school and we had great support from the students and the community.
Pencek: With all the year’s you have been at Stephen Decatur, is it safe to say that you are an institution at the school?
Howard: Everybody wants to say that I placed the first brick in the high school building but that is not so. I came here in the fall of 1970 as a business education teacher. I coached JV basketball. I coached golf. I have coached softball. I enjoy the kids, I enjoy being around them and being involved with them.
Pencek: Is there any one particular thing or event that stands out during your time here?
Howard: During the 1970s, 80s, and 90s we have had wonderful sports teams. From that point we added lacrosse teams both boys and girls have had great success. Every year it seems like we have at least one team do really well. You name it, we have great kids here.
Pencek: What keeps you going and wanting to do this?
Howard: Kids keeping me young. They keep me moving and keep me on the run. The interest in the kids and promoting their athletic programs.