As soon as Mr. Bob Howe, Deerfield’s new Athletic Director, set foot on campus, he began to implement changes in the Deerfield athletic program. With support from former Athletic Director, Mr. Chip Davis, Mr. Howe has smoothly transitioned into Deerfield.
One area that he is currently addressing is purchasing “greens and greys” (green practice shorts and grey practice shirts) that are specifically designed for female use. During his interview process at Deerfield, Mr. Howe heard some discontent from coaches of female sports and decided that if he were to be hired that was an aspect of the program that he would need to address right away.
Players like varsity volleyball captain Annie Roberts ’17 have noticed the improvements and extra energy focused into female athletics this year.
“Mr. Howe knows about us and puts time into us,” Roberts ’17 commented. “For example, before every game, he comes to say good luck to me and the team and always knows exactly which schools we are playing.” Roberts also added, “Girls teams really appreciate the addition of greens and greys because it genuinely feels like Mr. Howe cares about every team on campus.”
Mr. Howe has also worked to address the process of purchasing team apparel. In the past, teams have purchased very expensive merchandise, sometimes making it difficult for everyone to participate in an order.
“Captains need to be mindful in deciding what apparel to purchase and if it is necessary,” Mr. Howe added. This does not mean that this is the end to purchasing apparel; Mr. Howe would just like everyone to be sensitive to members of the team who cannot or do not want to purchase apparel.
Roberts explained, “If you are trying to unify a team, getting $200 apparel is not the answer.” Varsity volleyball this year has made a compromise with the athletic office to have warm-up apparel become a part of the team uniform, and it can be purchased by the athletic department.
When Mr. Howe arrived at Deerfield from his position as Athletic Director at Loomis Chaffee, he sensed a unique, “excitement and desire to better athletics” from the school as a whole that provides “a greater potential to bring Deerfield’s program further along.” While he has already made changes such as providing coach buses for away game trips longer than one and half hours for all teams, Mr. Howe still believes that there is room for improvement within the athletic program.
“We have really good coaches, and I am excited to work with and help them to be able to coach more and worry less,” Mr. Howe said. By working on sportsmanship, gender equity, success in Deerfield’s league, and increasing pride in athletes at all levels, Mr. Howe believes that Deerfield can both reinvigorate and further a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in the Academy’s athletic programs.