Running it Back To Inspire the Next Generation

May 8, 2023

Howell reconnects with G.W. Carver Middle School’s physical education teacher, Mrs. Daniels, who was a figure of inspiration during his childhood. (Courtesy of Gregory “Buddy” Howell)

After experiencing the ups and downs of his professional and personal career, Howell currently takes pride in inspiring younger generations of his alma mater and home community. Through frequent training sessions with Gables’ football team, he instills the values of hard work and dedication in the growing team. Additionally, Howell made it a point to go back to his middle school, G. W. Carver Middle School, where he tells his story and reconnects with the same teachers that fostered his academic success as a child.

“Buddy helped coach a lot of our practices after school during spring football conditioning, and he set up a lot of ways for us to connect as a team. He showed us ways to get better at what we do, kept motivating us to keep going and also tried participating in some of the workouts we did,” freshman Joshua Markowitz said.

After Howell celebrated his birthday on March 27 in Coconut Grove, he has made it a point to go back every year on said day to his community. Using his fame for the better, Howell shares his experiences to make a difference in the lives of children in Coconut Grove, inspiring the next generation of leaders and athletes.

“This is my home, so coming out here makes me feel like a kid all over again. As I continue to grow, I see the bigger picture and it is the youth and those who are going through the process I went through. I want to give them free game and give them that confidence to just do their best and trust in the process,” alum Howell said. 

During the 2023 With Love Spring Camp, Howell instructs young athletes of all ages from around Florida, teaching them drills and lessons to help them grow. (Courtesy of Coconut Grove Cowboys)

On May 6, Howell hosted the Coconut Grove With Love spring camp, partnering with the Coconut Grove Cowboys and Gables’ football team to provide young athletes from the community with hands-on football experience. Esther Mae Armbrister Park was full of athletes of all ages and backgrounds, running technical drills and conditioning while being guided by Howell himself. 

“I think it is a good opportunity to have the kids play football and have the motivation from [Howell] to let them know that they can do it as well. It is good to know that the color of their skin does not mean that they cannot follow in his footsteps and be as successful as him,” mother of two campers Charnasha Williams said.

Starting at 10 a.m., Howell began the camp with an encouraging speech to the young athletes, later splitting them into age groups and sending them to individual stations. Gables’ football players helped manage the stations while practicing running and catching drills along with footwork training. Howell incorporated cardio and one on one plays among the athletes, ending the practice with a race by age groups. Howell concluded the camp with a final talk, followed by a practice from the football team in front of the younger athletes.

Side by side with some of Gables’ football players, Howell poses for a final picture after a day of excitement and enrichment. (Courtesy of Gregory “Buddy” Howell)

With the pressure of playing football, from being a rookie to a Super Bowl winner, Howell has learned the factors in life that led to both his personal and professional success. Thanks to his teams, he discovered that the most valuable lesson in life was to be a good person to others. It was equally important to make others’ lives better with their presence, by providing support and thus promoting happiness. As advice to younger generations, he stressed the significance of uplifting others to ultimately reach personal success.

“I want everybody to be influential, but in a positive way. Uplift each other and do what you can to help those around you. You have to be selfless, and open to help another person out. If that message spreads, you are only going to keep yourself up,” alum Howell said.

Howell’s efforts have shown that success is not only reflected through personal achievements, but through giving back and creating opportunities. From here, Howell intends on continuing the tradition of hosting football camps for aspiring young athletes. With plans of expanding from the Grove to Kendall and the Liberty City area, he wants to take advantage of his platform and knowledge to give back to communities that believed in him from the very start.

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About the Contributor
Photo of Marina Astorga
Marina Astorga, CavsConnect News Editor

As a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program, Marina Astorga is excited to come back to CavsConnect for her second year in the publication....

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