A Class Act
In 1978 Joe Howe pounded out an exceptional season at Florissant Valley Community College, closing the year out as a First Team NJCAA All-American. He garnered the attention of several college coaches. Bob Guelker of Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville and Harry Keough of Saint Louis University both came courting. Both universities were attractive options. Joe’s brothers had played at SIUE; on the one hand a family tradition, on the other, the most storied tradition in college soccer.
Ultimately, Joe chose SIUE. But Joe told his father, Thomas P. Howe, that it was a very tough decision. Not so much because of SLU’s rich tradition, but because it was hard to say ‘no’ to Harry Keough. He was such a great man.
Some weeks after Joe told the coaches of his decision, Tom Howe ran into Harry Keough. He told Harry how much Joe had hated turning him down. Later, a Soccer America magazine showed up in the mail at the Howe’s. That edition of Soccer America carried an article about Ulster Community College’s Njego Pesa. The article displayed a picture of Pesa and Joe Howe from Ulster’s victory against Flo Valley in the NJCAA final. A note tucked into the magazine next to the picture of Joe said:
No hard feelings. Best of luck!
Tom Howe looked at the note and doled out, what was for him, his highest tribute: “That’s class.”
And that was the way Harry was. He had a seismic impact on St. Louis soccer – only in part because of his accomplishments as a player and a coach. Also, because he was class. He left a deep and lasting impression even on those, like Joe Howe, who never played for him.
For Harry Keough, if you played soccer, you were his friend.
In two weeks, New Dimensions is hosting a memorial tournament for Harry Keough. The Harry Keough Memorial 4v4 Tournament will take place at St. Louis University High School on Saturday, September 1, 2012. Go to New Dimensions to sign up. They’re looking for teams at all ages, but if you don’t play, then go out to tell stories, watch some soccer, remember Harry and support New Dimensions.
New Dimensions Soccer is an outreach program serving the St. Louis community. Tom Michler and Tim Tettambel began New Dimensions in 2005 with 4 teams playing 4 v 4 soccer; it grew to 120 teams the following year, and continues to reach more and more children, attempting to bring “the beautiful game” into the lives of kids unserved by traditional soccer clubs in our area. Many of the kids that participate are refugees from war-torn countries who find escape and healing through soccer. For more, read this great article about the program on STL Today.
New Dimensions celebrates what’s best about soccer – it’s ability to bring us together. One of the former players heavily involved in the program is Joe Howe; he leads free training sessions in the city at New Dimensions’ home field throughout the summer.
Joe learned from a class act: if you play soccer, you’re his friend.