Oglethorpe head men’s and women’s tennis coach Peter Howell will retire from his position, marking the end of a successful 18-year coaching career at the university.
A member of the Oglethorpe Athletics Hall of Fame, Howell has also been enshrined in the United States Professional Tennis Association’s Southern Division Hall of Fame, the Georgia Tennis Hall of Fame, and the Georgia Professional Tennis Association Hall of Fame. He received a lifetime achievement award from the Georgia chapter of the United States Tennis Association, as well as countless other honors over the course of his tennis career.
A long-time player and instructor in the Atlanta area, Howell took over as head coach in 2003-04. From there, he compiled 196 wins on the men’s side and 142 on the women’s side. Across both men’s and women’s tennis, his teams have accumulated a 338-293 mark, winning 53.6 percent of their matches. He accumulated a .618 winning percentage on the men’s side alone.
“I want to thank all my current and former players,” said Howell. “Without them, these 18 years would not have been the same. I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished during my time here, and it wouldn’t have been possible without them. My goal was always to instill self-confidence in them, and to remind them to have fun on the court.”
“I’m looking forward to moving onto the next chapter of my life, but I’ll always be a Stormy Petrel!” Howell concluded.
The Stormy Petrel tennis coach instructed 62 all-conference players in his time at Oglethorpe and led the men’s team to a share of the SAA regular season title in 2016. He garnered SAA Men’s Tennis Coach of the Year honors for his work in 2013, when he led the Petrels to a second-place finish in the conference and a 19-5 overall record.
Howell led the 2016 men’s team to a high-water mark of 38th in the Division III coaches’ poll and has consistently placed both his men’s and women’s teams in the Atlantic South regional rankings. Eleven of his 16 men’s teams have been regionally ranked, including the last seven consecutively. His last four women’s teams have earned regional rankings.
This season, his men’s team sits at No. 10 in the Atlantic South, while the women’s team comes in at No. 17. Sophomore Walker Benson, named a member of the All-SAA first team Monday, ranks as the No. 17 men’s singles player in the Atlantic South, while junior Hannah Dattilo, an All-SAA second-team honoree, ranks 22nd.
Individually, Howell coached C.J. Antonio to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances in 2015 and 2016, as well as the 2016 SAA Men’s Tennis Player of the Year award and the school’s only tennis All-America honor that season.
Antonio earned All-SAA first-team honors four times under Howell, a feat matched by women’s standout Caroline Johnson. Those are among 10 All-SAA first-team honors Howell’s players have earned during his time coaching the Petrels.
“I would like to think Coach Howell for his dedicated service over the past 18 years,” said Oglethorpe Director of Athletics Todd Brooks. “He is the consummate professional who was much more than just a coach, proving to be a mentor and friend as well, to those student-athletes associated with our tennis program over the years. Peter will definitely be missed. I wish him the very best in his well-deserved retirement.”
Howell looks forward to traveling the world with his wife, Barbara, and enjoying his soon-to-be eight grandchildren.
Brooks will immediately commence a national search to look for Howell’s replacement.