MURRAY — Murray senior Mary Browder Howell will be continuing her academic and golfing career at Sewanee: The University of the South, a private Episcopal liberal arts college in Sewanee, Tennessee, on Monteagle Mountain between Nashville and Chattanooga.
Howell signed her letter of intent with Sewanee, an NCAA Division III member of the Southern Athletic Association (SAA), during a ceremony on Tuesday. She said choosing which college to attend was a difficult decision for her, especially because of recruiting during the COVID-19 pandemic. But she added that she is “beyond excited” to play golf at Sewanee.
“I am fortunate to be honored as a Wilkins Scholar at Sewanee, and I look forward to the opportunities I will have both in the classroom and on the golf course,” she said. “It feels like home to me already, and I can’t wait to start this next chapter of my life.”
As president of the Murray High School Student Council, Howell presents strong leadership and work ethic in and outside of the classroom. An MHS National Honor Society honoree, Howell is also an inductee in the MHS 30-plus ACT club, recognizing her 30 or above score on the ACT.
MHS Athletic Director Ann Greenfield described Howell as a Webster’s Dictionary definition of student-athlete.
“Her character and demeanor go unmatched,” Greenfield said. “She has persevered through tough times and was still able to excel in the classroom and on the golf course. I have no doubt she will excel at Sewanee.”
MHS Principal Tony Jarvis described Howell as a phenomenal young woman who excels in multiple facets at the school.
“She’s a top golfer, academically driven and a true leader who works very well within any group, including her peers or her teachers,” he said. “We are proud of her accomplishments and college decision as she moves into the next phase of her life. She is a great example of a Murray Tiger student.”
MHS golf coach Denise Whitaker added that Howell is one of the most dedicated, focused student-athletes she has ever known.
“She is a great leader on the golf course, in the classroom and in our community. Mary Browder is going to do great things as a Sewanee college golfer,” Whitaker said. “She has given golf a huge amount of her time and is dedicated to being the best golfer that she can be. She set a great example for all of her teammates by practicing before and after practice and every day even when practice was not scheduled. She also played in many tournaments to improve her match play while working on her game until pitch dark.”
As co-captain of the MHS golf team, Howell is a team leader and enjoys assisting younger golfers with their swing, technique and golf knowledge.
“She is very patient and would use different tools to help the girls line up and see the correct form needed to be successful,” Whitaker said. “Her leadership and coaching helped the other girls on our team improve their skills and overall golf games.”
Whitaker said Howell helped achieve the All “A” Regional title and then head to the All “A” State Tournament.
“She helped the girls feel successful and enjoy playing golf more,” she said.
Howell said she has been playing golf since she could hold a club in her hand and has been a member of the MHS team since seventh grade. She’s appreciative for the guidance she has received along the way.
“I’m especially thankful to my dad for teaching me how to play and believing in me, and to my swing coach, Todd Butts,” she said.
Howell offered a special thanks to the Murray Country Club Ladies Golf Association for providing her competition and encouragement during the long months of COVID isolation. She also thanked her high school coaches and teammates for helping her get to where she is today.
“A special thanks to Amy McDowell and Denise Whitaker, who have both been great coaches during my high school career,” she said. “I am also thankful for my teammates, past and present, for always providing a great atmosphere that made me excited to go to the course. Of course, I also have to give a shout out to my First Region girls for all the good times and support.”