Beloved Mission coach Larry Howell was properly inducted into the RGV Sports Hall of Fame this weekend. The Rio Grande Valley Sports Hall of Fame had their 33rd annual induction ceremony and dinner this Saturday at the Mission Event Center.
Howell was officially part of the 2020 class, but the pandemic postponed his recognition by one year. Other inductees included sports journalist Dr. Greg Selber, coach Paul Alsbury, coach Rolando Garza, coach Paula Dodge, coach Bill Littleton and official Mario Reyna.
Coach Iris Iglesias, president of the RGV Sports Hall of Fame, was also in attendance. She has spent months trying to perfect this night for the hardworking inductees that have received this honor.
“The RGV Sports Hall of Fame, this is our 33rd year of doing inductions and we’ve come a very long way,” Iglesias said. “I’ve been involved since 2012. Presently, I am the board president. This is our 2020 class that’s being inducted since the pandemic happened last year. We postponed it for this year, and we just wanted to make sure we gave every inductee their due diligence and have a special night for them.”
The RGV Sports Hall of Fame started as a non-profit in 1985 to bring recognition to those who’ve represented RGV sports as an athlete, coach, trainer, journalist or other sports-related position.
“He’s really excited,” Iglesias said of Coach Howell. “Since we weren’t able to have a banquet last year, we did go around to everyone and presented them their rings. They get a hall of fame ring and we told them not to forget to bring it with them tonight.”
The RGV Sports Hall of Fame collects, preserves and exhibits memorabilia, collectibles, and statistical data of Rio Grande Valley sports for historical preservation, database collection, and enjoyment.
“It’s a great honor for anyone who’s in sports,” Iglesias said. “I was a board member for the last few years, and our main thing that we have is the induction banquet. It takes us the whole year to plan it and get it all together. So, we work really hard at it the whole year to get it done.”
Not only does the RGV Sports Hall of Fame recognize individuals who have made careers out of their love for sports, but they also award scholarships to student athletes with expenses for higher education. Since 2013, the RGVSHOF has co-sponsored the All-Valley Sports Awards banquet with RGVSports.com to honor high school student-athletes, coaches and sports programs for their achievements during the school year.
“It sure is a great honor,” said coach Larry Howell. On what he thinks has helped award him this achievement, he says ‘I’ve got 39 state championships, that helps.’
Sitting around him in nearby dinner tables are his ex-athletes that he’s coached since they were in high school. Some have made it to England and even the Olympics.
Born in Marion, Ohio, Coach Howell graduated from Purdue University in 1965 and has made a living dedicating himself to teaching and coaching. He coached at Mission for 12 years and coached eight years as a special education teacher for South Texas ISD.
“I started coaching in 1966,” Howell said. “And I’m still coaching, we coach every day at our house. My favorite sport to coach is track and field. I’m currently working on my 40th state championship. I owe my success to my hard work. I just have a passion for it.”
His wife Kathryn Howell has also been recognized in the RGV Sports Hall of Fame since 2010.
“I’ve been working on my speech, I’ll probably get really emotional,” Howell said. “My wife and I got the same hall of fame ring which is great. We’re the only husband and wife that have been inducted into it.”
Including this induction, there are now 273 men and women that have been awarded this prestigious honor.
“I think in the Valley, we’ve got some great sports legends here,” Iglesias said. “The Hall of Fame was established in 1985, so it has grown. From a barbecue type of thing to what we have today. It’s something nice for them.”