Alumni Profile-Charlie Howe ’07
by Will Bates, CSL graduate student
The statement above may seem like a somewhat odd, simplistic saying for those reading it. For Charlie Howe, Championship Manager for the 2016 U.S. Open Golf Championship, it’s a simple motto that drives him in his day-to-day experiences. To this Center for Sport Leadership graduate, the next win means, “what’s next?” He stresses that, while the sports industry is exciting in so many different ways, it’s also changing at a rapid pace, creating new challenges and opportunities that we must accept in order to keep up.
Prior to entering the CSL, Charlie completed his undergraduate studies at Virginia Tech where he studied exercise science. He was a 2-year captain of the men’s soccer team at VT, where he led the team to an NCAA tournament thriller win versus Clemson University, with VT advancing to the next round in penalty kicks.
After graduating from VT, an opportunity arose to play for the Richmond Kickers professional soccer team, while at the same continuing his education in the CSL program. As if balancing soccer and graduate studies wasn’t enough, Charlie had an internship at the Martin Agency, where he worked for the MVP Group (a branch of the Martin Agency focusing on sports marketing). He recalls that year and tells me while chuckling, “It was 100% focus on school, work, and soccer… I didn’t have friends that year.”
Charlie earned his master’s degree from the CSL in December 2007. He immediately faced difficult decision: would he try and prolong his professional soccer career or accept an offer from the United States Golf Association (USGA) as an intern for the US Open Golf Tournament in San Diego? For him, it was a difficult decision. He recalls, “It felt like I was giving up on my dream of playing soccer, but ultimately, I realized that while I was giving one thing up, I was starting a new dream.” Charlie chose to accept an internship with the USGA and move out to San Diego to help prepare for the US Open.
Charlie worked long days and suffered some sleepless nights but his mentality of giving 100% and offering his help at any chance possible paid off when he was offered a full-time position with the USGA. Over the past seven years with the organization, Charlie has lived and worked in San Diego, New York City, Washington DC, and Philadelphia. Charlie is now based in Pittsburgh, home to Oakmont Country Club, the site of the 2016 US Open. While it may not have been his original dream, Charlie stresses the importance of keeping an open mind when it comes to new opportunities. “I thought soccer was it for me but then, out of nowhere an opportunity arises with the USGA…with golf! I would’ve never thought I’d be working in golf, and here I am, I love what I do.”
Reflecting on his CSL experience, Charlie expressed how beneficial the “hands-on” experience was for him. “I came in as a leader of a soccer team, but I left being able to speak on any number of subjects and that helped throughout the interview process and many other places as well.” He believes the opportunities provided by the CSL were crucial to his success, as were the relationships with his classmates and colleagues. Students coming from all different types of backgrounds ensured that everyday was a learning experience, not only from the professors, but from the classmates surrounding him as well.
Seven years removed, Charlie still talks about the support group the CSL program provides. “People are always looking out for each other and trying to help in whatever way they can. Luck favors the prepared.”
An internship that started as an unexpected opportunity for Charlie has given him the opportunity to travel, live in new places, meet amazing people, and offer him new challenges that he strives to conquer on a daily basis. In short, instead of looking back and asking why this happened or why that wasn’t me, he tells me “ask what’s next? Where do you go from here?”
The next win.
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