Jamie Howell never imagined he would be a Hall of Fame coach 17 years ago when he took over as the men's golf coach at then-Brevard Community College.
Yet there he was at the national championship banquet before the NJCAA national tournament being inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame.
"I still haven't wrapped my arms around that yet, to have your peers vote and choose me to go into the Hall of Fame, that in itself blows my mind because those are my fellow coaches saying this," Howell said. "Just to be standing there with the group, you are with the right group of people. These are the best of the best according to your peers and at the same time, I don't believe any one of us got into this to make the hall of fame. I know it never crossed my mind. I remember saying really? To a man, every one of them would say, not me. There is a humble side to this that is sincere and honest."
Howell's Eastern Florida State College teams have won eight district titles in 17 years and have gone to the NJCAA National Championship Tournament 17 straight seasons. Overall, the program has had 26 All-Americans and Kerry Sweeney won an individual national championship in 2016.
"I don't mean this in a crass way, but I am just not ready to be in the Hall of Fame, I feel like I still have a lot of work to do in this career," Howell said. "I haven't brought a national title to the school – that bothers me. I don't want it just for me, I want that for the school and the guys that would bring it. Coach (Floyd) Horgen won seven of them (at BCC) and I just look at that and say man, does he realize what he did?"
Under Howell, the program has finished in the top five in the nation eight times, tying for second in 2015. Howell has been named the Dave Williams National Coach of the Year in 2015 and was a finalist for the award in 2016. He has been the District Coach of the Year eight times in his career (2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019).
Quite an accomplishment for a coach who wasn't sure this was the path he would take after he stopped playing golf competitively in 1992.
After teaching golf for a year and a half, Howell joined the golf program as an assistant. He helped for eight seasons under head coach Beau Baugh and when Baugh decided to retire, Howell was asked if he was interested in becoming the next head coach.
"I said yes, I would relish the opportunity. I thought I had learned enough over those years that I could help. But I was as green as green could be those first couple of years, but it is probably the best move I have ever made," Howell said.
The walls around the Fred Gay Driving Range offices are filled with achievements and honors, reflecting the decision to become a head coach was the right one for everyone involved.
And now, he is in the NJCAA Hall of Fame.
"It's an honor, simple as that," Howell said. "To stand next to those guys already in the Hall humbles me to no end."