Ken Howe returns to the Keene State College baseball dugout after leading the Owls to a 32-15 (10-4 LEC) record their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the past six seasons.
Closing in on his 500th career victory, Howe enters his 27th season looking to match the talents of a strong core of returning players with a talented recruiting class into a successful team that will battle for the Little East Conference championship and return to post-season play.
Howe, who has an overall career record of 486-454-9 and a 126-84 mark in the LEC, has gone to bat the past few years lead KSC to unprecedented success, including four 30-plus win seasons in the past seven years and the programs’ first LEC championship in 2008.
Under Howe’s direction earned at-large berths to the NCAA tournament in 2012 and 2010. Howe’s quad in 2009 finished near the top of Division III in most offensive categories including #1 in the country in slugging percentage (.588). The Owls also finished second in batting average (.370), 14th in both hits (560) and runs (434) and 17th in homers (51). KSC finished the season 25-16 and made it to the LEC Championship game after bouncing host Southern Maine from the tournament.
In 2008, Keene State baseball had a program best 34-11 record, a first-ever Little East tournament championship and a second straight NCAA tournament appearance. “We worked very hard to get the program to that level, said Howe. “We need to work even harder to keep it there.”
Coaching a team in one of the toughest Division III conferences
in the country is no easy task. But to his credit, Howe, who led
KSC to rankings in national and New England polls, has always seen
to it that Keene State has fielded a highly competitive team, and
this spring will be no different.
Since joining Division III and the Little East Conference in 1998, Keene State has posted six 20-plus-win seasons and four 30-plus victory campaigns, including 2008 when they shattered the school record with 34 victories on the way to capturing its first LEC championship and earning its second straight NCAA tournament berth.
Under his direction, the Owls reached the Conference's postseason tournament on 10 occasions, including four trips to the championship game. Howe, who was selected as the LEC’s coach of the year in 2008, believes the Owls will be in the hunt for the conference crown once again this spring.
Howe's work at Keene State is a local-boy-makes-good story. A
former hard-hitting outfielder for the Keene High Blackbirds, he
played two collegiate seasons at the University of Central Florida.
After a career-ending injury, Howe returned to Keene, where he
received his degree in business management from KSC and began his
coaching career. Howe served as both assistant and head women's
soccer coach at KSC as well as baseball co-coach through the 1989
Energized by a roster that includes several young but talented newcomers, Howe is pleased not only about where the team has been but also about where it's going. Under Coach Howe, there has been an influx of high-quality student athletes who have a positive effect on the growing program.
A certified umpire who runs several camps in the area, Howe also handles game and contest management during the year at KSC. He lives in Keene with his wife, Merri, and sons Branden and Dustin, who joined him on the team this season.