Howell Public Schools will recognize and honor long-time coach and teacher John Dukes by naming the new athletic field at Howell High School’s Memorial Stadium John Dukes Field. A dedication ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, prior to the Howell Highlander’s home opener.
Dukes is a life-long Howell resident. As a student at Howell High School, he was a three-sport athlete. Upon graduating from college, Dukes returned to Howell where he spent his entire 35-year career as a teacher in the physical education and science departments. In addition to teaching, he spent 25 years as the Howell High School Varsity Football coach amassing an impressive 161 team wins. Over his career, Dukes also coached baseball, wrestling, and middle school basketball. Dukes remains active in the Howell community working at multiple sporting events and as a volunteer coach in the football program.
“John Dukes is truly a Highlander for Life. As a lifelong Howell resident, Mr. Dukes bleeds Green and Gold. Over the course of his career, he has had a positive impact on thousands of students,” said Erin MacGregor, Howell Public Schools superintendent. “While he is now retired, he continues to mentor and encourage students as a volunteer within the athletic department.”
“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor than Coach Dukes. For more than 35 years, he helped Howell students grow and learn both on and off the field,” said Aaron Metz, Howell High School teacher and head football coach.
Over the course of his career, Dukes has earned several honors. The Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) honored him as an All-Star Coach, a Regional Coach of the Year and by inducting him into the MHSFCA Hall of Fame. He has also been inducted into the Howell High School Athletic Hall of Fame, the Alma College Hall of Fame and was a nominee for the Michigan High School Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame.
“It was a privilege and an honor to have played for Coach Dukes” said Brent Earl, vice president of the Howell Public Schools Board of Education and HHS grad who played for Dukes 1982-1984. “The lessons I learned from him guide me in my life today. The naming of the field after John Dukes could not have gone to a more deserving man.”
“John Dukes is a very accomplished coach with an impressive record. When you bring up his name, people instantly share about his integrity, character, and commitment to Howell Public Schools,” said John Young, Howell Public Schools athletic director. “Naming the playing field John Dukes Field seems like a fitting way for us to honor Coach Dukes for all he has done for Howell Public Schools and Howell High School.”
The Howell Public Schools Board of Education approved naming the field in Dukes’ honor at its June 11 meeting. According to district policy, “From time-to-time, the Board of Education may wish to commemorate a school or District facility (gymnasium, swimming pool, athletic field, etc.) by means of a plaque, naming the facility after a person, or some other honor. Such commemoration should be reserved only for those individuals who have made a significant contribution to the enhancement of education generally or the District in particular or to the well-being of the District, community, State or Nation.”
Donations from individuals and sponsors covered all costs associated with the naming of the field.