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Former ASU staffer fosters school spirit through softball league


Dennis and Mike Howe
September 11, 2013

Editor’s Note: This Saturday, Sept. 14 is the faculty and staff appreciation football game. Come see ASU play Wisconsin in the annual Blackout game and receive a 20 percent discount on your tickets.

Since he began working at ASU as a painter in 1980, Dennis Howe has been a loyal Sun Devil. In 1992, he became one of the first ASU employees to purchase a personalized Sparky plate. The decision of what to put on his plate was an easy one: “paint.”

Now retired, after 25 years with the Department of Residential Life, Howe moved up the ranks from painter to paint supervisor, then to facilities manager.

During his time at ASU, he was recognized by the university as “Best Team Player” and “Supervisor of the Year.” He also was recognized by the City of Tempe with the Mayor’s Diversity Award for his years of supporting diversity at ASU.

A lifelong athlete, Howe even began an intra-university softball league in 1987 that still plays three seasons every year.

However, his passion for sports didn’t come without some hardship. Howe, now 62 years old, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 19. Since then, he has had to focus on what he calls “managing the tri-balance” (carbohydrates, insulin and exercise intake) in order to continue participating in the games he loves.

Howe is also a dedicated advocate for diabetics (his son, and fellow teammate, also has the disease) and has written several freelance articles over the years encouraging those living with the disease not to let it get in the way of living a normal life and doing the things they love to do. One of those articles, “Teammates,” was recently published in the September 2013 issue of Diabetes Forecast, a national monthly publication from the American Diabetes Association.

As for the slow-pitch softball league, the motley crew of professors, staff, students, alumni and family members has grown exponentially from the original 35 members in 1987, and its officiators estimate that more than 400 ASU alumni played as students.

The league has done a lot in the way of fostering affinity and a sense of community among staffers who might otherwise never have met. The teams come from such diverse departments as geography, known better on the field by their team name, Continental Drifters, and the registrar’s office, who call themselves the Drop/Adds.

The league is always looking for new players and teams, and those interested are urged to contact Howe at dennishowe69@hotmail.com.