Philander Smith College Wins the 2023 Thomas Howell Cup, Showcasing Unyielding Dedication and Team Spirit
Friday Jul. 28 2023

Philander Smith College Wins the 2023 Thomas Howell Cup, Showcasing Unyielding Dedication and Team Spirit

Little Rock, AR (July 28, 2023) – Philander Smith College proudly announces its outstanding achievement as the recipient of the 2023 Thomas Howell Cup, the conference all-sports award presented by the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC).

Named in honor of Dr. Thomas Howell, the GCAC’s first commissioner, who served the conference for over three decades, the Thomas Howell Cup is awarded annually to the member institution that accumulates the highest number of points in competition across all sports (men’s and women’s) sponsored by the conference and NAIA. Points are earned through regular season standings for volleyball, basketball, and baseball, along with the conference championship for cross country and outdoor track and field.

Roderick Smothers, Jr., the PSC Athletic Director, expressed his delight, stating, “Being awarded the Thomas Howell Cup speaks to the hard work of our coaching staff and student-athletes here at Philander Smith College. Each program likes to build momentum by feeding off the successes of one another, and it is clear that they take pride in doing so.”

The journey towards the Howell Cup triumph began with a resounding victory in the men’s cross country championship held in Decatur, Ala. Shortly after, under the leadership of first-year head coach and former two-time GCAC Player of the Year Kayla Black, the Lady Panthers volleyball team secured their first conference championship title, securing an automatic bid in the NAIA championship tournament. The success story continued with a notable second-place finish in the 2023 Hope Credit Union GCAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. Adding to their glory, the Lady Panthers Basketball team secured their program’s first-ever at-large berth to the NAIA championship tournament, culminating the season on a high note and amassing a total of 40 points throughout the year.

“The Howell Cup is a special honor,” stated Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes, the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Commissioner. “It honors the trailblazing leadership of our first commissioner, Dr. Thomas Howell, and undoubtedly creates a spirit of excellence on the court, field, and track. As we grow our membership, fans can expect the Howell Cup race to be even more intense.”

The Thomas Howell Cup stands as a symbol of excellence and serves as a testament to the unwavering commitment of the Philander Smith College community to athletic success and personal growth.