Keene State Coach Ken Howe (copy)

Keene State baseball coach Ken Howe, pictured here in a 2017 file photo, announced that, after over 30 years with the program, he will be retiring after the 2021 season.

Ken Howe, a fixture at the helm of the Keene State College baseball team for 33 years, announced Thursday that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2021 season, according to a press release.

“I cannot thank everyone enough for this experience and what it has given me,” Howe said in a statement. “To be a head coach in my hometown in a sport I truly love.”

“Coach Howe has had an exceptional career and been a leader here and across Division III athletics,” added Keene State College President Dr. Melinda Treadwell in a statement. “A man of integrity, dedication and vision, Keene State College and his former and current players have benefited from his talents and commitment.”

When Keene State College brought back baseball in 1987 after an 11 year hiatus, Howe served as co-head coach with John Scheinman for three years, before assuming the post on his own for the 1990 season. Since then, Howe has remained in the dugout for over 1,200 games and some of the greatest seasons the school has ever had.

“Ken Howe is the heart and soul of the Keene State College baseball program,” said Keene State College Director of Athletics and Recreation Phil Racicot in a statement. “For over 30 years, he has poured his life into building a program that has been highly respected and recognized throughout New England. He has been a mainstay in Keene State Athletics, having a lasting impact on many aspects of the department and campus community. This retirement is well-deserved and we wish Ken and his family nothing but the best for the future!”

Heading into the 2021 season, Howe has a record of 581-615-9, needing 19 wins in his final season to become the 30th coach in the history of NCAA Division III to win 600 games.

Hired to restart the program almost immediately after his graduation from KSC, Howe has steered the Owls to huge success, including from 2005-2012, when the Owls ranked as one of the best teams in New England.

In those eight seasons, the Owls went 222-117-1 (.654), winning the LEC regular season championship in 2006, 2008 and 2010. The Owls also reached the LEC tournament final as a No. 5 seed in 1999, as well as reaching the final in 2006, 2007 and 2009. KSC won its first LEC tournament title in 2008, beating Southern Maine twice to capture the championship on their home field.

Keene State qualified for the NCAA Division III Championship on four occasions (2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012), reaching the regional final in 2007 and falling one game short of the NCAA Division III World Series. In 2008, the Owls won a school record 34 games, and made appearances in the ECAC tournament in 1996, 2005 and 2006.

KSC won 25 games or more seven different seasons, and Howe himself was named the Little East Conference Coach of the Year four times, in 2000, 2005, 2007 and 2008. The KSC record books are dotted with award winners, including LEC Players of the Year Jeremy Schilling (2006) and Bobby Doyon (2010), LEC Pitchers of the Year Bill Williams (2000), Cody Dube (2016), and Michael Crimi (2017), and LEC Rookies of the Year Jim Slack (2002), Doyon (2008), and Cody Callahan (2009).

72 times a KSC player was named to the All-LEC First or Second Teams, or Honorable Mention, and in 2008, Greg Ford was named the LEC Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

Four KSC baseball players have been enshrined into the Keene State College Athletics/Alumni Hall of Fame.

In 2018, Howe received the Jack Butterfield Award from the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association, presented to an active New England coach who exhibits the integrity and dedication to the game of college baseball.

Howe also had two players selected in the Major League Baseball draft, including Corey Vogt, who was chosen by the Boston Red Sox in the 39th round in 2011, and Dube, who was selected in the 10th round by the Baltimore Orioles in 2016.