Senior women’s golfer Delaney Howson is a true representation of the phrase student first, athlete second. Howson has broken record after record with her exceptional talent both in the classroom and on the course. Her latest feat is being the first women’s golfer in Murray State history to be named the OVC Scholar-Athlete Award.
To receive the award, a player must have performed athletically with distinction, maintained at least a 3.25 GPA and conducted themselves in a manner that gives a good reputation to the athlete, university and the OVC.
Howson has gone above and beyond those qualifications in her college golf career, excelling athletically and maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
“Education-wise, I’ve always had a 4.0,” Howson said. “I’m not going into a class hoping to make a B or a C. I work to get an A in all my classes.”
According to Head Coach Velvet Milkman, hard work and determination are two traits that make Howson such a strong leader.
“On the golf course, they know that if they can play like Delaney plays, we’re going to be successful,” Milkman said. “In the classroom, she’s the first one in the Weaver Center when we get back from the tournament the next day. For the underclassmen to see her in there, it sets an example.”
Howson credits spending time in the Weaver Center as part of her success in school, but she has developed other useful habits, too.
“I’ve gotten to the point where I’m very comfortable going to ask my professors for help,” she said. “I’m that person. I ask questions. I don’t really have a problem asking teachers to explain something again or do another example.”
Howson is also active outside the classroom and golf course. She is a member of the business fraternity Beta Gamma Sigma, the national collegiate athlete honor society Chi Alpha Sigma and an active member of the Student Athlete Advisory Council.
Howson is spending the beginning of her off-season looking for internships and jobs, but is still unsure what exactly she wants to do with her career.
“I’m going through the whole process right now, talking with teachers about career opportunities,” she said. “I don’t see myself working at a bank. I’d rather work at a company and move up that way.”
Before she arrived at Murray State, Howson could be found competing with her three older brothers in her hometown of Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.
“Our whole family’s been really competitive and involved in sports all the time,” Howson said. “We’re always cheering each other on. It’s nice to get a text from my brothers, and knowing that they’re thinking of me even when they can’t watch.”
Although she enjoyed the season, Howson said there were a few things she would change about her freshman year after leaving her family behind.
“I think I was a little too uptight and intense my first year here,” she said. “I was kind of homesick. I would have approached my freshman year differently. I got really shy when I got here, and that’s not really who I am. I would have acted like myself and showed people that I’m goofy and I’m loud.”
Milkman said Howson has grown mentally on and off the course since her first year.
“I think the way I’ve seen her grow the most is in her mental aspect of the game, such as having more confidence,” Milkman said. “She was fairly shy when she came in, as they all are. Once we all got to know Delaney and the wonderful young lady that she is, she got more comfortable.”
Despite being shy, Howson played in the top five for the Racers in every tournament since being put on the roster during her freshman year.
As a freshman, she placed eighth at the OVC Championships, was honored as OVC Freshman of the Year, earned OVC First Team Honors and was the first golfer in the program’s 18-year history to qualify for the USGA Amateur.
Howson’s sophomore and junior seasons were riddled with awards and honors as well. Now, as a senior, she has already managed to win two medalist titles and break the school record for the lowest round twice.
Howson has one final goal before graduation – an OVC team championship.
“I haven’t had that yet, so that’s obviously the number one goal for the year,” she said. “That’s always our team goal, but being my last year here, it’s definitely top priority.”
Howson’s success is nothing new for her coach.
“She doesn’t surprise me anymore,” Milkman said. “You can’t be around her on a daily basis and not expect great things from her. She wants to succeed. She will succeed in whatever she does.”
Milkman said Howson will leave behind a legacy.
“That’s what you want to leave, is a legacy that you have raised the bar for future golfers to shoot for when they come in,” Milkman said. “You hope that freshmen come in and say: ‘I want to be the next Delaney.’”
Story by Mallory Tucker, Staff Writer