Howard S. Vandersea ’63
Legend on the field and on the sidelines is dedicated to sport and Bates
Howard S. Vandersea was born in Brunswick, Maine, where he currently lives with his wife, Sara Jean. They have two children, Deborah and Craig, and several grandchildren. Howie excelled in football, basketball, and baseball as a student at Northbridge (Mass.) High School. He was co-captain of his football team and later was inducted into his high school’s athletic hall of fame in 2003.
Howie continued his success at Bates, where he was a four year letterman in both football and baseball, and earned honors as a two-time All-New England selection, an Associated Press Little All-American, and an All-Maine football and baseball selection. Vandersea was co-captain of the football team and played both center and linebacker.
After graduating from Bates with a B.A. in history in 1963, Howie began coaching football at Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine. His coaching career was interrupted when he enlisted in officer training school with the U.S. Army. He served for two and a half years as an infantry airborne officer. When he left the military, he taught and coached at Long Branch High in New Jersey for a short time, and then earned a master’s of education from Boston University while serving as a graduate assistant football coach. During this time, he was invited twice to try out for the Chicago Bears, and was a player and assistant coach for several semi-pro teams.
Shortly after his graduation from Boston University, he was hired as an assistant football coach, head freshman baseball coach and full-time physical education instructor at Tufts University. In 1973, Howard accepted a position as the freshman football coach and head of recruiting at Brown University. In 1976, he became the head football coach at Springfield College. After eight years at Springfield, Vandersea was hired as the head football coach at Bowdoin, where he also coached softball, tennis, and track during his 16-year tenure. As the head coach of the Polar Bears, Vandersea won five Colby-Bates-Bowdoin titles.
Vandersea is the president and founder of the State of Maine Chapter of the National Football Foundation and serves as the organization’s northeast regional coordinator. He has won many awards, including the Carens Award for Contribution to New England Football, the Citation of Honor from the Football writers Association of America, and the All-American Football Association’s John Vaught Lifetime Achievement Award. On May 20, 2012, Howie was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.
Vandersea has supported Bates in many ways as an alumnus. In addition to his financial support for the college, he has been a member of several class reunion committees, a career adviser, a class president, attended alumni leadership workshops at Bates and participated in golf outings to support Bates athletic teams. For his support and life-long dedication to Bates College, we proudly welcome Howard S. Vandersea into the membership of the Bates Scholar-Athlete Society.