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Vaught's Views: Howell brings more exposure to Colonels

October 21, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

Adair Howell certainly has brought exposure to the Centre College volleyball team.

The freshman from Atlanta beat out more than 5,000 other contestants in a nationwide model search to earn a spot on the October issue of Cosmopolitan. She had to leave campus at Centre for the winning announcement in New York and made several national television appearances last month in conjunction with the contest.

While being a Cosmo cover girl certainly brought attention to the middle hitter on Centre's winning volleyball team, the exposure didn't end there.

First, she was featured in the Sports Beat section of the Oct. 13 issue of Sports Illustrated. Not only is she shown as the Cosmo cover girl, but it also gives a brief scenario of why she entered the contest and the prizes she won - a car, clothes and a year's supply of hair care products and make-up.

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Second, she was featured in the Oct. 14 issue of Sports Illustrated on Campus. While the traditional Sports Illustrated magazine doesn't focus on any one particular audience, the SI on Campus is solely dedicated to college athletics and the sports interests of college students. The magazine is distributed at more than 70 major universities throughout the school year at no cost to students with a circulation of about 2.5 million readers between the ages of 18 and 24.

Naturally, Howell's quotes in the college-based publication are a bit more revealing than in the regular Sports Illustarted as the campus version of SI had Howell discuss some of Cosmopolitan's cover headlines on the October issue. However, the campus issue did include a shot of Howell in her volleyball gear as well as the Cosmo cover shot.

She was asked the best way to bond with her boyfriend, the trick that gets any man to call and for "tip 102" to go with Cosmo's list of 101 Fabulous Sex Tips.

However, she also had an answer most of us could relate to when asked for her most embarrassing moment on the volleyball court.

"We do a drill where you hit the ball on the ground in front of you as hard as you can," Howell told the magazine. "I put my whole weight into slamming the ball down. It came straight up, hit me in the face and knocked me backward. I had ball lines on my face for the day."

Howell obviously made the right choice by attending Centre College rather than accepting a Division I scholarship to play volleyball. If she was at the Division I level, odds are she would have had trouble making the trip to New York in the middle of her season for a cover girl announcement.

At Centre, her celebrity has been embraced by the school and volleyball coach Stephanie Dragan - and should be. Howell has contributed to an already successful season for the Colonels, but she's also brought immense publicity to the college in general and volleyball team in particular.

Certainly Dragan should have an easier time recruiting this season. Even if recruits didn't read about Howell, Dragan can take a Sports Illustrated or a tape of Howell's national TV appearances with her to show the type of student-athlete that Centre attracts.

And the next time Centre has an athlete worthy of national recognition, it certainly should be easier for Centre officials to get someone at SI to listen because of the attractive cover photo and interesting comments that Howell provided.

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