Published On: Wed, May 19th, 2021

Desmond Howard inspires YMCA breakfast audience

On May 19, the YMCA in South County hosted the 19th Annual Inspiration Breakfast featuring keynote speaker and Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard.

The event began with Howard signing footballs and engaging in a meet and greet with attendees. The meet and greet followed a reception breakfast with Howard talking about his upbringing in sports and how he became a college football analyst with ESPN.

Desmond Howard answering questions from journalist Paige Kornblue.

“I grew up going to the YMCA and that’s where I learned to swim,” says Howard. “Once I got older I started playing football.”

Howard earned All-American and All-Ohio honors during his senior year in high school and was recruited to play at the University of Michigan. Howard won the Heisman Trophy after leading the Big Ten Conference in scoring. 

“I came in as a freshman and the student-athlete coach told me that I would help the team out by becoming a tailback,” says Howard.

Howard ended up being the fourth overall pick in the 1992 NFL Draft and played in the NFL for eleven seasons. Howard credits his success to playing multiple sports growing up.

“I would tell parents that if their children are interested, to participate in multiple sports,” says Howard. “This will help grow their athletic ability and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.”

Howard had a specific message for kids and teens attending the YMCA. He advised them to listen to their mentors at the Y and to find their unique sense of purpose. 

“Be yourself and don’t imitate someone else,” says Howard. “The best gift that you have is your originality.” 

With the mentors that Desmond Howard has encountered throughout his career, youth and adults can feel inspired to be the best version of themselves. 

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