WASHINGTON – Before Saturday’s men’s basketball home game against crosstown rival American, Howard University Athletics took time to honor its longtime public address announcer Shellie Bowers, Jr., who recently passed away inside his home at the age of 55.
Over the past three decades, Howard has been fortunate to have one of the top PA announcers in Bowers. During that period, he did over 1,000 athletic events at the Hilltop and called the names of more than 2,500 student-athletes.
His signature phrases included, but not limited to, “It’ll be First and 10 Bison, U Know” and “Here are your Howard Universityyyyyyyyyy Bison!!
And for those hoop fans, his “Threeeeeeeeeeee Pointer” is unprecedented.
“When I heard about Shellie [Bowers], it was surprising and devasting,” said Howard Men’s Basketball head coach Kevin Nickelberry. “Throughout my 14 years associated with Howard, Shellie’s positive vibe was constant. I knew when we hit that three, his voice was coming. Shellie was one of the best.”
His voice may be stilled but the memories and legacy he left will live forever, not only among Bison fans but to many in the DMV who were privileged to benefit from his unique and special craft.
Outside of Howard, he was the PA voice for the Kenner League at Georgetown during its annual summer league basketball tournament games and was the longtime voice of the Turkey Bowl and the DCIAA basketball championships as well.
Ed Hill, Jr., retired Howard Sports Information Director and CoSIDA Hall of Famer, gave Bowers his first chance at PA announcing.
“Nobody ever did what he did the way he did it,” said Hill, Jr. to the AFRO American Newspaper. “He was a straight up dude who touched a lot of people’s lives. He loved D.C.”
Beyond his tremendous voice, Bowers was a talented communicator who connected with students during a career that spanned 30 years with three high schools, including his alma mater Woodrow Wilson High School, where he was briefly an assistant baseball coach and media instructor. He also was attendance counselor at Ballou and School Without Walls.
More than 20 members of his family, colleagues, mentees and friends attended Saturday’s 85-83 home victory over the Eagles, with majority sitting courtside cheering on the Bison.
“It was gratifying to get that home win over American,” Nickelberry added. “It was in honor of him. It’s been a tough week. Again, he was one of the best and a great supporter of Howard. He will truly be missed.”
Shellie is survived by his daughter Brittney Nicole Wilson of Oakdale, Louisiana, brother David Charles Bowers of Washington, D.C. and a host of other loving aunts, uncles, cousins, and loved ones.
A Funeral Service will be held in the auditorium of Woodrow Wilson High School (3950 Chesapeake Street NW, Washington, D.C.) Saturday, December 15, 2018. Visitation with the family present will commence at 9:30 a.m., followed by the service at 10 a.m.
To honor Shellie’s love of HBCUs, the Washington Nationals, D.C. United, Wilson H.S., School Without Walls, Ballou H.S., and DMV sports teams, attendees are encouraged to wear their favorite school or team gear to the service.
Ed Hill, Jr. retired Howard Sports Information Director, and Mark F. Gray, AFRO Staff Writer, contributed to this story.