Darren Howard leaving Oswego to become St. Charles East’s new AD

Bloomingdale resident was AD at Oswego for 12 years

Darren Howard

Darren Howard, athletic director at Oswego High School for 12 years, is leaving to become the new AD at St. Charles East.

The move was announced March 14.

Howard at St. Charles East will be taking the place of Mike Sommerfeld, who is leaving St. Charles East to become the AD at Lemont.

Howard, a 59-year-old Bloomingdale resident, was named the 2023 National Athletic Director of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. Howard has been with Oswego School District 308 since July 2012. He was named the district’s athletic director in 2016.

“It’s bittersweet,” Howard said of his decision. “I really love Oswego and everything I have done here. This was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up at this point in my career.”

Howard was drawn to St. Charles East both professionally and personally.

He noted that he holds an appreciation for schools with a strong athletic history. He was boys basketball and athletic director at IC Catholic Prep for 12 years before coming to Oswego and was at Fenton for eight years before that. The commute to St. Charles will be closer, and his daughter and in-laws both live in St. Charles.

“Those kind of schools with history are attractive to me, Fenton, IC, Oswego and now St. Charles East,” Howard said. “St. Charles East has a fantastic reputation, both academically and athletically. I’ve never heard anything but positive things about both East and [St. Charles] North. On the personal side, this is probably my last decision before retirement eight or nine years away. It was a great opportunity.”

Howard will assume his new position July 1.

“That first year I’ll be watching and learning – stepping into a position that is in good shape, I don’t think anything major needs to be changed,” Howard said. “My strengths are mentoring and growing coaching staffs. I had success at Oswego building my staff, getting them to have a bigger and better world view, as opposed to being locked into your own program. I think I can do the same thing at East.”

Howard looks back most fondly at Oswego watching younger coaches grow into older coaches and watching the growth of thousands of kids from sixth grade to coming back to the school after high school.

“One of my favorite nights here is athletic Hall of Fame Night, getting the opportunity to see people with great experiences here come back and be celebrated,” Howard said. “The other thing that’s special at Oswego is the number of people on staff that went there and come back and get that experience. I’ve seen it happen at a lot of schools, but never as prevalent as it is here, and the pride that they take in their school and community.”