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As the women’s head soccer coach at Belmont University, Lisa Howe had witnessed her team experience success both on and off the field. During her six-year tenure, she and her team acquired a number of awards and accolades for their performance, as well as various honors for academic achievement. But in December 2010, Howe suddenly announced that she was resigning from her post after a mutual agreement with the university. Just days prior to her departure, Howe had acknowledged her homosexuality with the team and shared that she and her partner were expecting a baby.
Since then, Howe's story has been featured in national gay publications such as The Advocate and Out Magazine, and she was recently profiled in a segment of ESPN's Outside the Lines. As the debate over gay rights intensifies on both the local and national levels, Howe stands as a pillar of integrity and source of pride for Nashville and the GLBT community as a whole.
Throughout this controversial separation, Howe has been vocal about her unwavering faith. Her life is a prime example that being gay and being a Christian are not mutually exclusive. Howe discusses her career and plans for the future with Out & About Newspaper.
O&A: Tell us about your family background.
I grew up in Dallas, Texas with my mom, dad, and younger sister. Dad was Baptist and Mom was Methodist. So we split Sundays between the two churches.
O&A: Where did you go to college?
I went to Barry University in Miami. Barry is a Catholic University but my family was pretty open-minded. I graduated in 1991 with a degree in Sports Management.
O&A: What happened after college?
I stayed in Florida and coached high school soccer in the Fort Lauderdale area. I also got involved in coaching at summer camps sponsored by various universities like Duke and Clemson. That resulted in great connections allowing me to network so I could start coaching college soccer.
My first college job was coaching at Berry College in Rome, Ga. in 1994. One year later, I took a job at Jacksonville State in Alabama. The mid Nineties was when many schools started female soccer teams for gender equality, so I was in the right place at the right time to be hired in a full-time position.
O&A: What was the coming out process like for you?
Well, I came out as a 33 year old adult. I was well into my career by that time. So one of the biggest fears I had was that coming out would hurt my career.
My family was okay with it. I’m not saying it wasn’t difficult for them. But there was never a point that I wasn’t welcome at home. My family has always been good about having open dialogue with me. I’m lucky in that regard.
O&A: When did you start working at Belmont?
In 2005 I was brought in to coach the women’s soccer team.
O&A: Did the team receive any special awards under your leadership?
My team was conference tournament champions in 2008 and 2009. For all six years I was coaching, we received the Team Academic Award, an academic award given by the Soccer Coaches Association of America for academic achievement in keeping a team GPA of 3.0 or higher.
O&A: Were there any special awards that you received?
In 2009, I was the Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year, and in 2010 I was publicly recognized by the NCAA because my team’s academic progress rate was always in the top 10% of the country. The academic progress rate looks at the team GPA, graduation rate, and overall retention of students.
O&A: How did you meet your partner?
I met my partner Wendy Holleman in 1995 when I was coaching at Jacksonville State. She was a student, and at the time, we were just friends. She graduated and was hired as the assistant coach. Our friendship continued to grow and we became a couple in 2002.
In July 2010, we had a commitment ceremony at her parents' lake house in Texas. Right before the ceremony my mom said, “You don’t have to do this for us. We accept your relationship and already consider you two as married…as a part of the family.” It was a beautiful time for our entire family.
Currently, Wendy coaches girl’s soccer at the University School of Nashville. We had been trying to get pregnant since May 2009. Finally, in August 2010, Wendy became pregnant.
O&A: Do you have a church home here in Nashville?
We have been visiting several churches over the past few months. We’ve been to Covenant of the Cross, Holy Trinity Community Church, and East End United Methodist. The church we’ve been the most active in is St. Augustine’s Episcopal Chapel on the campus of Vanderbilt. They’ve been wonderful to us. Back in December 2010, they even threw us a baby shower. They invited a variety of people from the community to come and there must have been over 100 guests. We only knew 15 or 20 of them. But Chaplain Becca Stevens came to us and said, “You are probably going through a hard time right now and we would like to shower you with love. Will you allow us to do that?” That meant so much to us.
So we’re having a good time church surfing and want to find a church home since Wendy and I are about to have a baby.
O&A: When you departed from Belmont University, did your faith play a role in that situation?
The best thing to come from this is the fact that my relationship with Jesus has become so much stronger. I have had to lean on the Lord to get through this time of not having a job and having a baby on the way. I’ve had to pray and realize that I’m not in control of this situation. I had been in control of so much of my life…I had my job, my partner, and had everything in place where it needed to be. But then there was the morning back in December of 2010 that I was on the cover of the Tennessean, and I realized, I wasn’t in control of anything.
O&A: What are your plans for the future?
I’m applying for jobs here, there and everywhere! We would like to stay here in Nashville, but we’re open to other areas too. The University School of Nashville where Wendy is employed has been very supportive of us through this entire process.
O&A: What advice do you have for any LGBT faculty or students still at Belmont?
I want to encourage them to keep doing what they are doing. They’ve done a good job of mobilizing, of being unified and asking for certain policies to be in place. Belmont is a good place. And if they can get some of those policies implemented, it will help students have a richer college experience and make a better work environment for the faculty.
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.