Josh Howard opens up about PIU job

Josh Howard

Josh Howard opens up about PIU job
August 18
05:50 2016



NBA All-Star Josh Howard recently accepted the head coaching position at Piedmont International University.  He looks forward to bringing his brand of basketball to the Bruins, which will focus on defense and rebounding.

Howard played his collegiate basketball at Wake Forest University and graduated in 2003.  He went on to have a stellar career in the NBA with several teams.

He said when he was offered the position by University President Dr. Charles Petitt, he heard his grandmother’s voice telling him to “come on back.”  Howard’s grandmother passed away in May. He said she was a very big influence in his life so when the coaching opportunity presented itself it seemed like perfect choice.

Howard said he further knew this was the right choice for him as he was offered the head coaching position on July 26 and that was the same day his former head coach at Wake Forest, Skip Prosser, died nine years earlier.

“Coaching was something I was building up toward doing, but I didn’t think it would happen this fast,” said Howard.  “The blessing presented itself, so I had to take it. With me hearing my grandmother’s voice and me being offered the job on the day coach Prosser passed, those were two signs for me to take this position.”

With his extensive knowledge of basketball he has absorbed from coaches over the years, Howard envisions himself being a teacher of the game.  He wants his players to under-stand that there is more to life than just basketball and to be leaders in the community.

He said he has learned a lot from coaches like Skip Prosser, Don Nelson and Avery Johnson.  He will implement bits and pieces he has learned from them all and incorporate that into his teaching of the game to his players.

“I want to give my players this platform to understand they can take anything they have learned from basketball and apply it to their everyday life.  That’s my biggest life lesson I want them to carry on after they leave my program,” Howard continued.

Last week, PIU held an open gym for area players to come out and showcase their talent in front of Howard. More than 25 players came out to play during the sessions.  Howard was not able to coach or be involved with the open gym, as coaches are not allowed to interact with players this early on in the year.  He was able to sit and observe the talented young men looking to be a part of his team going forward.

“Just seeing these kids get out there and give it their all is awesome,” said Howard.  “I wanted them to know they don’t have to impress me.  I don’t want them to impress Josh Howard; I want them to impress coach.”

With Howard being a household name here in the Triad, he should have the upper hand in recruiting players who have been overlooked by the Division I programs.  Being from the area, he can relate to many players who come from different walks of life.

Howard says he eagerly awaits the day he can officially step out on the court as the PIU head coach.  He says it may be an emotional moment for him.

“It’s going to be overwhelming, and I hope I don’t get overly emotional.  I already have moments where I think to myself  ‘Is this really happening?’”

PIU plays its first exhibition game of the year on Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum against Wake Forest, Howard says that the game was already scheduled before he became coach, and he looks forward to the challenge of playing his former team.  He says this will give him a great chance to evaluate his team and what they need to improve upon.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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