Ashland High School - Class of 1958
Ashland High School - Class of 1958


03/26/17 - Legal Assistants Day | Spinach Day


 

03/14/17 - This is Rhrea Simpson Howard's grandson.

Bounce-back story: Troy assistant dancing again

Ashland native preps for 3rd trip to NCAA tournament

Adam Howard holds his baby Eli as Troy players celebrate winning the Sun Belt Conference Tournament on Sunday. Howard is
Adam Howard holds his baby Eli as Troy players celebrate winning the Sun Belt Conference Tournament on Sunday. Howard is an assistant coach for the Trojans, who play Duke on Friday night in the NCAA Tournament.
 

Adam Howard is not only coaching college basketball again but also dancing in the NCAA tournament.

Howard, who had been out of coaching since November 2014, was hired as an assistant at Troy University before the start of the season and this week is helping the Trojans prepare to face Duke on Friday night.

Troy is an unlikely participant in the tournament after being seeded sixth in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. But the Trojans won four games in five days, including Sunday’s 59-53 victory over Texas State for the title.

 
Troy was 12-12 at one point in the season but won 10 of the last 12 to reach 22 victories,

“It was a heck of a turnaround,” Howard said. “A daily battle but we kept plugging.”
 

Troy head coach Phil Cunningham calls out from the bench during the Sun Belt Conference championship game against Texas
Troy head coach Phil Cunningham calls out from the bench during the Sun Belt Conference championship game against Texas State in New Orleans on Sunday. Assistant coach Adam Howard is second from left on the bench. Troy won 59-53.

That is Howard’s story, too.

His life has been a whirlwind since resigning as an assistant on embattled coach Donnie Tyndall’s staff at Tennessee in November 2014. NCAA rules infractions of academic fraud surfaced from when they coached together at Southern Mississippi. Howard resigned on Nov. 25, 2014 and Tennessee fired Tyndall on March 27, 2015 because of what the NCAA told them was coming.

On April 8, the NCAA Committee on Infractions gave Tyndall a 10-year show-cause penalty, adding that he would be automatically suspended for the duration of the show-cause should a school hire him before it ends. The NCAA also gave him a half-year suspension for the first season he comes back from the show-cause, making it the harshest penalty ever put on a head coach.

Howard was a key witness for the NCAA’s infraction committee against Tyndall. He received an immunity deal with no penalty.
 

Adam Howard with son, Eli, going over game tape at his home. The Ashland native is in his first season as an assistant c
Adam Howard with son, Eli, going over game tape at his home. The Ashland native is in his first season as an assistant coach with Troy, which plays Duke Friday in the NCAA Tournament.

Meanwhile, life went on without basketball. He married his girlfriend Renee in June of 2015 and they now have a 7 ½-month-old boy named Eli - all while Howard tries to bounce back into the coaching business that he loves and is so passionate about making his life’s work. He was working for a sports equipment company when the opportunity to connect with Troy coach Phil Cunningham, a fellow Kentuckian who is from Taylor County, first surfaced.

“I had just gone out to Oklahoma City in October 2015 and interviewed for a position with the Thunder. I didn’t get it,” Howard said. “Chase Richardson, who is now at Jacksonville State with (former WKU coach) Roy Harper, told me he was leaving and to ‘come down, meet the coach and talk ball.’”

Troy was interested in playing the same zone defense that Tyndall and Howard employed so successfully. Cunningham was willing to listen to Howard explain it.

“We talked ball, broke out the white board. He started sending me practice tape after I left. At nighttime I was watching practice (tape) and sending notes and thoughts and built a relationship (with the coach). He called at the Final Four (last year) and asked if I would come down (for the job). I worked my way into the position by basically working free for a year.”

Jeremy McClain, who was the associate athletic director at Southern Miss when Howard and Tyndall were there, is the AD at Troy now. He didn’t blink when Cunningham told him he wanted to hire Howard.

“Jeremy McClain knew me, he knew my integrity and he knew the situation and exactly what went on at Southern Miss,” Howard said. “He knew it all. He lived it with us. That’s what I’m most proud of.”

Howard still had to meet with and convince Troy Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr. that he was worth the risk too.

“That was a nice moment Sunday (after the win in the Sun Belt title game) to hug the AD and president and thank them for giving me this opportunity,” he said.

Troy is making its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2003 but this will be Howard’s third – once as a player at Western Kentucky University in 2008 on a Hilltopper team that reached the Sweet 16 and again three years later in 2011 when he was part of Tyndall’s Morehead State staff that shocked Louisville in the opening round as a No. 14 seed.

 
Tyndall springboarded that success into a job at Southern Miss where he took Howard and then two years later was hired at Tennessee, where he again offered Howard an assistant’s position.
Troy University's championship hat after winning the Sun Belt Conference title for the first time in school history. Tr
Troy University's championship hat after winning the Sun Belt Conference title for the first time in school history. Troy is making its first NCAA appearance since 2003. Ashland native Adam Howard is an assistant coach for the Trojans.
 

Howard’s life took a tough turn last Dec. 28 when his grandfather, Paul Howard, died. The two were extremely close.

“I really believe Papaw had something to do with getting us over the hump this weekend,” Howard said. “It’s a moment I’d love to have shared with him but his hands were all over this.”

Papaw Howard was a rock for Adam and a big supporter of whomever he was coaching.

“Everybody says they have the greatest grandparents and greatest parents. I’ve been blessed 10 times over, including my in-laws now,” he said. Howard calls Renee, the love of his life, his “support staff. I have great appreciation for stay-at-home mothers and women in general. Her job is harder than mine. She’s a great mother.”

Mike Flynn has been another big influence on Howard’s life. The former Ashland Tomcat coach came to Troy’s last game of the regular season and, along with his wife Meg, will be sitting next to Howard’s parents, Rick and Chris, and sister, Jenni, on Friday night.

“He and Meg came to our wedding in Destin (Florida) in June of 2015 and he has been there for me through every major event in my life,” Howard said. “That’s what coaching is all about.”

The Flynns live about 40 miles from Greenville, S.C., where Friday’s game will be played. It tips off at 7:30 p.m. on TBS.

(606) 326-2648 | mmaynard@dailyindependent.com

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​01/13/17 - The Ashland Lunch Bunch will eat at the Bellefonte Country Club (Jim Powers' guests) at 11:30 AM on the following dates:
 
​Tuesday, February 14
Tuesday, March 14
Tuesday, April 11
​Tuesday, May 9
Tuesday, June 13
​Tuesday, July 11
​Tuesday, August 8
​Tuesday, September 12
​Tuesday, October 10

 
 
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