Originally published May 31, 2013 at 11:25a.m., updated June 1, 2013 at 12:10a.m.

SMU’s Howard officially named assistant coach at KU

Former Texas A&M staff member was winner in only trip to Allen Fieldhouse

Illinois head coach Bruce Weber, left, and assistant coach Jerrance Howard watch from the sidlines during the second half of a game against Michigan in this 2012 Associated Press file photo. Though nothing is official, Howard is likely to replace Kansas University assistant coach Joe Dooley, KU coach Bill Self confirmed Wednesday.

Illinois head coach Bruce Weber, left, and assistant coach Jerrance Howard watch from the sidlines during the second half of a game against Michigan in this 2012 Associated Press file photo. Though nothing is official, Howard is likely to replace Kansas University assistant coach Joe Dooley, KU coach Bill Self confirmed Wednesday.


Jerrance Howard — who played college basketball at Illinois and coached at his alma mater, as well as Texas A&M;, Kentucky and SMU — has witnessed just one game in Allen Fieldhouse.

The new Kansas University assistant coach, whose hiring was announced Friday morning, sat on the A&M; bench for the Aggies’ 69-66 victory over the Jayhawks on Feb. 3, 2007.

“What a crazy atmosphere that was,” Howard recalled in a phone interview with the Journal-World. “I remember trying to tell Acie Law a match-up or a call. He said, ‘Coach, I can’t hear you. The floor is shaking.’ I thought he was overhyping it.

“After the game, he said, ‘Coach, it was so loud when we were shooting the free throw, the floor was shaking.’ That’s my experience in Allen.”

KU has suffered just eight home losses in the last 10 years.

“I’ve been watching games the last two to three days,” Howard added of a batch of KU victories on film. “To be part of this tradition and the mecca of basketball ... I’m humble about the whole situation. All I know is the work. All I can do is work hard and bring my energy, and I’ll be fine.”

The 33-year-old Howard, who hopes to start his new job on Monday or Tuesday after working the past season under former KU coach Larry Brown at SMU, replaces Joe Dooley, who left KU after 10 seasons to become the head coach at Florida Gulf Coast.

“Jerrance has great energy, is unbelievably positive and in a short amount of time has established himself as one of the better recruiters in college basketball,” said KU coach Bill Self, who coached Howard at Illinois from 2000 to 2003. “Having worked for one of my former assistants, Billy Gillispie, and my former mentor Larry Brown, I’m totally comfortable with him coming in here, having a smooth transition and having an immediate, positive impact on our program.”

A native of Peoria, Ill., Howard played point guard for the Illini, backing All-Americans Frank Williams, Dee Brown and Deron Williams.

“Jerrance is one of my all-time favorite players,” Self said. “Even though he didn’t play a lot, he found a way to impact our program and probably had as much to do with us winning games as anybody on our team.”

Howard, known as a great recruiter with ties in Chicago as well as Texas, was tri-captain as a junior and senior and two-time winner of the Kenny Battle Award. The accolade is given to an Illini player who “earns the respect of his teammates through hard work and effort in games and practice each day.”

During his career, Illinois went 104-31 overall, 48-16 in the Big Ten. The Illini won three Big Ten championships, a Big Ten tourney title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament all four years, reaching the Elite Eight in 2001 and Sweet 16 in 2002 and 2004.

“I didn’t get a lot of playing time, but I did practice hard, bring something to the table,” Howard told the J-W. “One day, coach Self said, ‘Have you ever thought about coaching?’ I said, ‘Not really.’ I started thinking about it. I started having a better attitude every day at practice. I always credit him. Now it’s unbelievable to come back full-circle.

“I’ve always wanted to work for coach Self. When you talk about great coaches, coach Self’s name has to be right there with the best of them. The teams I was on with him ... he demanded you played hard, demanded you were a good teammate. Those were things I took with me (into working world).

“Kansas ... the tradition, the history, all those league championships, national championships … I’m really excited and humbled to be part of that. Put Bill Self and Kansas together, what you get is unbelievable,” Howard continued.

Howard spent one season at SMU under Brown after working the previous five at Illinois under Bruce Weber.

“Being around coach Brown and hearing all the great stories about when he was at Kansas, I’ve been overwhelmed,” Howard said of becoming a KU assistant. “Coach Brown talks about the great players like Danny Manning, the tradition and the history. Kansas is the mecca. I’ve been excited and haven’t slept in two days. It’s a great feeling to be at Kansas and with my former coach.

“I am really grateful to learn and coach under coach Brown this past year at SMU,” Howard said. “He’s a Hall of Fame coach, and I will take a lot from my time on his staff.”

Howard said after receiving Brown’s “blessing, when I got that phone call and he (Self) actually thought I was interested, it was surreal. It’s still surreal,” he added.

Self acknowledged that Howard’s recruiting ability was a major factor in the hiring. He helped the Mustangs recently land McDonald’s All-American Keith Frazier of Dallas.

“I wanted someone who is loyal, a tireless worker, has great contacts and will bring something to the table recruiting-wise,” Self said. “We have an unbelievable staff, and I wanted someone who fit well with Norm (Roberts) and Kurtis (Townsend), and both those guys are very excited about adding Jerrance to the mix.”

Of his recruiting philosophy, Howard said: “I love to recruit. I am not patting myself on the back. To me, recruiting comes easy because I’m a people person. I enjoy developing relationships, keeping relationships and getting to know people. I have a degree in speech communications at the University of Illinois. Communication is what I’ve been doing all my life. I like being around people. I think that’s half of recruiting.”

Howard is married to the former Jessica Wordlaw, who also is a UI graduate. The Howards have a son, Jerrance Jr., and a daughter, Jaya Brooklyn-Rose.


Rock Chalk 9 years, 4 months ago

Oh, man, great news! Welcome, welcome.

BringBackNike 9 years, 4 months ago

Welcome Sir Jerrance! Now we just wait for the adidas contract to expire this summer and sign a new deal with Nike.

jayhawkinATL 9 years, 4 months ago

adidas pays us way more than Nike is willing.

Benz Junque 9 years, 4 months ago

Why? Because we are having such a hard time getting elite recruits due to being an Adidas school? That's dumb. Totally overrated and overblown. If some moron chooses a school because of what shoe contract we have then I don't want them anyways.

And the Adidas jerseys look better than the Nike jerseys (except for those awful camo catastrophes last year).

Ben Simonett 9 years, 4 months ago

I agree, switching to Nike will make an immediate impact on the recruiting trail. Self and staff just landed the best class they've ever had with the addidas affiliation. Imagine what they could do if they had access to Nike's bought and paid for "student athletes"

KanKu 9 years, 4 months ago

Like the Chi-Town connection, LOVE the newly made Texas connection for recruiting. Self being the guy that got him into coaching makes him somewhat of a legacy right away. I hope all the good news this spring continues through the summer and into the fall.......

Boouk 9 years, 4 months ago

Seems like a great hire. Landing Andrew Wiggins and adding Jerrance Howard should help us considerably on the recruiting trail, just in time for Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor.

Ben Simonett 9 years, 4 months ago

Tyus Jones is going to Duke, I heard it straight from his mouth

LaFriends 9 years, 4 months ago

Do we lack in the X's and O's department as a staff?

texashawk10 9 years, 4 months ago

If KU was, Doc Sadler would've been the choice.

Joe Ross 9 years, 4 months ago

He's a big-time recruiter, evidently. I didn't know Jerrance Howard was quite the star that he is. But national press is lauding the hire:

Joe Ross 9 years, 4 months ago are one of the original faithful posters going back 7 or 8 years ago, when it was still the old format. Anything for ya, bro...

Dirk Medema 9 years, 4 months ago

It's amazing that there is no ref to the fact that Coach Self essentially told him to coach his senior year at UofI. He's just rejoining the team.

Danny Hernandez 9 years, 4 months ago

What's even more awesome about Coach Howard is his excitement at being hired by Coach Self. And being not only coached by Self but by Roberts as well must be surreal. Coaching alongside those that coached you in college. I believe Coach Self hit another homerun or a half-court shot

wrwlumpy 9 years, 4 months ago

Here's Fran's take...

I have a feeling Bill Self's going to hit the Powerball number soon. Stay tuned! @franfraschilla

JayhawkinNE 9 years, 4 months ago

Just wondering why Coach Self wouldn't have hired Doc for this position since he was already on staff and a great X & O's coach. As I understand it, Doc is also a good recruiter. He's also one of the good guys in college basketball. Anyone have some insight on this?

texashawk10 9 years, 4 months ago

Doc isn't a great recruiter which is why Self didn't hire Sadler. Doc is a good X's and O's coach and a nice guy, but his recruiting is subpar.

Benz Junque 9 years, 4 months ago

Sadler sucks at recruiting and is only a good x's and o's coach on defense. His Nebraska teams had zero talent and zero plan on offense.

Clydecito 9 years, 4 months ago

I think Coach wanted youth and a long term commitment to the program for the programs next assistant. Doc has already experienced being the big dog. A lessor, 'assistant' role for Doc is not an aspiration, another head coaching gig is. I personally like the choice of getting a younger guy, who is eagerly acknowledges a quest to learn, for the assistant position. A sound program needs long term commitment, as opposed to someone looking for another, more immediate, head coaching gig. The program spends a lot of time, money and effort on nationwide recruiting. That investment is more likely to remain with the University than with someone looking to head coach elsewhere. This is NOT a criticism of Doc, a Coach I've always liked, but in recognition of the natural progression of the coaching profession. Once you've been the head dog, it has to be difficult for anyone to revert to a subordinate role. I'm sure Doc appreciated the opportunity to hang with a top tier program, while licking his Nebraska firing wounds, so he could survey the landscape for other opportunities. The Mayor is young enough in the coaching profession to appreciate and welcome Doc's input, even for the short term, whereas Coach Self wants to develop his own disciples in a proven program. Good news for everyone in my book.

VailHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Plus, Jerrance is younger. I LOVE this hire!!! Energy will help with recruiting and day to day coaching.

jgkojak 9 years, 4 months ago

Fantastic hire- he knows Roberts and Self and will immediately gel. He reminds me a little of what Danny brought - former player with integrity and class.

I also think he really could be in line to be Self's successor - if Self coaches, say, 12 more years, he would be 45 or so when he took over.

He can also sell kids on playing for Self.

Home run.

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

He’ll never coach KU. He will be plucked by somebody else first. My guess is right back to Illinois. Then he’s off the the NBA. Which is his stated goal.

crimsonorblue22 9 years, 4 months ago

Welcome Coach Howard! Does anyone know if he's played or been to a game in AFH?

KJD 9 years, 4 months ago

My guess without looking it up is that he was on the bench with A&M when Acie Law hit a 3 over Rush to win at the Field House. That was a Billy Gillispie Aggie team.

Howard would have also been on the Illinois teams that went 1-1 against the Jayhawks in those Sweet 16 games of 2001 and 2002.

Joe Ross 9 years, 4 months ago

"Your wife looks like she could be a beach person, and your son already looks like a beach person. It's you I'm worried about."

--Bill Self to Joe Dooley, on his move to the sands of the Florida Gulf Coast.

Joe Ross 9 years, 4 months ago

Kansas Athletics earned 22M this year from the Big XII contract with ESPN/ABC and Fox Sports, with amounts increasing annually over the life of the 13-year deal, such that near the contract Kansas will be earning $40 million per, not including other sources of revenue.


Dirk Medema 9 years, 4 months ago

Isn't it sweet that mizzoo left the $22M for a $20M beating by their 2nd cousins/SEC.

Joe Ross 9 years, 4 months ago

Yes, Dagger. Saying it's interesting actually doesn't do enough justice to the irony. Mizzou left for more money. They actually get less by comparison than the Big 12 member schools. Of course had Mizzou stayed, we would all have gotten LESS, so the argument can be made that Mizzou's leaving was good, in the end, for Kansas! Yet we are left without the stigma of having made the decision of leaving the conference--Mizzou gets that. Irony on top of irony? Much of the Kansas-Mizzou rivalry has its roots in the Civil War militias. Missouri was a slave state, but for various reasons did not secede from the union. Here, Mizzou secedes to the "SEC" (...the "South"), and it seems that from a money standpoint anyway, they still end up losing by comparison to Kansas.

I would add that I dont know how much Mizzou is projected to receive in the future, however. It could be that SEC member schools increase their pay more rapidly than B12 schools such that by the end of their contracts they are earning more. I dont have that information.

Michael Pannacciulli 9 years, 4 months ago

Love how no one mentioned Webber in the article. Hare the the LJW hasn't tried harder to get another photo yet. Othrr outlets have better pics.

crimsonorblue22 9 years, 4 months ago

We nailed them about that in the first article!

actorman 9 years, 4 months ago

"He is married to the former Jessica Wordlaw, who also is a UI graduate. The Howards have a son, Jerrance Jr., and a daughter, Jaya Brooklyn-Rose."

I sense a definite J theme here (as in Jayhawks?). Wecome!!!

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 4 months ago

It's interesting to me because Illinois was looking for a head coach a year ago and I believe they settled for a mediocre Ohio (American East) coach. The coach did alright last season and the Big Ten was brutal last year. I think Jerrance was probably a little green for that type of responsibility.

With Jerrance though don't be surprised if the job comes up in 2-4 years if he isn't the name most mentioned. Glad he came here and hope Bill prepares him for another opportunity.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 4 months ago

The Ohio coach was one of the hot tickets after their March run last year. They'll just be envious of us for a few more decades.

Lash 9 years, 4 months ago

I thought you had a mentor forever unless they died or committed an unforgivable act.

DDDHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Coach Howard, Congratulations! We are very excited to have you join the Jayhawks!

FearlessJayhawk 9 years, 4 months ago

I predict he will do great things for KU basketball.

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

Very cool! I loved him in Hustle and Flow.

Bryce Landon 9 years, 4 months ago

Glad to have Jerrance Howard on board. RCJH!

wrwlumpy 9 years, 4 months ago

What an incredible achievement to be asked to coach by your two college coaches. You must understand, when Bill Self picks you, we Jayhawks don't need to ask if you were a good pick. We already know.

It is time to hop on a private jet and get the best prospects from Chicago and Texas.

Norm has NY and the East coast, Kurtis has the South.

Self's job just got a lot easier. He has become the Closer.

Welcome Coach Howard.

You might need a mouth piece in practice as all the 4 and 5 Stars and Mac-All Americans try to get their minutes on the court.

Bryce Landon 9 years, 4 months ago

Celebrate your achievements somewhere else, Pussycat. And when you actually beat KU on the court, you can bump your chest about being Titletown of the Big 12.

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