Coach Howard and the future of LU football ay -jcr -dlh

Tony Totoraitis

Chris Howard is a leader familiar with winning at the college football level. From Southern Utah to St. Norbert College, student athletes running his schemes have achieved on whatever side of the ball the versatile coach has directed. For Coach Howard, the desire to run a program and call all the shots in his native Appleton proved to be the most appealing aspect of the position.
“My goal is to teach my players to pay attention to what is important, and how to finish football games. I will work to get every student athlete on the field in a position to succeed,” said Howard.
This is his first chance to display his skills directing an entire program, and Howard plans on doing whatever it takes to win football games. Arriving in a situation with players not recruited for his preferred schemes, Howard will be forced to draw up temporary offensive and defensive systems based on what talent the Vikings have returning. Current players shouldn’t be too comfortable though. Every job is up for grabs, and hard work in the offseason will show the head coach who can be trusted on the field in the waning moments of the fourth quarter.
In the coming seasons his recruiting will be focused on reclaiming Lawrence’s backyard. Bringing prestige back to the program will enable Howard and his recruiting staff to scour high school games from De Pere to Oshkosh and draw interest from talented athletes. Howard is quick to admit that recruiting will prove to be an arduous uphill battle: “The quality athletes in the area don’t know they want to play for LU yet. We have time to prove ourselves and re-establish LU atop the MWC, which is the ultimate goal.”
Howard was reluctant to divulge his detailed plans or goals for the turnaround but was confident significant process could be made in the short term. “We are going to be as good as we can be starting in week one. If athletes buy into my system, remarkable results are possible. However, they each still have to lift, run, and make tackles.”
When Lawrence’s head coaching position became vacant, Howard needed to feel that the LU administration shared his dedication before joining the Lawrence family. A head coach assumes all the responsibility for his program. If a coach were in a situation where the administration did not support and share his goals, the team’s success would be limited from day one. But President Beck, with her renewal of LU’s past covenant to winning, has given Howard confidence in the support of the administration.
In the past, the attention and funding for the athletic department has been suspect. But in her first year, Beck has set into motion significant change in the athletic department and seems to be priming LU to return to its former standing in college athletics. “I find President Beck’s interest and commitment to athletics very refreshing. She has been very good (for the program) during my brief time here,” said Howard. A twofold plan to upgrade the training facilities for the use of all athletic teams has already begun. Coach Howard is optimistic that, with the support of the administration, gradual changes will be made to provide adequate training facilities.