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May 31, 2013Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self announced Friday that Jerrance Howard will join his staff as an assistant coach for the Jayhawks.
Howard comes to KU after one season in the same position on Larry Brown's staff at SMU. He replaces Joe Dooley who left KU after 10 seasons to become the head coach at Florida Gulf Coast in April.
"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," Self said. "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."
Prior to SMU, where the Mustangs were 15-17 in Brown's first year, Howard spent the previous five seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Illinois. While at UI he earned a reputation as one of the top young assistant coaches in the country and one of the nation's best recruiters. Before Illinois, Howard spent three-plus seasons on Billy Gillispie's staffs at Texas A&M and Kentucky.
"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."
A Peoria, Ill., native, Howard was a four-year letterwinner for the Fighting Illini from 2001-04, including three seasons for Self. During his career, Illinois compiled a record of 104-31 overall and 48-16 in the Big Ten Conference. The Illini won three Big Ten championships (2001, 2002, 2004), a Big Ten Tournament title (2003) and appeared in the NCAA Tournament all four years, advancing to the Elite Eight in 2001 and the Sweet 16 in both 2002 and 2004.
"I'll bring energy and enthusiasm every day," Howard said. "I've been in the trenches like the other coaches, fighting with that energy every day in practice, preparation and all aspects of the program. I have a great relationship with Norm Roberts and I love Kurtis Townsend. I'm really looking forward to and am excited about being on staff and learning from those guys. They are two of the best guys in the business."
Howard brings with him a strong playing career, over half of which was spent under Self. He played point guard for the Illini, backing up 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 in the years I was at Illinois."
Howard developed a reputation as the program's inspirational leader was a team captain his junior and senior seasons. He also was a two-time winner of the Kenny Battle Award, an accolade voted upon by the players and coaches and given to an Illini who earns the respect of his teammates through hard work and effort in games and practice each day.
"This came about from me playing for Coach Self at Illinois," Howard said. "We did some special things - winning Big Ten titles and going to the Elite Eight - but it was Coach Self who inspired me to coach basketball. I remember him after practice one day asking 'have you ever thought about coaching?' and I said 'not really' and he said 'well you need to think about it.' I credit Coach Self getting me started in my coaching career."
Howard earned a bachelor's degree in speech communication from the University of Illinois in 2004. He is married to the former Jessica Wordlaw, who also is an Illinois graduate. The Howards have a son, Jerrance Jr., and a daughter, Jaya Brooklyn-Rose.
"One of the important fits for me in selecting an assistant coach is that I wanted someone who is loyal, a tireless worker, has great contacts and will bring something to the table recruiting-wise," Self said. "From a basketball standpoint, I wanted someone that through their experiences could also add to what we are doing and Jerrance can certainly do that. 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."