As a Lieutenant, Howard was named the 14th head football coach for the United States Naval Academy Midshipmen located in Annapolis, Maryland and he held that position for four seasons, from 1911 until 1914. His coaching record at United States Naval Academy was 25 wins, 7 losses, and 4 ties. As of the conclusion of the 2007 season, this ranks him seventh at United States Naval Academy in total wins and sixth at United States Naval Academy in winning percentage (.750).
Howard retired in 1933 and died at Annapolis on December 14, 1936. USS Douglas L. Howard (DE-138) was named in his honor. The ship was launched 24 January 1943 by Consolidated Steel Corp., Ltd., Orange, Texas; sponsored by Mrs. D. I. Thomas, daughter of Captain Howard; and commissioned 29 July 1943, Lieutenant Commander G. D. Kissam, USNR, in command.