Gary Howard (American football)

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Gary Howard
Biographical details
Born (1942-01-03) January 3, 1942 (age 79)
Fort Smith, Arkansas
Alma materUniversity of Central Oklahoma (master's)
Playing career
Position(s)Offensive guard, linebacker
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1964Arkansas (OL)
1965–1966Del City HS (OK) (assistant)
1967Northeastern A&M (OK) (DL)
1968–1976Central State (DC)
1977–2002Central State / Central Oklahoma
Head coaching record
Tournaments5–3 (NAIA D-I playoffs)
2–3 (NCAA D-II playoffs)
Accomplishments and honors
1 NAIA Division I National (1982)
2 LSC (1998–1999)
NAIA National Coach of the Year (1982)[1]
LSC North Coach of the Year (1997–1998)

Gary Howard (born January 3, 1942) is a former American football coach. He served as the head football coach at the University of Central Oklahoma—from 1977 to 2002, compiling a career college football record of 161–106–6, four NAIA playoff appearances, three NCAA Division II playoff appearances, two conference championships, and a national championship.[2][3] He is winningest coach the history of the Central Oklahoma program.

Early life[edit]

Howard was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He attended Tulsa Central High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he played football, and basketball under Eddie Sutton.[1][4] He attended the University of Arkansas and played offensive line and linebacker under Frank Broyles from 1960 to 1963.

Early coaching[edit]

Howard began his coaching career in 1964 as the offensive line coach at Arkansas. During that season the team won a share of the National Championship.[5] In 1965 and 1966 Howard was an assistant at Del City High School in Del City, Oklahoma. He was an assistant coach at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, Oklahoma.[6] While at NEO the Norsemen won the 1967 NJCAA National Football Championship.[7] Prior to the 1968 season, Howard accepted a position at Central State College in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Central Oklahoma[edit]

NAIA era[edit]

Howard became the defensive coordinator at Central State College in 1968 under Phil Ball. In 1977 Howard succeeded Ball as the head coach. He oversaw the program's transition from a brief period in NCAA Division II back to NAIA competition, as an independent.[8] During the first two seasons Howard's Bronchos went 12–8–1. In 1979, he led the Bronchos to the program's third NAIA playoff appearance and an 11–2 record. The Bronchos lost the NAIA National Championship Game to Texas A&I 20–14. Three years later he returned to the playoffs this time winning the NAIA National Championship over Mesa State 14–11. Howard also won the NAIA Coach of the Year award. The next season the Bronchos returned to the playoffs but lost to Saginaw Valley State in the first round. In 1985 the Bronchos lost in the first round to Henderson State in the institution's final NAIA playoff appearance.[3]

NCAA Division II era[edit]

In 1988 the Bronchos re-joined the NCAA where the joined the Lone Star Conference. The Bronchos struggled for several seasons including a 0–10–1 record in 1989. In 1996 the renamed Central Oklahoma Bronchos posted a 9–3 record, finished second in the Lone Star Conference, and made the program's first appearance in the NCAA Division II playoffs. The first game against Chadron State ended in a Broncho victory. The Bronchos lost in the second round against UC Davis.[3] The next season the Lone Star Conference underwent conference expansion, adding schools from Arkansas and Oklahoma, and split into two divisions.[9] The first year of the new format the Bronchos captured the North Division title, and Howard won the North Division coach of the year award.[10] In 1998 the Bronchos finished the regular season undefeated, and won their first Lone Star Conference Championship. However, in the NCAA playoffs the UCO lost in the second round to conference foe Texas A&M–Kingsville. In 2000 TAMU–K forfeited their entire 1998 season following NCAA infractions. In 1999 the Bronchos also won the Conference title. The final three years experienced a decline of a 5–5, 3–8, and 5–6 records. Howard was fired after the 2002 season. He finished with an overall record of 161–106–6.[3][11]

Personal life[edit]

Howard is married.[4]

Head coaching record[edit]

College football[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs AFCA#
Central State Bronchos (NCAA Division II independent) (1977–1978)
1977 Central State 5–5–1
1978 Central State 7–3
Central State Bronchos (NAIA Division I independent) (1979–1987)
1979 Central State 11–2 L NAIA Division I Championship
1980 Central State 5–4
1981 Central State 7–2
1982 Central State 10–2 W NAIA Division I Championship
1983 Central State 8–1–1 L NAIA Division I First Round
1984 Central State 7–3
1985 Central State 7–2–1 L NAIA Division I First Round
1986 Central State 3–5–1
1987 Central State 2–8
Central State / Central Oklahoma Bronchos (Lone Star Conference) (1988–2002)
1988 Central State 4–5 4–3 T–4th
1989 Central State 0–10–1 0–7 8th
1990 Central State 4–6 3–4 5th
1991 Central Oklahoma 3–7 1–5 T–5th
1992 Central Oklahoma 6–4 2–4 T–5th
1998 Central Oklahoma 7–3 2–3 4th
1994 Central Oklahoma 6–3–1 2–2–1 3rd
1995 Central Oklahoma 8–3 4–3 4th
1996 Central Oklahoma 9–3 5–2 2nd L NCAA Second Round
1997 Central Oklahoma 9–2 7–2 3rd, 1st (North)
1998 Central Oklahoma 12–1 9–0 1st, 1st (North) L NCAA Second Round
1999 Central Oklahoma 8–3 6–2 T–1st, T–2nd (North) L NCAA First Round
2000 Central Oklahoma 5–6 4–4 8th, 4th (North)
2001 Central Oklahoma 3–8 1–7 12th, 6th (North)
2002 Central Oklahoma 5–6 4–4 8th, 4th (North)
Central Oklahoma: 161–106–6 55–51–1
Total: 161–106–6
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


  1. ^ a b "The Gary Howard File". The Oklahoman 2002. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  2. ^ DeLassus, David (2015). "Gary Howard Records by Year". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d "2013 UCO Media Guide". Mike Kirk. 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Biography GARY HOWARD". The Oklahoman August 15, 1999. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  5. ^ "Retired Coaches H". Hog December 13, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  6. ^ Wells, Bill (July 24, 1987). "LOOKING BACK ON OKLAHOMA July 24". The Oklahoman Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  7. ^ "Hall of Fame". neoathletics. 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  8. ^ Bentley, Mac (February 12, 1987). "LOOKING BACK ON OKLAHOMA February 12". The Oklahoman Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  9. ^ "2013 Lone Star Conference Fall Sports Media Guide". Lone Star Conference. 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  10. ^ "Howard Selected Top Coach". Tulsa World. November 19, 1997. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  11. ^ Colon, Bob (November 19, 2002). "UCO releases Howard Firing surprises coach". The Oklahoman. Retrieved May 17, 2015.

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