‘Team effort’ helping to bring Howard back home

Published 1:41 am Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Jim Walker

MARYVILLE, TN — Rick Howard is coming home and he’s bringing his own entourage.
Howard is a former All-Ohio football and basketball player for Ironton who is currently the head basketball coach of  the Heritage Lady Mountaineers basketball team.
Howard is coming home and bringing his team to play in the Raceland (Ky.) Mr. Micro Computers Ohio River Classic.
Howard has been teaching and coaching at Heritage for the past 30 years and he has spent the past 16 years as the head coach.
Raceland head coach Ron Keeton took his team to a Heritage tournament last year and Howard asked if he could return the favor.
“He came here last year and I said ‘if you have tournament I’d love to come back home before I retire,’” said Howard.
“I finally get a chance to come back home. I’m pretty excited.”
Heritage plays West Carter at 5 p.m. on Wednesday in the quarterfinals.
“Hopefully my team,” said Howard.
Howard was Ironton’s fullback in 1976-77 season and a starting guard for the basketball for three seasons.  He helped lead the Fighting Tigers to the Class AA regional finals.
Howard — who played football at Salem College in West Virginia — also played baseball and ran track in Saturday meets.
“He was a heck of athlete and he was a tough kid,” said Mike Burcham who coached Howard in football and baseball.
Howard has won more than 350 games during his tenure. His program has produced 10 Division I players including guard Cait McMahan who went to Tennessee and played on two national championship teams.
Howard got to be close friends with the late, great Lady Vols’ coach Pat Summitt.
“She was a great person. It was really sad when she passed,” said Howard,
Not only does Howard deal with girls during his school hours, but he has two daughters of his own at home.
Brooke, 21, attends Tennessee while Kayla, 19, attends the Tennessee School of Beauty.

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