Howard Tabbed to Lead Lady Cougars

HowardCOLUMBUS, Ga. --- Columbus State University Director of Athletics Todd Reeser introduced Anita Howard as the next head coach of the Lady Cougar basketball program at a press conference Friday morning.

Howard becomes the third head coach in program history, following Jonathan Norton and Jay Sparks.

"I am pleased to attract a rising star in the basketball coaching profession in Anita Howard to lead our highly successful women's basketball program," CSU Director of Athletics Todd Reeser said. "Anita brings a passion for people and coaching, and her proven ability to recruit and develop young women for success, on and off the court, makes her the perfect choice to lead our program forward.

"I could not be more excited for the future of Columbus State women's basketball."

Howard comes to Columbus State after a pair of winning seasons at NCAA Division II Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C. Howard guided the Lady Blue Bears to a 41-14 record achieving a top-five ranking for the first time in program history. In 2014-15, Howard led Livingstone to a 26-2 overall mark, including winning 23 consecutive games to set the longest winning streak in HBCU history.

"I am thrilled to be the new head coach of the Columbus State University women's basketball program," Howard said. "I have to thank God, my family, President Markwood and Todd Reeser for allowing me this outstanding opportunity. Columbus State has a long tradition of success and it is my goal to take that success to the next level.

"Columbus State has a great foundation that has been laid by my predecessors and I'm looking forward to the challenge of building upon their successes and leading the Lady Cougars to the ultimate goal of a national championship."

Before Livingstone, Howard coached at Division III Salem College in Winston-Salem, N.C. for two seasons. In her first season, Howard turned around Salem leading the Spirits to a 13-win improvement from the season prior and a 17-11 overall record. She was named the Great South Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for her efforts. Just a year later, Howard won Salem's first GSAC Championship with a 22-5 record sending the Spirits to their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance.

Overall, Howard's career coaching record is 79-30, a .724 winning percentage, in four seasons.

Prior to her head coaching stints, Howard was an assistant coach at Winston-Salem State University, Shaw University and Saint Augustine's University. She helped each program find success in her tenure. At Shaw, Howard helped the Lady Bears to a CIAA Championship and a trip to the Division II Final Four in 2010-11. As the associate head coach at Saint Augustine's, the Lady Falcons became one of the top defensive teams in Division II while she also help to produce the 2012 CIAA Player of the Year. At her first coaching stop at Winston-Salem State, Howard helped the team transition into the Division I game ushering in a new era in their women's basketball history.

Howard was a stellar player herself in her collegiate days. She played three seasons from 1998-2001 at Fort Valley State willing FVSU to two Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles. She was named the SIAC's Defensive Player of the Year in all three seasons while also earning a spot on the Dean's List twice. Howard wrapped up her playing days at fellow Peach Belt Conference school Armstrong State where she continued her success. Howard helped the Pirates to their first ever PBC title in 2003 with a 27-3 record. She graduated from Armstrong Magna Cum Laude in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in fine arts design.

Following college, Howard began coaching at the high school and AAU level in Georgia. She took Savannah High School to the school's first state playoff appearance in 25 years. She served as the head coach of the Peach State Elite travel team, coaching several All-State players.

Howard was born in Montgomery, Ala. and is married to Theo Howard. They have three children - Jason, Thallan and Theo II.

What They're Saying

"Columbus State has found a winner in Anita Howard. She brings a wealth of coaching experience to the table and I know she will continue to excel and raise the bar just as she has on every step of her head coaching journey leading up to this new position. Anita has a passion for the game, relates well to her student-athletes, and is a competitor. I know she is excited to be back in her home state and I look forward to watching her do great things at Columbus State." - Joni Taylor, University of Georgia head women's basketball coach

"Anita is a rising star in women's basketball! Her love and passion for the game is evident when you meet her! She is a great role model and a hardworking coach that will have an instant impact at Columbus State!" - MaChelle Joseph, Georgia Tech head women's basketball coach

"Congratulations to Columbus State University for hiring Anita Howard as its new head women's basketball coach. I've observed unparalleled energy and passion in her leadership. She is a true winner and a great person!" - Dwight Howard (no relation), eight-time NBA All-Star

"Columbus State has made an excellent hire in Anita Howard. Anita prides herself on her faith, family, friendships and the future of the young women that she impacts on a daily basis. Anita is a player's coach! Her knowledge and passion for the game is contagious to all who come in contact with her. Anita is a proven winner and competitor. Her team will play with passion, discipline and a competitive spirit. She is a tireless worker who will continue the winning tradition at Columbus State while embarking on establishing an even bigger winning tradition of her own." - Natasha Adair, Georgetown University head women's basketball coach

"I am very happy for Anita! She is a great coach looking to make a impact on the student-athlete on and off the court!" - Josh Howard (no relation), ten-year NBA veteran

"Congratulations to both Columbus State and Anita Howard on Anita's recent appointment as Head Women's Basketball Coach. I have enjoyed getting to know Anita over the last several years with her involvement in our summer camps. She is a fabulous teacher and a rising star full of energy and enthusiasm for this game we all love. The swift turn-around she led at Salem College was remarkable and I am sure the Cougars will benefit from the guidance of this bright young coach immediately." - Jen Hoover, Wake Forest University head women's basketball coach

"I applaud Columbus State for finding and recognizing what a wonderful coach, mentor, and person Anita Howard is. She has helped Livingstone reach amazing milestones and I know she will do an outstanding job leading the women's basketball team at Columbus State. You have secured a proven winner and rising star in our profession!" - Jackie Carson, Furman University head women's basketball coach

"Anita Howard is the consummate professional. She is definitely a rising star in the women's game. Her passion translates into creating a winning culture both on and off the court. I'm excited to see her footprint on the program at Columbus State. You have a true winner on your hands!" - Charlotte Smith, Elon University head women's basketball coach

"I am excited to learn of Coach Howard's hiring as head basketball coach. Her energy and passion should positively impact Columbus State for years to come." - Matt Doherty, former division I head coach and current NBA scout