La Salle Found Their Man

Photo Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

He was right here in Philadelphia.

Ashley Howard, Jay Wright’s top assistant at Villanova, will take over as the Explorers’ next head basketball coach following the departure of Dr. John Giannini after 14 seasons.

You might not know much about him, but you’ve probably seen a lot of him, speaking with Wright on the Nova bench from 2013 to 2018, a stretch that featured a lot of winning and very little losing.

Howard is a Philly native, a Bonner and Drexel grad who saw a collegiate playing career with the Dragons cut short when he was diagnosed with a heart condition. He took an assistant coaching job at La Salle in 2004, went back to Drexel in 2008 in a similar role, and then joined up with Wright five years ago.

Josh Verlin at City of Basketball Love, my go-to site for local hoops, wrote a bit about Howard’s candidacy for the job:

“Ask anybody around Philly hoops which area assistant coach was like to become a head coach, and Ashley Howard was the first name out of his or her mouth.

A poll last August had Howard as one of the nine assistant coaches voted “most likely to become a coaching star” at some point in his career. Yahoo! Sports’ Pete Thamel had Howard fifth on his list of 12 assistants ready for head coaching looks this offseason. Like Baker Dunleavy, who left Jay Wright’s staff to take over the Quinnipiac job last offseason, it seemed almost inevitable that this was the year that Howard would make the jump himself.

So when La Salle’s head coaching job opened up, Howard’s name immediately came to mind as one of the top potential candidates. Former La Salle star Tim Legler, who had NBA playing and AAU coaching experience but none on a Division I sideline, became a hot name as well, and (Athletic Director Bill) Bradshaw also brought in Duke associate head coach Nate James for an interview.

But there’s no denying all the intangibles Howard had, and as long as he wanted the job — which clearly, he did — then it was going to be his job to lose.”

Howard’s father Maurice was a standout at the University of Maryland in the mid-1970s and was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the 1976 draft.

He’ll have his work cut out for him trying to turn around a La Salle program that has gone 69 and 88 in the five seasons since Tyrone Garland’s “Southwest Philly Floater” carried the Explorers into the Sweet 16. Dr. John finished with a 212 and 226 record after what felt like an eternity on Olney Avenue.

I personally have no dog in the fight, but I enjoy relevant college basketball and I appreciate the infusion of new blood into the Big Five:

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8 Responses

  1. If you want to write an article, write on on why there were 99.9% old white guys behind patrick reed when he accepted
    the trophy from the augusta golf chairman.

  2. It’s going to be Impossible for bruiser flint to win at that school with the shitty facilities.

  3. S@ndusky going up the elevator with the young boy while Joe watched at the hotel they were staying at when they played the Alamo Bowl. S@ndusky has a smirk on his face. That scene in the movie said all that was needed to be said.

  4. Hey Kyle,

    We are still waiting for fake ‘Welcome Back Kotter’ Gabe Kaplan/Kapler
    shirts. When are you going to think up some new designs?

    I’ll take 2 dozen for 7$ a piece. I can easily sell these for 9$ each
    in front of the stadium along with cold bottles of tap water from
    my 5 gallon bucket of ice for 2$ each and ‘only dropped once’
    pretzels for $2 each.

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