BY ANDREAS BUTLER
David Howard Sr. is returning home to his alma mater after being named head coach on Monday of the Spruce Creek High School boys’ basketball team.
Howard spent the past six years (2013-14 to 2018-19) as the head coach of the Atlantic Sharks boys’ basketball team.
During that span, he led the Sharks to a 137-41 mark with four playoff appearances. Atlantic went 23-8 and made the playoffs this season (2018-19).
Howard was Spruce Creek boys’ basketball coach from 1997-98 to 2007-08, his first stint with the program. During that time, he led them to a 160-142 record with two playoff appearances.
“You can’t go wrong with Spruce Creek. It’s a great situation. It will take time to get the program back to where it was. I am looking for a challenge. I felt when I went to Atlantic they only won nine games before I got there, which was a challenge. I won at Atlantic and I hope that I can do that at Creek. I want to help these kids reach their potential. It’s always a great day to be a Hawk,” responded Howard.
Ready for challenge
Howard takes over a Hawks’ program that has gone 18-35 over the past two seasons under Chase Tramont who resigned last month. The team was 9-13 this season.
Howard is up to the challenge of turning the program around.
He said, “The challenge is really just teaching the kids how to win. I met with them today and told them that I can do everything but make them believe in themselves. You must change the culture, attitude and mindset. I must get them to believe that they can be winners like everyone else. I did it at Atlantic, they accepted it. If I can do that at Creek, we will win.”
Leaving Atlantic wasn’t an easy move to make for Howard.
“When you commit to kids where they depend upon you to get them college-ready, it’s kind of hard in these situations. We always had a great group of kids coming in each year. We had a great group that graduates this year. It’s never a good time to retire or go to another school, but this may be the best time,” commented Howard.
‘They trust me’
Howard played basketball at Spruce Creek and college ball at Bethune-Cookman.
With his local ties and his success at different levels, Howard plans to use that to help him at Spruce Creek.
Howard stated, “My biggest thing which helped me is that I have been teaching for 30 years. I see kids now who parents I taught and coached coming into the school now. Those kids believed in me, now their parents so they trust me. They trust me with their kids. I think that’s a big plus for me.”
He is also the boys’ basketball coach at Campbell Middle school where he has won four county championships during his tenure (20112019).
“It’s always good to have a good resume. Dr. (Todd) Sparger was looking for the right person. He has known me for a while. A lot of candidates applied for the position. This is a high profile job. He wanted to give me an opportunity and go my direction to get the program back to prominence. I appreciate it,” Howard added, referring to Spruce Creek’s principal.