When It Comes to Sports, Howard Ain’t Playing With Ya’ll Anymore

Big names are heading to Washington on a regular basis.

Big names are heading to Washington on a regular basis.

Howard University landed a big name for its head coaching vacancy this afternoon, former University of Virginia football coach Mike London. He won the press conference with the familiar pledge that HU, which has failed to live up to its institutional birthright as a black college sports powerhouse for more than a decade, would return to its winning ways in short order.

Mr. London Goes To Washington: Howard must give big-time coach tools to succeed
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It’s hard not to believe him. In less than two years, Howard President Wayne Frederick hired former HBO executive Kery Davis as athletic director, and the duo announced a groundbreaking apparel deal with Under Armour, and promotional deals with Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

That’s not to mention the big-name college athletes committing to Howard. Last fall it was national point guard prospect R.J. Cole out of vaunted St. Anthony’s in New Jersey. This week it was three-star quarterback prospect Caylin Newton, brother of NFL MVP Cam Newton.

Both have been covered extensively by ESPN’s ‘The Undefeated.’

It’s clear that Howard believes athletics to be a central component of it’s full campus renaissance, and the philosophy rings true. Washington D.C. is a basketball hotbed, but borders the football-addled culture of the south and has an opportunity to capture the attention of national media (the Washington Post and USA Today are stationed in the DMV), and a lion’s share of wealthy black folks with alumni ties and heartfelt support for the nation’s flagship HBCU.

Its proximity to media, money, and athletic talent puts the school in position to do what Stanford has done on the west coast; meld high quality academics with a sports profile that is competitive in down years, and championship-caliber in good years.

Howard is attracting talent. Wins and facilities are up next. And much like HBCU sports are better when teams like FAMU, Grambling, Southern, Tuskegee, Tennessee State and North Carolina A&T are good, it is time for the grandaddy of them all to play catch up.