Former Illini point guard Jerrance Howard has rejoined the program as an assistant coach.
Sept. 19, 2007
Champaign, Ill. - Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber announced today the hiring of Jerrance Howard as an assistant coach on the Fighting Illini basketball staff.
A native of Peoria, Ill., Howard was a four-year letterwinner for the Fighting Illini from 2001-04. During his career, Illinois compiled a record of 104-31 overall and 48-16 in the Big Ten. The Illini won three Big Ten championships, a Big Ten Tournament title and appeared in the NCAA Tournament all four years, advancing to the Elite Eight in 2001 and the Sweet 16 in both 2002 and 2004.
Howard played point guard for the Illini, backing up All-Americans Frank Williams, Dee Brown and Deron Williams. He quickly developed a reputation as the program's inspirational leader and went on to serve as tri-captain as a junior and senior. He was also a two-time winner of the Kenny Battle Award, an accolade voted upon by the players and coaches and given to an Illini who earns the respect of his teammates through hard work and effort in games and practice each day.
"We are thrilled to have Jerrance join our staff and welcome him back home," Weber said. "Jerrance has tremendous passion for the University of Illinois and our basketball program. He connects with everyone, his attitude and personality is contagious, and he'll work tirelessly to develop relationships on the recruiting trail. At the same time, he'll benefit our current players with the energy and intensity he will bring to the gym each and every day, just as he did when he was a player here. I've said this many times before, but when I think back to our first season, I really believe he was the MVP of our team because of the way he kept us together during the transition."
Howard joins the UI program after serving for the past three-plus years under Billy Gillispie at Texas A&M as an administrative assistant and at Kentucky in basketball operations. Howard, 27, earned a bachelor's degree in speech communications from the University of Illinois in 2004. In August he married the former Jessica Wordlaw, who is also an Illinois graduate.
Former Illini on Jerrance Howard...
"This is great for the program. Jerrance was at Illinois when Deron and I first got there, and he took us under his wing and expressed to us how important it is to rock the Orange and Blue. He taught me what it means to be a great teammate and is a guy who I've always looked up to and admired for his character. It's going to be huge having him back because there's no one that is more loyal or has more passion for the university and the basketball program than Jerrance. He's a natural born leader and a winner."
"I'm definitely excited for Jerrance and for Illinois. He gets the best out of people and was born to coach. He's made great ties in a short amount of time and is ready to prove himself. Jerrance was always a leader in our locker room, solving problems and helping bring guys together. I watched the way he carried himself when we were at Illinois and have tried to develop those same leadership qualities with my teammates in Utah."
"Jerrance is a proven leader that bleeds Orange and Blue. He was the glue guy for us at Illinois. He kept everyone's spirits up and was always there if you needed him. He's played the game and been around it at a high level so he knows what it takes to make it. He also knows a lot about team chemistry, and I think that's key for a coach. His personality is what separates him from the rest of us. Jerrance has a lot of heart and a bull dog mentality whenever he steps on the court, and I think he'll take that same approach and use it to his advantage in coaching and recruiting."
"Jerrance is a great fit and an obvious choice. He's always told us that he wanted to coach at Illinois and now he's achieved that goal. Jerrance is a high-energy guy who gets along with everybody; coaches, players, kids, parents, teachers, you name it. When we played together we all respected him because of how he gave it his all every day and kept things competitive and fun at the same time."
"Jerrance's passion for the U of I, coupled with his magnetic personality, is just what the Illini need. He has worn the uniform and will be dedicated to helping continue the success of our program. I think he's going to do a fantastic job."