1-on-1: From Monsignor Bonner player to La Salle head coach, Ashley Howard's career is rooted in Philly

Matt Leon
July 26, 2019 - 3:11 pm
Ashley Howard

Matt Leon/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Ashley Howard is getting ready for his second season as the men's basketball coach at La Salle University.

The Explorers went 10-21 in Howard's first season at the helm in 2018-19, but they made rapid improvement after an 0-10 start to play nearly .500 basketball over the final two-thirds of the season. 

"Starting from where we started off, I was beyond pleased with how our team developed," he said. "It was a huge testament to the character of our guys, the character of our coaching staff, that we didn't fold starting off the way we started off. It was difficult and we had to keep coming back every day with the goal of getting better, and I think we did that."

Howard has deep roots in Philadelphia basketball. His father, Maurice Howard, was a star at St. Joseph's Preparatory School and went on to play at Maryland and in the NBA. 

Ashley Howard also played at St. Joe's Prep, as well as Monsignor Bonner High School in Upper Darby. He then went on to play at Drexel. A guard, Howard had two solid years to start his career with the Dragons, but then his playing career came to an abrupt end after he was diagnosed with a heart condition.

"That was a very, very difficult time for me," he admitted. "Probably the biggest experience in adversity I had ever faced."

Although the door on his playing career closed, another one opened.

"Fortunate enough for me, our head coach at the time, Bruiser Flint, along with his assistant coach(es) — Geoff Arnold, Chuck Martin, Mike Connors — those guys were so supportive of me during that time, where they just said, 'Listen, you have to stay around with the team. We all believe that you have what it takes to be a great coach.' "

Howard went on to serve as a student assistant coach. He later served as an assistant with La Salle, returned to Drexel as an assistant, then Xavier and Villanova, helping the Wildcats win two national titles. In 2018, he received his first head coaching opportunity with the Explorers.

You can listen to the entire interview with Ashley Howard on 1-on-1 with Matt Leon below. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.