BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) – Greenwood football head coach William Howard’s humble roots go back to his playing days.
“You know football was just something that you did you know you just played,” Howard said. “You did it because you wanted to be with your friends, you wanted to have fun and you love playing sports.”
A former football star for the Allen County-Scottsville Patriots, Howard took those skills to Jack Harbaugh’s Western Kentucky squad from 1991 to 1994 as a defensive lineman.
“I was blessed to be able to do that and be able to go to a school that was close and had a good program and you know, Coach Harbaugh was a great coach and somebody that has been a mentor to me.”
Two decades and three kids later, he applies those high expectations to his children: Katie, Lofton and Griffin.
“Those expectations don’t change. So they get it from both parents and so they don’t get a break like a lot of these kids,” William said.
Katie was a volleyball standout for the Greenwood Gators, winning a district title every year she played. That earned her a spot on Travis Hudson’s WKU volleyball team.
Hudson is also the same coach who went to WKU at the same time as William.
“I remember the competitor that he was as a player. He was a tough competitive dude and Katie’s family has got an athletic mindset,” Hudson said. “Obviously, she’s been around it, been around that football field, but watched her dad all these years and, and she’s a competitive young woman and we’re looking forward to the future with her.”
Katie can concur with her head coach.
“He’s [my dad] more calm and more relatable. I feel like where I’ll have a conversation with my mom, and then my dad will be like, ‘Okay, but you know, their side and this is how it goes and the competitive side of it. You’re just being competitive.’”
The apple didn’t fall far off for Lofton either. A junior at Greenwood, he plays varsity basketball and is a two-way star for his dad on the football team. But, that doesn’t come with special treatment.
“I tried to get that off my hands. And you know, he’s somebody that’s extremely intelligent in the game of football, you know, he knows what’s going on. And you know, part of that comes with the fact that that I’m at home watching the film with him,” William said.
Griffin meanwhile, is still an eighth grader – except he has big aspirations too. All three Howard children learned those aspirations in the backyard.
“We were literally talking about this the other day, we were playing ultimate football. Like me, it’d be me and my dad versus Lofton and Griffin and it like it would always end and I was like crying and so because we’d be so competitive. Because we’d be so competitive and stuff.”
“I think it’s it’s not just about football, and like, it’s about being a young man and how to grow up and raise your children and it’s it starts at football. That’s where you start everything you know, and then it just builds up and up from there,” Lofton said.
That hard work has paid off so far. Katie was recently named to the 2021 C-USA All-Freshman Team. Lofton was also named the Class 5A, District Two Player of the Year in football.
Their true reward though, comes off the field.
“All that stuff is kind of irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. You know, it’s about growing up and using those tools that you learn in athletics to be a great young man or a great young lady,” William said.
“My whole family comes to support us. We’re really supportive family. And I think that that means a lot for us individually. Yeah, we are very supportive of each other. If one was not there, we’re definitely going to notice it,” Griffin said.
Which means that you can’t forget about the Howard matriarch, Stacy.
“The big part is my wife, what she’s done for our family and how she’s made sure that no matter what events are going on, whether it’s a Rubik’s Cube competition, or if it’s a volleyball regional championship, that somebody is going to be there.”
Being there with humility – the Howard way.
“I don’t even feel like we’re such a big deal if that makes sense. You just don’t know how much how many people you impact, and the things that you do just through sports.”
Copyright 2021 WBKO. All rights reserved.