For the second installment of the Coaches Corner, we sit down with Men's and Women's Cross Country and Track and Field Coach Andrew Howard. Howard enters his second year coaching at Pfeiffer and looks to build off a solid first season.
When did you know you wanted to be a Cross Country/Track and Field coach?
When I finished my eligibility at Gardner-Webb, I still had one semester of classes left before I graduated. My coach offered me a chance to keep my scholarship if I helped him coach during the cross country season. That semester I really enjoyed the coaching side and went on to coach at my high school that January after I graduated.
How would you grade your first year as the Head Coach?
My first season as head coach has been mixed. We celebrated our first two conference champions and multiple All-Conference performers. But we also finished last as a team on the men's side in all three seasons. I think individually we had a great all-around year but are still searching for success on the team side of things. The women's team finishes are deceptive. If you look, we finished 7th as a team but were only 15 points out of third.
During the past indoor track season, you had 17 athletes break records. What do you attribute the success to?
The success definitely goes to the athletes' hard work. They have committed to getting better every day and worked hard to improve. The broken records show the evolution of our program from it's infancy in 2015. One of the goals we set at the beginning of indoor/outdoor season was to break most of the records set the previous year. This shows the natural progression and improvement of our athletes.
How have your experiences as a Division I athlete at Gardner Webb help you in your coaching career?
The thing you learn from being an athlete at any level is time management, the knowledge of how hard you have to work to stay successful and the commitment that you have to make to be a college athlete. As a coach, I use this knowledge as examples for my athletes. I can relate with them how hard it is, and how much work you have to do. It also gives me a perspective of what they are going through on a day to day basis.
What is your favorite thing about coaching at Pfeiffer?
My favorite thing about coaching at Pfeiffer is just the supportive nature that you get from the Administration, the faculty, the Athletics Administration, and the general community. Being a young coach, it has been very helpful to receive advice and help in navigating the pitfalls of college coaching. I have learned a lot and have been given the tools to be successful.