PULLMAN WSU Football Head Coach Paul Wulff announced Thursday that Todd Howard has joined the Cougar Football staff as defensive line coach. Howard replaces Malik Roberson, whose contract was not renewed for the 2011 season.
Additionally, Wulff announced that Chris Ball is the team’s assistant head coach and lone defensive coordinator, while Jody Sears remains coaching cornerbacks.
“Todd brings a great deal of experience to our program,” Wulff said. “He has coached at the highest levels of collegiate football while also serving on two different coaching staffs in the NFL. He has a lot of experience recruiting the Los Angeles area, which was a priority for us, and he also has coached All-Americans and numerous All-Conference players.”
Prior to arriving in Pullman, Howard spent five seasons as the defensive line coach/associate head coach of defense at UCLA. There he coached All-Americans Justin Hickman and Brian Price, the latter earning 2009 Pacific-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. This past season he mentored true freshmen Cassius Marsh and Owamagbe Odighizuwa, both earning 2010 All-Pac-10 Freshmen honors from Rivals.com.
Howard spent the previous three seasons (2003-05) in the National Football League with the Jacksonville Jaguars, serving as assistant defensive line coach. He assisted the defensive coaching staff in all aspects of game preparation, including scouting reports, the statistical analysis of opponents’ tendencies and the preparation of playbooks.
Along with defensive line coach Ray Hamilton, Howard oversaw the Jaguars’ defensive line. In 2005, Jacksonville led the NFL in fewest rushing touchdowns allowed (four). In addition, the Jaguars ranked third (tied) with 47 quarterback sacks, sixth in total defense (290.9 yards) and 14th in rushing defense (106.8 yards). Defensive tackle Marcus Stroud earned a Pro Bowl appearance for the third straight time and defensive tackle John Henderson was an alternate in 2005 after making the team in 2004.
Howard has 14 years of experience coaching in college and five in the NFL, in addition to having played in the NFL for two seasons. He spent three seasons (2000-2002) as the linebackers coach at Louisiana Tech. Prior to that, he was a defensive assistant for two years (1998-1999) with the St. Louis Rams, who won the Super Bowl in Howard’s second season. With the Rams, he assisted with the linebackers in the area of pass-rushing techniques, as well as working on defensive game preparation, film evaluation and quality control.
For one month prior to joining the Jaguars, Howard was the associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator at Southwest Texas State. He began his coaching career in 1991 at Texas A&M and was a member of three Southwest Conference champion coaching staffs. He coached at Grinnell (Iowa) College from 1994 through 1997, and served as the defensive coordinator in 1996 and 1997. In addition, he was a member of the NFL’s minority coaching program with the Washington Redskins in their 1997 training camp, helping on defense.
Howard was a third-round draft choice of the Kansas City Chiefs in 1987 and played in the NFL for two seasons as an inside linebacker and on the special teams. He played for the Barcelona Dragons of the World League in 1991 and was on injured reserve throughout the 1992 season. Howard was an all-conference and honorable mention All-America at Texas A&M, where he started at linebacker for three seasons (1984-86) on teams which won a pair of conference titles.
A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M with a degree in sociology, Howard received his master’s degree in human resources from the same university in 1995. He has three children, Trey, David and Ava.