Howard University introduced Monday new head football coach Ron Prince, who said that he plans to use his years of coaching experience at the collegiate and professional levels to create a dominant power in the Washington area.
At a press conference packed with many of the team’s players, Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick welcomed Prince, former head coach at Kansas State and offensive line coach for the Detroit Lions, as the man to lead the Bison into the future because “football at Howard is not a hobby — we want to win in the classroom and on the field.”
Prince will replace Mike London, who left last month to coach at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. London posted an 11-10 record in his two seasons at Howard, including 4-6 in 2018.
Prince is currently an offensive analyst for the University of Michigan, which went 10-2 this season an earned a bid in the Peach Bowl.
“This institution wins and it wins in everything that it does and it should have a football team that wins on a similar level,” said Prince during Monday’s press conference, where he credited former University of Virginia coach Al Grow and former Howard University and South Carolina State coach Willie Jeffries for grooming him into what he has become.
Prince, a native of Kansas, also talked about how his mother was a domestic and how his father served in the Army.
“My mother would say, ‘Son, if you are going to play, then play to win,” he said.
He went onto Dodge City Community College before transferred to Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, where he graduated in 1992.
Prince has worked as a offensive line coach at Alabama A&M, South Carolina State and James Madison universities. In 2006, he became the head coach at Kansas State, where he led his team to the Texas Bowl and became the third-youngest coach in NCAA Division I-A and the first African-American coach in the school’s history.
Prince said while he has worked at many great institutions, including Cornel, Rutgers, Virginia and Michigan, he is “humbled” to come to Howard because it leads the country in terms of academics and graduates in many field.
“If you don’t have a solid academic footing and you don’t have that to sell to parents in their homes, you are not selling much of substance,” he said.
As Prince talked, there were several rows of Howard players and coaches listening to his every word, including quarterback Caylin Newton, the brother of NFL superstar Cam Newton and the 2018 Black College Football Player of the Year.
“I am extremely excited,” Newton said. “I understand the business of football, the business of college athletics. My first two years, I was under Coach Mike London, [and] he was a greater leader for us, but to see Coach Prince, a guy like him to come in and not miss a beat, I am extremely excited. He is an offensive-minded guy and I’m ready to see what he has for me as a leader on the team as a quarterback.”
Howard athletic director Kerry Davis said he feels like Prince will be a good fit.
“He understands the rigors of that Howard has as an academic institution but he also comes with the desire, discipline and passion to win and that is why I came here,” Davis said. “I didn’t come here [just] because I wanted to work with young Black people like myself, I came here because I thought Howard was a diamond in the rough who like other academic institutions could excel in athletics.”
While some people look at the hiring of a new head coach at Howard in terms of recruiting, Newton said he has been telling recruits and former players that at the end of the day, a coach doesn’t play the game, they do.
“You never see a coach step out on the field and make a touchdown — all we do is do what we are told,” Newton said. “The coaches design the players and put us in position to make a play but at the end of the day we will have the friendships years after we graduate.”