Hester the perfect fit for Howard

January 17, 2013 

The Howard football program is in need of a clear plan moving into its future.

If there is a coach who has a definitive path to winning games, it is Barney Hester.

That’s what makes him the perfect coach to take over the Huskies’ program, and it’s why Thursday’s announcement that he would do just that makes so much sense.

Howard’s program will be entering its sixth season in 2013, and it has gone 5-45 so far. The Huskies haven’t won a game since midway through the 2010 season.

Hester will be the program’s third head coach since it kicked off play in 2008, and he takes over a program in need of some straightforward direction and leadership. Hester certainly can improve those two areas of the program just by walking on the campus.

More importantly, he has shown he knows what it takes to win games: discipline, hard work and a plan that has been developed over time.

Hester has 322 career wins as he moves over from Tattnall Square to Howard, and he has spent the past 31 seasons with the Trojans. During that time, Tattnall won 11 state titles in the GISA. Hester also coached at Josey Academy and Gordon-Ivey, but things really took off when he moved to Tattnall.

In his third season, the Trojans won 11 games, and things really haven’t slowed down since. Under Hester, the Trojans reached double digits in wins in 20 different seasons, including five straight times from the late 1980s to early 1990s and six straight times covering the final four years of the past decade and the first two years of this one.

In short, Hester built a winning culture at Tattnall. The Trojans didn’t stop winning when star players graduated and moved on in their lives. The team just moved in new players and won more games, and the cycle continued and built upon itself.

That’s exactly what Howard needs. With a new program, there are expected struggles, but Howard has had more than its share.

Bobby Hughes started the program in 2008 and won one game before a move in the right direction with a three-win season in 2009. But the Huskies took a step backward in 2010 with a 1-9 season, and Hughes left the program and was replaced by David Cape. Under Cape, the Huskies had back-to-back winless seasons, and they have lost 24 straight games overall.

That’s not all on the head coaches. The players, assistant coaches, parents and ­administration have to all buy into what is going on within a program to make it a winner and create a winning atmosphere. One man can’t do that.

But a coach with Hester’s credentials certainly adds some respectability to the program immediately, and his leadership gives the program an instant boost. The others -- the players, assistant coaches, parents and administration -- have to follow that lead and all head down the same path together.

And Thursday’s announcement was the right step in that direction.

Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or dshirley@macon.com

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