Catching up with Howard Pride

I understand you are an assistant coach at UAB. How did you wind up there?

I have been friends with Coach Mike Davis since he was the coach at Indiana. He had an opening on his staff last Spring and invited me to come down to Birmingham to talk about it and he offered me the same day.

What would you have done if UAB played Vandy in the NCAA tournament this year? Calling in sick isn’t an option.

I would be excited because both teams wold be fortunate to have made the field of 65! I would have mixed emotions until the game starts and then I am coaching to win.

Is it your ultimate goal to be a head coach one day?

I would love to coach at an NCAA Institution. That is my ultimate goal. I have been a head coach at the High school level and I loved that experience.

Why did you decide to come to Vanderbilt?

I enjoyed the coaching staff, location, academics, conference, players, and fans. Coach Fogler was a great recruiter and very personable. I love his vision for the Vanderbilt Basketball program and the style of play. I think Nashville is one of the best cities in the Southeast. Vanderbilt University was/is second to none! The SEC was the Premier Basketball Conference at that time. The team was awesome and displayed such great team chemistry. Malik Evans and Ronnie McMahan are still two of my good friends.

What are you most proud of from your days at Vanderbilt?

I am proud of the Academic Challenges that I endured because they have helped me persevere through some difficult challenges in my professional Life. I had some great professors (Kathy Hoover Dempsey and Howard Sandler who also was my Advisor) and two wonderful Mentors: Late Coach Martin and Dr. Ann Neely.

Where was the hardest place to play?

The hardest place to play to was in Oxford, Mississippi at Ole Miss. The lack of atmosphere and they played so hard that it was like a street fight. You left all battered and bruised.

Who was the best player you played against?

The Best player I played against was Billy McCaffery in practice!

What did think of this years Commodore team?

I think Kevin Stallings is one of the Best coaches in the Country and has a good staff. They have a great inside/outside combo with Shane Foster and A.J Ogilivy. They are fun to watch and they can really score.

Your freshman year we beat Wake Forest, a team that included Tim Duncan and a few other future NBA players. What do you remember about that game?

I remember thinking that this freshman has a double- double at the half and coach was really upset but we were doing a great job on him because they had a great guard in Randolph Childress so we had to stay home on him. I knew he was Special and thus I was a fan of his from that night forward. The Spurs are my favorite team today.

What do you remember about losing to Villanova in the NIT finals that year?

It was tale of two halves. We had a great first half and then Billy got hurt and Frank was wonderful but we had no answer for the balance of Villanova and Kerry Kittles.

Your sophomore year what do you remember about the overtime victory over a great Alabama team at home?

It was a special night for me because I did not play in the game in Tuscaloosa my freshman year. I had alot of family and friends in town and I played well that night. That game was high scoring and alot of fun.

Your junior year we beat defending NCAA chamion UCLA in Maui. What sticks from that big win?

I had my hands full that day guarding Tobie Bailey and Charles O’Bannon. They were extremely talented but they were very cocky and a bit over confident that were going to just show up and win the game because they were UCLA. Our team grew from that Maui experience I believed that if, Malik and I would not have gotten hurt then we would have made the NCAA Tourney that year. That was a special hard nosed group of guys that I played with year and I thought VBK and staff did a great job in having us prepared.

Later that year we beat Arkansas on the road. I believe that was only the 2nd home loss they ever experienced in SEC play.

I wish I can say that I played well that game and I played a big part in that victory but I was still rehabing my broken fibula.

How did you break your fibula?

I broke my Fibula on December 9th in the Rice Game. It was a loose ball and had beaten the Rice player to the loose ball and he dove into my Leg. It happened early in the 2nd half.

What do you remember about playing at Duke your senior year? I hear those fans are crazy.

I remember that we got our butts whipped and their fans making very nasty remarks towards Pax.

Later that year we had a big home win against a good Ole Miss team in a real close game. What do you remember about that game?

I remember it was an early ESPN game and I played a really good floor game. Ole Miss was good that year and we needed a quality win if, we wanted to remain in the hunt for an NCAA Bid. I was extremely soar after that game because it was an all out war.

Senior night, how special was it to go out a winner against Florida?

It meant the world to me! I scored one point that game but having my family there and walking off the court to that rousing ovation from the best basketball fans in the country made me realize how much they appreciated me and my trials as a Student-Athlete at Vanderbilt.

We made it to the NCAA tournament that year. We came up a little short against Xavier but you still have to be proud of the fact that you made it in.

I had been waiting three years to have that experience. I was disappointed that we did not last longer than one game but I will not trade it for anything. We accomplished something together as a team.

Thanks again Howard is there anything else you’d like to say to all your Vandy fans out there?

I am extremely honored to have worn the Black and Gold! I love Vanderbilt and I want to say a special “Thank You,” to all the wondeful fans that cheered and