Reggie Howard is leaving his director of high school relations role at the University of Memphis for a chance to return to an on-field coaching position.
It doesn't hurt that Howard also is reuniting with an old NFL teammate in the process.
Sources tell FootballScoop Monday that Howard is joining the Campbell University staff of Mike Minter – as in the former University of Nebraska standout and Howard's former Carolina Panthers teammate.
Howard confirmed the move. He is set to take over the roles of cornerbacks coach and defensive pass game coordinator for the Camels, who have been under Minter's direction now for nine seasons.
“Mike reached out to me and let me know about the job opportunity, and I came home and spoke to my family and prayed about it,” Howard told FootballScoop. “It just felt right, man. Listening to Mike talk about his vision for the program, and he let me take all the time I needed. It was not an easy choice.
“But I called him and said, 'I'm all in, I believe in what you're trying to do. And I definitely want to go with you and be a part of this journey with you.' I'm excited about the future.”
The duo should give Campbell's secondary a particularly strong chance to be elite; they were teammates in the Panthers' defensive backfield for in the early-2000s and helped lead Carolina to a berth in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Howard even notched an interception of then-New England quarterback Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.
“This team feels like how we were right before we went to the Super Bowl, just reuniting and getting back together, and working to help take these kids back to the top,” Howard said. “It's crazy because we were just talking about what Mike has been able to do at this point; we were 1-15 two years at Carolina two years before we went to the Super Bowl. Our first year under Coach (John) Fox we went 7-9, but lost a bunch of close games that we felt like we could have won.
“The next year we came in and put our heads down and worked our butts off, guys bought in and we had a lot of chemistry and camaraderie. We're going to be reiterating those things, it is possible and there's a great chance to do something special if you buy in and work for one another.”
It was not an easy move for Howard to make, he said, despite his rich history with Minter. Howard is a former University of Memphis standout and had served a key role as Ryan Silverfield's top high school liaison.
“It definitely was tough,” Howard said. “Mike gave me all the time I needed and just thinking about it, I went to Coach Silverfield over here, and I've just really appreciated the opportunity back here at Memphis and everything Coach Silverfield's done to make me welcome back here; it's been great.
“The opportunity to go back and go back on the field as a coach, work with someone I've known, is big.”
Campbell, a Big South Conference member that played only a four-game fall schedule, has stabilized and experienced unprecedented success under Minter's direction. The Camels had three-straight winning seasons from 2017-19.
They open the 2021 campaign Sept. 4 at Liberty.
Howard already is carrying in a mantra from that historic 2003 season at Carolina.
“I still remember, the first meeting Coach Fox had with us, he said, 'Those that remain will be champions,'” Howard said. “I felt that same way, that same type of energy with Mike.”