PERKINSTON — Fresh off a season as the player performance coach for all eight USFL teams, Larry Howard joins the Gulf Coast Family as the school’s first strength and conditioning coach.

“Gulf Coast has very, very competitive programs,” he said. “Being able to work with junior collegiate level athletes who are trying to get to the next level has definitely intrigued me. I want to help them develop and achieve their dreams. That’s what brought me here.

The nationally certified trainer worked with the military and a variety of fitness regimes before joining the strength and conditioning team in Birmingham for the Spring Football League. The USFL is approaching double digits of players signing with the NFL, and Howard facilitated warm-ups and practices, as well as pre-game routines. He has worked with individual players on body composition and core development and as part of a team producing training materials, providing supplements and managing rosters.

“Athletes don’t care what you know until they know you care,” Howard said. “It is very important to lead with the best interests of the athletes at heart. Our programs aim to help them improve their movements so they can be more effective in their sports and lessen injuries.

Howard has had his own fitness and personal training business in Chicago since 2010, and has experience in F45 training and Spartan Race training. He was also a strength and conditioning coach at the University of Illinois in 2017.

For four years beginning in 2012, Howard served as a PT readiness trainer for the National Guard.

“From a coaching perspective, I like to educate, and then I like to empower,” Howard said. “You educate them on what they need to do to take care of their bodies, and then you empower them to take ownership of that.”

He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and has an American Level 1 weightlifting certification. Howard has TRX Level 1, Spartan Race Level 1, Power Plate and Insanity certifications, as well as CPR/AED certification.

Howard holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with undergraduate coursework in exercise science from DePauw University. Holds a Masters in Urban Ministry from Trinity International University and a Masters in Exercise Science with a concentration in Athletic Performance from Northeastern Illinois University.

“I’m super excited to be here,” he said. “I’m looking to bring Division I’s attention to detail and programming to this athletic department so that all of these athletes go from here and step up to the next level, they’ll be fully equipped to compete there.”

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