Dr. Charles Petitt, President of Piedmont International University (PIU), Winston Salem, NC, has announced that former NBA all-star Josh Howard has accepted the position of head basketball coach and will start immediately.
Howard, a decorated graduate of Wake Forest (2003), was one of only three basketball players in the history of the ACC unanimously selected as ACC Player of the Year. He was named the national player of the year by FOX, College Insider and Basketball Digest and was a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award and the James Naismith Award. Howard was drafted in the first round of the 2003 NBA draft and was selected as an NBA all-star in 2007.
He inquired about the open position because of his dream to coach college basketball and his great desire to “give back” to the Winston-Salem area by investing in students’ lives. Coach Howard first connected to Piedmont because his Foundation and the University both participated in community outreach to the youth and families in south Winston-Salem.
As Howard has stated, “I’ve always looked forward to helping my community out, dating back to my time at Wake Forest. I remember during my junior year at Wake, I dressed up as Santa Claus and had the opportunity to go into Winston-Salem households that were less fortunate than mine. We gave out gifts and things to help them through the holiday season. Having been raised in Winston that was a big moment for me…That’s when I knew it was my calling to give back.” (from www.joshhoward.com).
Upon accepting this position, Coach Howard said, “I am excited to be a part of Piedmont, investing in lives that will make a difference. I look forward to the season and also having the student body of Piedmont partner with me and the Josh Howard foundation [joshhowardfoundation.com] as we invest together in the community.” Piedmont is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Division II. Their men’s basketball team won the 2015 Regional Basketball Championship. Piedmont is scheduled to play Wake Forest this coming season at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum where Howard’s retired jersey now hangs.
Piedmont was recently recognized as #2 for online education in NC following NC State and is ranked #4 in the nation for Christian Colleges. Piedmont was also just named in the top 10 Most Affordable Christian Colleges in the nation. The faculty and staff anticipate a great school year coming off the largest graduation in the history of the school. Petitt stated, “For over 70 years the mission has never changed! We are committed to training leaders who use their lives to count and make a difference for eternity.”