Austin Howard has been named as an assistant coach and Blake Stinson has been elevated to assistant coach at D2 UVA Wise.
Howard, originally from Pulaski, Tenn., completed his undergraduate education at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla. from 2013 to 2018, where he was a five-year student-athlete on the basketball team and served as the team leader of the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). As a player on Flagler’s basketball team, Howard put up 422 points, along with 190 rebounds and 154 assists.
After his exceptional undergraduate career, he then attended Middle Tennessee State University and served as a graduate assistant to the college’s basketball team from 2019 to 2021 while earning a master’s in leisure & sports management.
Prior to Middle Tennessee State University, Howard also served as a varsity basketball coach for Collierville High School in Memphis, Tenn. During his time at Collierville, Howard aided younger athletes to develop their skills and provided the instructional training necessary to compete at the higher level.
“We are thrilled to add Austin to our coaching staff,” said Mellinger. “Austin has played and worked for some terrific coaches. He will connect well with our players, and will add great value to our program.”
Howard will assume duties this week for the offseason, and will officially start his career with the UVA Wise basketball program when they open up their season against King University on November 13.
Stinson, a Honaker, Va. native, started his student assistant position in 2019 with the UVA Wise men’s basketball team, and graduated from UVA Wise in May of 2021.
During his time as a student, Stinson was also a member of the UVA Wise baseball team where he achieved a perfect 1.00 fielding percentage during the 2019-2020 season.
His background in basketball is credited to his impressive high school career, where the dual-athlete was named First Team All-State in his junior and senior years in baseball and snagged the VHSL career assist record and the single-season assist record in basketball his sophomore year at Honaker High School.
Stinson was the center of a featured article in the Herald Courier in 2016 titled “It’s Straight to the Point with Stinson” that detailed his remarkable sophomore year with the Honaker High School Tigers. Most notably, Stinson was labeled as “the most unselfish point guard in Southwest Virginia.”
Mellinger is excited for Stinson to move up in the ranks on their staff. “Blake has been an integral part of our program for the past two years, ” said Mellinger. “He understands how we operate, has a great relationship with our players, and is one of the brightest young coaches I have been around. I’m excited for this opportunity for him and our team.”
Stinson will work with the team this offseason, and will officially start his career with the UVA Wise basketball program on Nov. 13 for the team’s season opener against King University.