Jeff Howard

Jeff Howard looks over the mural outside the locker rooms of OC Lewis Gym at Anderson University in this file photo from 2018. The mural depicts the history of the school’s program, in which Howard starred in the 1980s.

ANDERSON — Former Highland High School and Anderson High School boys varsity basketball coach Jeff Howard has been selected to receive Anderson University’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Howard, who starred in basketball at AU in the 1980s, was inducted into the university’s athletic hall of fame in 2018. He played high school basketball at Madison Heights.

After leaving AU with a degree in sociology, Howard moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he worked in the social service/education field and coached basketball, according to a press release from the university.

In 1994, he received a volunteer of the year award for an after-school program and for mentoring children.

Howard later coached high school basketball in Illinois, receiving conference coach of the year and sportsmanship awards.

He moved back to Anderson in 2005 and helped start a Saturday morning basketball league at Park Place Recreation Center.

Howard was a trailblazer as a Black basketball coach at Muncie Southside High School and also coached at Highland and Anderson.

Howard currently teaches at the Youth Opportunity Center in Muncie and is in his final year of graduate school at Ball State University preparing to earn a principal license or become an athletic director.

He lives in Anderson with his wife, Deb, and daughter, Hope.

Each year, AU recognizes alumni and friends who have exemplified the call to live a life of faith and service, according to the press release. The awards annually recognize the accomplishments of alumni and friends of AU and their service to humanity and society.

Nominations are encouraged from all alumni, parents and friends of AU, according to the press release.

In additional to Howard, the following will receive awards from the alumni office:

• Distinguished Young Alumni Award: LaNesha Tabb, 2006 graduate

• John H. Kane Loyalty Award: Jim Ostrognai, 1999 graduate

• Distinguished Service Award: Lisa Ragsdale, 1983 graduate

• MOSAIC Multicultural Alumni Award: the Rev. D. Kevin Earley, 2003 and 2008 graduate

• Friend of Nursing Award: Jodie Reminder

• Community Service Award: Colonel (Marjorie) Charlene Merrill (retired)

• Outstanding School of Nursing Alumni Award: Amy Voris, 2009 graduate

• Lifetime Achievement in Nursing Award: John Ackerman, 1975 graduate

A more detailed description of the alumni and the awards can be found at

These award recipients will be celebrated during the university’s virtual Homecoming festivities Saturday. Learn more at

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