April 19, 2011
For more information, contact Bob Luder at 816.501.2434.
KANSAS CITY, Mo - - Ryan Howard, who took over the Avila University baseball program directly after graduating from the university in 2001, reached a milestone by winning the 300th game of his career in a 9-4 victory in the first game of a double-header April 16 at arch-rival William Jewell.
With the victory, the Eagles, the defending Heart of America Athletic Conference champions, improved to 23-17 this season and improved Howard's career record to 300-160, with four games left in the 2011 regular season.
"It feels awesome, but out of 300 wins, I didn't win one game," Howard said. "It's a credit to the people I've surrounded myself with and the players. It's a credit to hard work as a program, as a staff and as players."
Howard's Avila teams have won four conference championships and have been ranked in the NAIA Top 25 poll eight of the last 10 years. He was named the HAAC Coach of the Year in 2004, '08 and '10. Prior to the current season, he had led the Eagles to seven 36-win seasons in the last nine.
His teams have reached the regional tournament six times and, last year, the Eagles won the HAAC post-season tournament, qualifying for the NAIA national tournament for the first time in the school's history.
Howard also compiled an impressive resume as a player in two seasons playing at Avila. He immediately joined the Eagles' coaching staff and took over the program in 2002, at the age of 24. His teams possess a 95 percent graduation rate and an 89 percent retention rate.
Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.