EDISON, NJ -- Jim Howard of North Plainfield was honored for 40 years of coaching golf at the United States Golf Association in a ceremony in the Hogan Room on Feb. 22. The veteran Wardlaw+Hartridge teacher and coach was joined by family, friends, colleagues, current and former players and alumni in a celebration of four fabulous decades.
Coach Howard’s teams have won multiple division, county, state and regional titles. His 1980-82 teams were inducted into the Wardlaw+Hartridge Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016. The 1981 Rams won the Middlesex County, State Prep and Eastern Regional championships.
Mr. Howard began teaching mathematics at W+H in 1977 and took over the varsity golf program in 1980. He has coached under many athletic directors and worked under five headmasters. Mr. Howard’s patience and calm demeanor have made him successful coaching boys, girls and co-ed teams with players ranging in ability from beginners to future pros.
Roger Wood ’86 organized the event, which was co-hosted by Randy Rogers ’81 and Rob Rizzo ’89. Rogers, a standout and captain on the 1981 team that won the county, state and regional titles, made a brief speech and presented Mr. Howard with a Plainfield Country Club flag signed by all the former W+H golfers in attendance.
Others making remarks included Rudy Brandl ’83, Director of Communications, Karl Miran, Athletic Director, Gerard Gonnella ’89, Director of Admission, Lisa Rogers ’90, the first female golfer at W+H, and Link Keur, a former teaching and coaching colleague from the 1970s-80s. Three W+H golfers – Sydney Kuo ’20, Jenelle Valera ’22 and Grace Lu ’22 – also offered heartfelt words to their coach.
Coach Howard was humbled and honored by the recognition, which fittingly took place in a wonderful location packed with golf history.
“I wasn’t expecting such a large turnout,” Coach Howard said. “To hear from some of the former players was heart-warming. I never realized I had such an effect on my players. It was fantastic that there was such a wide assortment of people from my past – players, coaches, students, former teaching colleagues.”
As his team is currently riding a four-year division championship streak with many talented players in the program, Mr. Howard concluded his speech by assuring the audience that he doesn’t plan to retire in the next few years.
The Wardlaw+Hartridge School (1295 Inman Ave., N. Edison) is Central Jersey’s premier PreK-12 independent school. The campus is located near the Scotch Plains border and just five miles from downtown Westfield. It is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational day school that prepares students to lead and succeed in a world of global interconnection. Wardlaw+Hartridge provides an educational atmosphere characterized by academic challenge, support for individual excellence, diversity, and a familial sense of community.