Campbell morns the passing of a legend

This came in from our good friend Stan Cole…

Former Campbell University men’s soccer player and coach Charles Barrett (Barry) Howard, Jr. passed away on Friday, December 5, 2008 at the age of 63. Arrangements will be handled by O’Quinn-Peebles Funeral Home in Lillington, N.C.

Born May 28, 1945 in Dunn, N.C., Coach Howard spent nearly his entire life in Buies Creek. For much of that time he was devoted to the sport of soccer, to education, and to his church. A 1969 Campbell graduate with a B.A. Degree in Physical Education, Howard watched Campbell’s first soccer game in 1963 at Taylor Field and joined Coach Jim “Catfish” Cole’s varsity one year later as a college freshman. He went on to earn All-South and team Most Valuable Player honors in 1965 while earning four letters in the sport.

Following his graduation from Campbell, Howard became one of the driving forces in the growth of the sport on the high school level in the Cape Fear region. He began his coaching career at Buies Creek School in the fall of 1969, heading the boys and girls basketball and baseball teams. He formed the first soccer team in Buies Creek School history in the fall of 1970 and was a founding member of the North Carolina Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association, of which he wrote the constitution. At the time, Buies Creek School was the only Single-A public school in the state that sponsored a varsity soccer team.

Coach Howard left Buies Creek to earn his master’s degree in education from East Carolina in 1974, but returned to teach and coach at Buies Creek School in 1975. He then moved to Harnett Central High School following consolidation in 1978. In ten years of coaching soccer on the high school level, Coach Howard guided his teams to four regional titles.

Coach Howard left Buies Creek in 1981, but returned two years later to serve as President of the Howard Christian Education Fund, Inc. Started in 1926 and incorporated in 1951 by the Rev. Charles Barrett Howard, Sr., the Fund has assisted more than 3700 students through loans, gifts and scholarships. Beneficiaries of the Fund have come from all 50 states, plus 118 other countries. Over 80 percent of those students have attended Campbell.

Howard returned to coaching as an assistant on Tim Morse’s staff at Campbell in the early 1980s and helped build the program into an NCAA Division I contender, one that would go on to win the first two Big South Conference Championships. After spending seven years as an assistant, Howard was named head coach and served two years before resigning in order to devote his efforts to the Howard Fund on a full-time basis.

A 2003 inductee into the Campbell University Sports Hall of Fame, Coach Howard is survived by his wife of 25 years, Beverley, his daughter, Amy Elizabeth Ellis, and two grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son, Barrett.

Narrative from Barry Howard Appreciation Day / May 6, 2006

On a rainy night in September 1963, the seeds were planted for the growth of soccer in the Cape Fear Region of North Carolina. That’s when Barry Howard witnessed his first soccer game.

Over the next four decades, Barry fed and cultivated those seeds, and then watched multiple harvests come in as the world’s most popular sport took hold in the rich earth of North Carolina’s Coastal Plain.

That September night, Barry walked out of the family house in Buies Creek because the lights were on next door at Taylor Field…

Campbell was playing N.C. State in its first home soccer match ever. Barry wore a new rain coat and hat that his parents had given him. In a steady down pour, he stood on the edge of the touch line with mud running over his shoes… and was hooked

Just over a year later, Barry played in his first collegiate match at Campbell College. He earned All-South Region honors in 1965, and began his soccer coaching career following his graduation in 1969.

As if teaching health and physical education, along with coaching boy’s and girl’s basketball and baseball weren’t enough, Barry started the first high school soccer team in Buies Creek School history in 1970.

Despite playing a limited schedule, that first team advanced to the semifinals of the state invitational high school tournament… placing Buies Creek among the North Carolina high school soccer powers of the day.

From this very spot — similar to the Great Commission of the New Testament — this son of a Baptist minister began spreading the gospel of soccer throughout the Sandhills region.

In order to build interest, Barry took his players to outposts such as Broadway, Deep River and Benhaven… To Clement in Sampson County and others… At those destinations, he and his Buies Creek School players introduced the game to the county and outlying areas.

Barry then helped form the nucleus of the North Carolina Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association – working with fellow Campbell graduates Rick Helms of Wilson Greenfield, Bill Holleman of Ravenscoft, and others stretching west through the piedmont to the mountains. Barry wrote the constitution of that organization, which formed a top-10 poll and named all-state teams.

After moving on to graduate school, then a teaching stint in Virginia, Barry returned to Buies Creek in the fall of 1975 and spent three more years there before the consolidation into Harnett Central High School… where he taught three additional years…

Among his players at Buies Creek were Brent Stewart and Tony Ferrell, his first two players to earn a college soccer scholarship… both of whom crossed the street to attend Campbell…

At least a dozen of his high school players went on to play college soccer… and at least six went on to coach or teach at the high school or college level… He coached Tony Johnson, who went on to become an All-American at North Carolina and play professionally.

After leaving the local high school in the early 1980s, Barry returned to Buies Creek to serve as President of the Howard Christian Education Fund. Started in 1926 and incorporated in 1951 by the Rev. Charles Barrett Howard, Sr., the Fund has assisted more than 3700 students through loans, gifts and scholarships. Beneficiaries of the Fund have come from all 50 states, plus 118 other countries. Over 80 percent of those students have attended Campbell.

Barry returned to coaching as well… serving as an assistant on Tim Morse’s staff at Campbell in the 80s and helping build the program into an NCAA Division I contender. After spending seven years as an assistant, Barry was named head coach in 1989 and served two years before resigning in order to devote his efforts to the Howard Fund on a full-time basis.

Inducted in Campbell’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, Barry’s coaching legacy lives on… Recreational, competitive club-level, middle school, high school, college and professional soccer programs thrive now in North Carolina, from the Mountains to the Coast…

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