CHAMPAIGN – Jerrance Howard had options.
And the former Illini assistant has chosen an exceptional one to continue his young coaching career.
Howard has reached an agreement to become an assistant on Larry Brown’s staff at Southern Methodist University, Howard said today. Howard spoke with Brown earlier today when the deal was finalized.
An ace recruiter, Howard is familiar with the state of Texas, having worked in an administrative capacity on Billy Gillispie’s staff at Texas A&M.
He spent five seasons on Bruce Weber’s staff at Illinois. Howard played at Illinois from 1999-2004. But he made his name on the recruiting trail, where he was the lead assistant on more than half the Illini's 2011-12 roster.
Before the SMU job surfaced, the 31-year-old Howard was close to joining Weber’s staff at Kansas State. He also had spoken with Memphis and DePaul about jobs that are open or could become open. Howard was informed last week he wouldn’t be retained on John Groce’s staff at Illinois.
Instead, Howard will join Brown in Dallas. ESPN.com's Jason King reported earlier today that Brown would become the head coach at SMU.
The move is attractive for Howard for several reasons. One, he can step outside the Illini bubble and expand his coaching contacts. Two, SMU figures to spend big on its new basketball staff as it prepares for a move to the Big East in 2013. Howard also aspires to be a head coach, and learning under a Hall of Famer can’t hurt that cause. Brown is the only coach to win an NCAA and NBA championship.
This story will be updated.