1996: James Howard

James Howard almost single-handedly brought youth football, youth basketball, girl’s kickball, and Little League baseball to East Austin. James Howard raised money and drafted others to raise money to set up teams and provide equipment and uniforms. He helped found the East Austin Youth Foundation and the Greater East Austin Youth Association. He had been involved in coaching so long – over 25 years – that he was coaching the children of the kids he once coached. He provided transportation tor hundreds of kids to and from games, missed dinner at home, gave his time and his money, and was frustrated at time. He rededicated himself after his wife, Lola Bernice, also a coach died. He said it came to him that God had picked him to help the kids.

Hundreds of East Austin kids played on the associations’ first football teams, the Blue Knights and the Green Hornets; or the first Little Dribblers basketball teams, the Falcons and the Yellow Jackets, who played mini-games during UT half-times; or the first Little League baseball teams. The number of teams continued to grow. James believed that youth sports bring a community together, that youth in sports learn about discipline, rules, respect, sportsmanship, team spirit, athletic ability, and that everyone’s a winner if you do the best you can.