21 Nov 2017
A top performer carries a new ballTopics:
Determining end-of-season matchups for the college football playoffs is an intensely scrutinized and (to the outsider) somewhat mysterious process. As a new member of the College Football Playoff selection committee, however, Chris Howard (MBA 2003) is playing it cool. “This is just watching lots of football and then just getting together with 12 other bright, thoughtful people who know the game very well and getting a chance to make a selection that’s very important to a lot of people in the country,” Howard told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
Howard knows the game well, having played high school football in Plano, Texas, before his recruitment to the Air Force Academy by head coach Fisher DeBerry, who told Howard he wanted to help him not only play football, but become a better person.
That experience no doubt had an impact; however, it’s clear that Howard’s earliest influencers were his parents, who grew up the children of sharecroppers yet both graduated from college. That same work ethic and love of education would take Howard to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and to Afghanistan, where he served in the Air Force Reserve and earned a bronze star. In addition to his duties as a playoff committee member, he continues to carry the ball at Robert Morris University, where he was named the institution’s first black president in February 2016. “Sports matter, football matters,” he said of his latest undertaking. “They [the fans] want it to be fair, they want judgment and wisdom. And as a president, I think I bring those two things.”
Class of MBA 2003, Section K