Head Coach Tony Howell is entering his fourth season as the head coach at Belmont University in 2017.
In three short seasons, Howell has raised the profile of the program and helped it return to the national spotlight with an NCAA tournament berth and numerous individual accolades for the Bruins.
Howell led the Bruins to a 19-14 finish in his first season at the helm. In conference play, the Bruins finished with a record of 13-3, placing second in the regular season standings but ultimately losing to Murray State in the championship match of the conference tournament. Amongst the success on the court in 2014 Belmont also received the OVC Team Sportsmanship award and a Freshman of the Year nod for Arianna Person.
The team rose higher in year two of the Howell era, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for fourth time in program history and the first time since the 2012 campaign, after clenching the Ohio Valley Conference tournament title in dramatic fashion by knocking off the number one seed. BU also saw its second OVC Tournament MVP in Arianna Person. The Bruins were even awarded the OVC Team Sportsmanship award for a third consecutive season.
Year three saw BU advance to the OVC Tournament for the fourth consecutive season. The Bruins also earned the Team Sportsmanship award for a fourth time, becoming the first program since the award was first given out during the 2005-06 campaign to garner the distinction four consecutive years.
"We are delighted to announce that Tony has accepted our offer to lead our volleyball program," former Belmont Athletics Director Mike Strickland said. "Few, if any, embody the values and ideals of Belmont University better than Tony. His passion for the game and dedication to our student-athletes are inarguable. Tony has been at the heart of our greatest successes as a volleyball program, and we look forward to building upon that tradition under his leadership."
With two decades of experience in college and club volleyball, Howell spent eight seasons as the Bruins' top assistant coach. During that time, Belmont went 167-92 - including 83-28 in conference matches - earning three NCAA Tournament appearances (2006, 2008, 2012), three conference tournament championships, and one conference regular season championship.
Five times in the last decade, Belmont has ranked in the top 10 nationally in service aces per set, including third on three separate occasions.
In 2011, Jen Myer led the nation in service aces per set, becoming the first Bruin volleyball player to lead the country in a statistical category.
While at Belmont, Howell has coached 33 all-conference selections, including three conference players of the year (Colleen Nilson, Maggie Johnson, Allison McCoy). Nilson became the first Belmont student-athlete of the program's NCAA era named first team all-conference four consecutive years. Nilson, Johnson, and Kayla Albritton also earned AVCA All-South Region honors.
In 2007, Howell accompanied Senior Woman Administrator emeritus Betty Wiseman on volleyball's Sports Evangelism mission trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Howell spent two seasons at Tennessee State, helping the Tiger program double its win total from nine to 18.
Prior to Belmont, Howell served as Facility Director at the Advantage Sports Center, overseeing one of the top club teams in the state of Texas. Howell led Texas Advantage Volleyball to USAV junior nationals in 2001 and 2004. In particular, his 2004 squad qualified for junior nationals in three national qualifiers and captured the championship at the Lonestar Qualifier.
Howell spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, managing the program's recruiting, scheduling, travel, budget, scouting and statistics. He remained a club coach while with the Rams until 2000.
Howell began his coaching career in 1994 as an undergraduate at the University of North Texas. Howell spent two seasons with the Mean Green, helping the program secure its first-ever Southland Conference championship. He also forged strong club ties, directing the 15-17 age division for Team North Texas.
Howell earned a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology with a minor in mathematics from UNT in 1996.
A native of Texarkana, Texas, Howell is married to the former Vicki Pearson. The couple has two-year-old twin boys.