Howard, now a senior at Texas Christian University (TCU), credits most of his success to SLUH, where he played four years of varsity baseball for head coach Steve Nicollerat.
“Besides baseball and how much I learned on the field, Coach Nicollerat taught us so much off the field and really took us under his wing teaching us how to become better men,” said Howard.
Howard, who pitched in state championships at SLUH and three straight College World Series, was a highly sought-after pitcher in this year’s draft, even though he was pretty set on going back to college.
“I’m just not the kind of guy who can go to three straight College World Series, not win one, and walk away. I have to go back for one more year to try to win it and leave it all out on the table,” said Howard.
The draft was a little strange for Howard, who said he kind of paid attention to the draft during the first day even though he didn’t expect to be drafted since he had already told teams he was planning to return to TCU for his senior year. Still, multiple teams contacted him the first two days, asking him if he would come down from his target signing deal to leave college.
He had something else to worry about: Texas A&M. While the draft was taking place, TCU was playing in the College World Series quarterfinals against Texas A&M. It was Saturday, the third day of the draft, and Howard had been warming up in the morning, when he got on the team bus and looked at his phone.
“I just was checking Twitter and when I refreshed my timeline the tweet said ‘one second ago right handed pitcher Brian Howard of TCU was drafted by the Houston Astros’. So I sat down and said, ‘Guys I just got drafted’ and everyone clapped and high fived me. It was a little surreal for me,” said Howard.
Howard, who didn’t expect to get drafted was a little surprised by the whole situation. The Astros were very kind about the whole affair and let Howard worry about his task at hand, the College World Series.
Later that day, Howard pitched in TCU’s 4-1 win, which sent them to the semifinals against Texas Tech. TCU made it to the finals, where they lost to Coastal Carolina, who won their first ever national championship.
After the College World Series ended, the Astros began putting offers on the table for Howard. The Astros put a really nice offer on the table causing Howard to reconsider his plan. However, he wasn’t going to budge from his mission to go back to college.
“After talking with my family and coaches, I realized that I wasn’t finished at TCU, and that I wasn’t ready to start my professional career,” said Howard. “So I had to tell them sorry and I hope they will draft me next year.”
Howard and TCU hope to end the 22-year drought for the Horned Frogs and win a College World Series in 2017.