The first day of practice is still a month away, but Howard High's new varsity boys basketball coach, Kevin Broadus, is itching to get started.
Many of his returning players already are running and lifting weights on their own, hoping to turn around last year's 5-14 record.
Broadus, 41, is keeping busy for now after school as a Lions assistant football coach, his seventh year in that position. He played high school football at DeMatha and college football at Towson State.
He did not play basketball at either school, but spent the last four winters as assistant women's basketball coach at UMBC And six seasons before that he was Howard's girls varsity basketball coach.
He also has coached two years of junior varsity volleyball and three years of junior varsity softball at Howard.
"Teaching fundamentals is one of Kevin's strong points," athletic director Vince Parnell said. "He's had experience at different levels, and we're lucky to find someone like him in the building. He'll do a good job."
Broadus thought he would be Howard's JV boys basketball coach this season. That's the job he applied for. He didn't learn had the varsity job until the week before school started.
"Russ Cordua [last year's JV boys basketball coach at Howard] was supposed to get the varsity job, but the county couldn't find him a full-time teaching position so he got a job in Delaware instead," Broadus said.
Cordua's move opened up the job for Broadus, who is eager to make the most of it.
"It's a chance to run my own program, so I'm real excited about it," he said.
He taught nine years at Jeffers Hill Elementary School before moving over to Howard five years ago. His current job, as a member of the Department of Education's Alternative Learning Programs, involves motivating students to stay in school.
He thinks sports is one motivational factor that can keep some students in school.
Broadus is pleased with the basketball talent he has returning this season. The program even has picked up a couple of talented transfers, fraternal twins from North Carolina, Jevon and Javier Michaux.
But Broadus thinks there's plenty more talent walking the hallways and not playing for Howard, and he'd like to motivate some of those students to join the team.
Broadus doesn't think the transition from coaching girls basketball to boys basketball will be too difficult, although he understands he'll have to make some adjustments.
"Girls usually appreciate their coaches a lot more than the guys do," Broadus said.
Broadus doesn't plan any major changes in Howard's style of play.
"We hope to keep running a lot, but be able to set up in a half-court offense. And we'll play man-to-man defense," he said.
Although Howard's record over the past two seasons has been poor, the Lions often were competitive. They lost a lot of close games, especially last year.
"I hope to be competitive," he said. "I don't see any big drop-off in talent this year."
The new boys JV coach is Willie Spence, who was Howard's JV girls coach the past three years.