Howard Football Coach Takes Personal Leave for 2013 Season
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Rayford Petty Named Interim Head Coach

WASHINGTON (March 11, 2013) -- Head Football Coach Gary Harrell will take a personal leave of absence for the 2013 season. The University has named Associate Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Rayford Petty as interim head coach for the upcoming season.

Coach Harrell released a statement today announcing the leave: 

"After much consideration and discussion with my family, advisors and several people at Howard University, it is with much sadness that I announce today that I will be taking a leave of absence for the 2013 season.  In making this decision, I thought deeply about my extended family, my players and coaches.  At this time, my personal and family issues make it impossible for me to give them 100% and anything less than that is unacceptable to me.  However, as a man of deep faith in God, my family must take priority at this time.  I want to stress that this is only a temporary leave of absence, and I look forward to returning to the sidelines in 2014 as the Bison continue to build a championship team. I want to thank Howard University for their understanding and compassion during this difficult time.  Without their support it would not be possible for me to work these issues out so I may return to the University I love so much.  I am proud to be an alumnus of Howard University and am excited about my future there."

In his second year, Harrell led the Bison to a 7-4 record and 6-2 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The team recorded the most wins by a Howard team in a decade. 

"Coach Harrell has led two turnaround seasons dubbed, 'The Road to Redemption.'  We look forward to his return in 2014," said University Spokesperson Kerry-Ann Hamilton.  "We expect a strong 2013 season. Coach Petty is no stranger to Bison Football and has been instrumental to the turnaround in the program over the last two years." 

Petty is a former Howard head coach (2002-2006) and current associate head coach and defensive coordinator.

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