Howard Bison

NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
Past Conferences: Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association, Inter-Scholastic Athletic Association of Middle Atlantic States, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association
City: Washington, D.C.

Arena: Burr Gymnasium
NCAA Tournaments: 2 (1981, 1992)
National Championships – 0
Conference Titles – 4 (1980, 1983, 1987, 1992)

Team History

Howard University has a longtime tradition of playing basketball, even though it wasn’t always under the Howard name. The Bison’s roots can be traced back to 1907-08 when Howard played in the Inter-Scholastic Athletic Association of Middle Atlantic States. Howard’s team essentially folded a few years later and was replaced in the ISAA by the Twelfth Street Colored Y.M.C.A. team. The team consisted of almost all Howard students, and they won the Colored Basketball World’s Championship in 1910.

The team played under the Howard name in 1910-11 and repeated as world champions winning their second straight world championship. Howard was one of the founding members of the Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1912 and was the world co-champion for the 1912-13 season.

However, college basketball didn’t become an official college sport at Howard until 1952, which made it the second official athletics program at the university after football. The Bison made the jump to Division I for the 1971-72 season and were one of the founding members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Bison won the MEAC conference tournament for the first time in 1980, but the conference didn’t receive an automatic NCAA Tournament bid until the following season. Howard were able to repeat as conference tournament champions and played in their first NCAA Tournament in 1981; they again made the tournament field in 1992. Howard was invited to the CBI in 2019.

Howard Bison All-Time Records
Points Scored
Charles Williams, 2,404
James Daniel, 1,933
Gerald Glover, 1,712

Gerald Glover, 892
Marcel Boyd, 760
Mike Phillips, 741

Milan Brown, 445
Ali Abdullah, 435
Louis Ford, 431


Have Howard Teams Always Been Called the Bison?

The Howard football team was originally called the Thundering Herd. Edward Morrison was the team’s head coach and led Howard to three straight Black National championships in 1920-22. He reportedly changed the name to Bulldogs then abruptly switched to the Bison. The 1923 Howard yearbook has the first reference to “Bison.”

Have Any Howard Players Played in the NBA?

The Bison have sent two players to the NBA, Larry Spriggs and Joe Cooper. Spriggs played for the Lakers when they won the NBA title in 1985. Cooper began his college career at Howard and played his junior season for Tulsa and his senior season with Colorado.

Why Was Howard Playing at the 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend?

The Bison met Morgan State in the inaugural NBA HBCU Classic, which the NBA says “continues the league’s ongoing, year-round commitment to advancing educational, career and economic opportunities in partnership with HBCU institutions as well as increasing support and awareness for HBCU athletics.” Teams are chosen for the game in collaboration with their respective conferences.

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