Lane Howard

New Salem football interim head coach Lane Howard on the Tiger sideline.

New Salem football interim head coach Lane Howard on the Tiger sideline.

A hometown guy is taking over the tradition-rich Salem High School football program.

Lane Howard, a 2011 SHS graduate, has been selected as the interim head coach of the Tigers.

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Howard has been an assistant coach for Salem the past four years. He signed his new contract Monday, June 22 to be interim head coach for Salem through the 2020 season. The position could then be re-posted after the season.

“I’m excited for the opportunity,” Howard said. “I want to carry on the old Salem tradition and bring physicality. That’s kind of what we’re getting back to.”

Howard replaces Dylan Wyrick, who coached the squad to a 7-4 record in his lone season as Tiger head coach. Wyrick resigned earlier this month to take over as head coach at his alma mater, Potosi High School.

“I have complete confidence in Lane,” said Salem Athletic Director Phil Karr, who was one of Howard’s prep coaches. “He’s been working with our offensive line for a while. He’s very intelligent and has been working hard.”

Howard was a Tiger player for hall of fame Salem coaching legend Bill Schuchardt and loves power football. He said Salem plans to build on the foundation Wyrick laid last season and will use a combination of power football as well as the spread in the 2020 offense, when the season begins.

“I know the community likes power football,” he said. “I don’t know if the wishbone is something we’ll go back to full-time. We will build on what we did last year. Last year we did a good job of laying a foundation for the power game. And we’re going to run some spread, which is what we were going to at the end of last year. We’ve got some personnel to head that way.

“We’ll run both power and spread; you’ll see us in both quite a bit.”

With up to nine or 10 starters back on each side of the ball, Howard is hopeful of hitting the ground running this fall.

“We’re only replacing four guys,” Howard said. “We’re really fortunate we have a lot of experience and talent.”

Howard said he is like all other coaches around the nation, in that he is hoping things begin to slowly open back up from the COVID-19 shutdowns.

“I think our administration and school district is supportive of us,” he said. “Our kids have been in the weight room more than most. Mostly it’s been business as normal. We’ve just got to get the kids in the routine of football. It’s unprecedented; no one knows what will happen in two or three months.”

Howard has a tentative summer football schedule, if things are indeed allowed.

The Salem High School Football Camp is scheduled for the weeks of July 20 and July 27. And the Tigers are slated to again compete in the Farmington Full-Contact Camp July 30-31.

Howard, 27, graduated from Mizzou in 2015 with an agricultural education degree.