Mona Jackson, a 1995 Howard graduate and a 2000 inductee into its athletic Hall of Fame, has been hired to coach Hammond's girls basketball team.
"I'm very excited and eager to get started," said the 24-year-old Jackson, who will become the first woman to coach the team since the school opened in 1977.
Jackson excelled in basketball and track at Howard, and played both sports while at Norfolk State University. She graduated with a degree in physical education and taught last year at Long Reach before moving this school year to Hammond.
She has coached Howard's JV girls basketball team and its girls outdoor track team the past two seasons.
Jackson combined athleticism and aggressiveness to become a very good basketball player. She was an All-County player her senior season and finished second in the county in scoring with a 21.2 average. She graduated as the school's all-time scoring leader with 1,412 points, but was surpassed by 1997 graduate Chanelle Carter by 10 points.
"She was a very intense competitor," said Hammond's Joe Russo, who coached against Jackson when she played at Howard. "Observing her coaching the Howard junior varsity, it appears she still has that intensity."
Jackson was the girl Performer of the Year in outdoor track her freshman and senior years. In her senior season, she won state titles in the triple jump and long jump and took second in the high jump.
Glenelg's boys team surprised Hammond yesterday, 3-2, giving River Hill a one-game lead for first place with four matches to play.
River Hill (14-1) plays at Hammond (13-2) tomorrow. The Bears handed River Hill its only loss of the season, 3-2, on April 4.
Two-time defending champion Atholton can clinch at least a share of the county title tomorrow with a win over visiting Howard. The No. 3 Raiders (16-1 overall, 14-1 league) downed the No. 10 Lions (13-2, 13-2) earlier this season, 2-0.
Howard will be without four players - starting shortstop Beth Myers and starting first baseman Melissa Javier and reserves Ashley Smith and Christina Curry.