As an educator and coach, Howard Vernon, Jr., built an impressive resume during his life. But for high school sports fans across Iowa, he will always be remembered as the architect of Waterloo East's football dynasty of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Vernon died Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28) at his home in Coralville surrounded by his family, according to Lensing Funeral and Cremation Service in Iowa City. He was 84. The cause of his death was not disclosed.

Source: Waterloo East High
Source: Waterloo East High

Vernon coached East for seven seasons from 1962 to 1968, compiling a 48-14-1 record. He was guiding the Trojans when they began a record-setting 56-game non-losing streak with a 6-6 tie at Cedar Rapids Regis in the eighth game of the 1965 season. East wouldn't lose again until the 1972 season opener, a 7-6 setback to Sioux City East.

Before taking charge of the Trojans' football program, Vernon coached West Central of Maynard for five seasons. He guided the Blue Devils to a 24-14-1 record.

Source: West Central School District
Source: West Central School District

His career record, coaching at the two schools, was 72-28-2.

Howard was born April 16, 1935 in Des Moines. He received a B.S. degree from Upper Iowa University in 1957 and an M.A. degree in secondary education from Drake University in 1962. According to his obituary, he had also taken several hours towards a doctoral degree at the University of Iowa.

While attending Upper Iowa University, Howard lettered four years in football and baseball and two years in basketball. In 1956 and 1957 he was captain of the Peacocks' football team and was chosen to the All-Conference team. He was the catcher on an undefeated baseball team in 1956 and was president of his senior class and editor of the school annual.

His teaching career began at West Central High School, where he also served as athletic director and football coach from 1957 until 1962. His 1961 football team won the Upper Iowa Conference championship and was named mythical state champions.

Howard was a faculty member at Waterloo East from 1962 until 1973, where he initially taught and later became a vice-principal and principal.

In 1967, Howard was honored by the Des Moines Register as high school football Coach of the Year in Iowa. He was inducted into the Waterloo Sports of Sorts Hall of Fame in 1970, the Iowa Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1972 and the Upper Iowa University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984.

From 1973 until 1979, Vernon was associated with the University of Iowa. While there, he served as the Hawkeyes' offensive coordinator, sports school director, college relations outreach specialist, and assistant director of the University of Iowa Foundation for the athletic fundraising.

From 1979 until retirement in 1996, Vernon was principal at City High School in Iowa City. He won the Principal of the Year Award in 1989.

A gathering to celebrate Vernon's life will be held Tuesday from 4 to 6 PM at Lensing Funeral and Cremation Service, 605 Kirkwood Avenue, in Iowa City. A reception will follow at The Kirkwood Room, 515 Kirkwood Avenue, in Iowa City until 8:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Compassus Hospice or Iowa City High School Foundation for Athletics or Fine Arts.

For full obituary: CLICK HERE.

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