Jim Howard exemplifies what one looks for in a nominee and inductee for the Waseca High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Jim was not only an exceptional athlete who achieved eight letters in three sports, he also excelled in the classroom. He had the ability, desire, and work ethic to reach his high school goals. Jim was well liked and well respected by his teachers, classmates, coaches and teammates at Waseca Central. He graduated from Waseca High School in 1958 as one of Central’s all-around athletes playing in three sports; lettering twice in football, twice in basketball and four times in baseball.
In football, Jim was co-captain and quarterback for the Bluejays. In his junior year, the team, coached by Neil Davis, won the South Central Conference Championship. That year, they were ranked 11th in the state.
Jim was a guard in basketball. He was an outstanding ball handler and had the uncanny ability to break the press. His team won the SCC conference in his junior year, under Coach Whitey Aamot. It was also the end of Aamot’s coaching career and the start of Manny Beckmann’s basketball dynasty. In his senior year, the Bluejays were second in the conference and Jim was ninth in the conference in scoring. Coach Beckmann, Minnesota coach of the year in 1976, was asked to name an all-time Manny Beckmann team. Beckmann stated - "you have to have good guard play. Going way back to my first year of coaching, I think Mike Gray and Jim Howard were two excellent guards."
Baseball was Jim’s favorite sport. He was the starting centerfielder for Waseca all four years of high school. Jim was brilliant in the outfield and a consistent .300 hitter. As co-captain his senior year, he batted .371 and under the coaching of Howard McPartland, the team won the South Central conference title. Jim was one of two high school baseball players to be chosen to play for the Waseca Braves as freshmen. As a junior in high school, Jim scored the winning run to give the Braves the 1957 Class A championship of the Minnesota Baseball Association.
Jim Howard was a three-time class president, student council member, honor student, member of the National Honor Society, elected Yearbook King and winner of the Student Athlete-Award in his senior year. Jim continued his athletic and academic career at Mankato State. He played four years of baseball at Mankato and was the starting centerfielder as a sophomore, junior and senior. Once again, Jim was a consistent .300 hitter all three years.
He continued to play for the Waseca Braves through college and even played a few years after he started teaching school in Rochester. Jim finally hung up his spikes when he turned 40. He taught school seven years in Rochester, then changed careers and began selling insurance, specializing in Truck/Fleet Insurance for the past 30 years. He also spends many hours helping coach his grandsons in little league. Jim and his wife, Sally, live in Plainview and have raised four daughters, Sandy, Susan, Stacy and Sara.