Inducted February 10, 2001
Melody Howard starred for the SMS Lady Bears in basketball for four seasons in a career which coincided with the first four years the Lady Bears played in the NCAA tournament. A much-honored prep standout who played on three straight state title teams in Marshfield, Mo., Howard helped SMS to four straight regular season conference championships, four straight conference tournament titles, and to NCAA second round spots in 1991 and 1994, a Sweet 16 berth in 1993 and a trip to the Final Four in Los Angeles as a sophomore in 1992. The 31-3 season compiled by the Lady Bears of coach Cheryl Burnett in 1991-92 brought the four-year SMS record in Howard’s career to 104-23 and the Lady Bears were a gaudy 62-2 in Hammons Student Center over those four seasons. Howard teamed with Tina Robbins in the SMS backcourt over the four years the two were in school together, and Howard ended her playing days in 1994 with SMS career records for games played (127), points (1,944) and three-point field goals made (258) and attempted (588). She set an SMS single game point record of 41 and a school, league and national record of 11 threes in one game. Howard won numerous honors, including three first team all-conference selections. She was MVC Player of the Year as a senior, a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America and also a two-time Kodak All-America honorable mention. She was picked as the Sports Illustrated National Player of the Week once during her career, and was selected to receive an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship at the time she earned her undergraduate degree from SMS in 1995. She played for the United States in the 1993 World University Games and her Lady Bears’ jersey number 35 was retired by SMS at the conclusion of her playing days. Howard played professional basketball for two seasons after she left SMS. She was a 1999 inductee into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, in 1999 was the first woman inducted into the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame, and is a 2001 selectee into the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame.