Howard University has been playing football longer than most HBCUs — but it recently did something that it has never done.
Janice Pettyjohn has been hired as director of on-campus recruiting in addition to her duty as assistant director of football operations at Howard University. She is the first woman to hold a full-time position with the school’s football program. And she’s just barely old enough to drink.
‘I’m 22, about to be 23, doing what some 30 year old’s are just getting started doing,” Pettyjohn said. “You’re finding coaches on my staff who have coached in the NFL, who have played in the NFL. Coaches, who I’m not going to necessarily say ages, but they’re over the age of 40 and 50, who have been in this game for quite some time.”
The New Jersey native is responsible for on-campus recruiting, runs operations such as maintenance of the football facilities and assists with the coordination for events.
She started out as a student at Howard’s sports medicine residency program in 2017 when she came on as a graphic designer under then-head coach Mike London.
“And then from there, my name just kind of started floating around. And next thing I know, I’m working with operations, I’m working with the color commentating people on the radio, I’m working with the (sports information) department,” Pettyjohn said. “I was always the person kind of with that mentality like that if it has to get done, I’m going to be the one that gets it done.”
Pettyjohn graduated from Howard’s Sports Medicine Residency program with a minor in sociology. By that time, Larry Scott had taken over the program. He gave
full-time position at Howard fresh out of college — its rare. Coach Scott really saw the potential in me.”
That potential has been nourished by mentors-turned-coworkers.
“Two of our associate AD’s will literally just call me sometimes to say you’re doing a great job,” Pettjohn said. “Our academic advisors will just call me and say you’re doing it. And my coaches tell me all the time. So even when I don’t feel it, if I don’t give myself the credit, there’s always someone else there in my ear.”