"There's really no story," he says. "It wasn't that I was really unhappy or they were unhappy with me."
He adds "(I) wanted to get back into California and I wanted to try some new things, and no, I can't think of any particular thing that made me leave."
Other than maybe all that blue in the stands.
"I looked up in the stands and BYU scored the first touchdown, and I swear there was more blue in the stands than red," he says.
He coached at Long Beach City College for two years after leaving Utah, then invested in building apartments and high-end housing before retiring at 61.
Howard says he still follows the Utes. When he can't see them at home, he finds a sports grill with the right channels.
"I root very strongly for Utah," he says. "I'm a super Ute fan. When the BYU game comes, I know they're playing and we watch the game."
He says he loved it when Utah drubbed Alabama in last year's Sugar Bowl.
As for his famous "hatred" quote, Howard says it was misinterpreted.
"I had used that word before, and had other coaches use it on us," says Howard. "It doesn't mean I really want to shoot you, I just want to beat you. That word, to me, is used when you really want to beat somebody badly."
In that case, he'll be glad to know his legacy lives on.
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