Tim “Ice” Harris knows he will be a football coach again.
Whether he will be wearing green and orange and the U on his visor when it happens remains to be seen. Harris, who spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday as the University of Miami’s new assistant director of football operations, said he was “blessed” to be back at UM after a similar stint from 2008 to 2010 with former coach Randy Shannon.
“It’s awesome,” said Harris, the pride of Miami Booker T. Washington High and the Miami football community in general. “I don’t feel like a rookie. … I’ve been here before.”
The former Booker T. coach, who won three state championships with the Tornadoes, including a national title this past season, said he feels more confident than before and relishes his new role but realizes that everything points toward getting his bachelor’s degree and becoming a college assistant coach.
“I’m a coach,” Harris, 48, said. “That’s what I do for my life. That’s my passion. That’s my niche in this whole deal, to be a position coach one day.
“Because I’m a developer. I love developing young people.”
Harris’ hiring was announced March 3. He will serve as the primary liaison to high school coaches and in assisting with community-service events for current Hurricanes.
He said he also will deal in “building relationships” with youth coaches, letting them know that UM embraces them and their role in shaping young lives and stressing the value of education.
Harris expects to receive his business degree in May 2015, which would put him in line for any available assistant coach’s position at UM — or most schools, for that matter.
He is especially well-regarded in South Florida, arguably the most fertile recruiting ground in the country. He can’t recruit in his new role, though he can deal with recruits and their parents on campus during visits and can make contact with recruits through social media after Sept. 1 of their junior year.
“Once I get a degree I know I have the ability, and I know I can coach,” he said. “My record speaks for itself in terms of how I do developing young people. So once that day happens and I got it in my hands, my life will change. Trust me.”
For now, it’s all about Coral Gables and working with UM coach Al Golden.
“I’m just focusing on working for Coach Golden,” Harris said. “I appreciate him giving me an opportunity. We’re looking at things that carry your life to the next level. That’s the kind of person that coach is.
“He’s about people, and he wants me as a man to be in position to do what I need to do or want to do in my future.’’
At Booker T. Washington (2003-07, 2011-13), Harris compiled a 99-10 record in eight seasons. He was named Florida Dairy Farmers Florida Coach of the Year in 2012 and ’13 after back-to-back Class 4A state titles, and also led the Tornadoes to the 2007 state title — earning USA Today National Coach of the Year in 2007.
A native of Miami, Harris played three years as a defensive back at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis. His son, Brandon, plays for the Houston Texans and starred at UM as a cornerback.
His oldest son, Tim, was an All-American sprinter for the Hurricanes.
Youngest Son at UF
Youngest son Treon, a quarterback recruited by UM, recently chose to play for the Gators. Harris was asked if that was a strange situation.
“That’s real strange,” he said. “We talk about that all the time. That’s a part of life; that’s a part of how this recruiting thing goes. We’re just happy for him to be able to start his experience come May.”
Later, he said that Treon “wondered if I already knew I was coming here before they were through the recruiting process. I told him, ‘No, it wasn’t like that. This happened after recruiting was over with.’
“That’s why I respect Coach Golden and his staff. They did an awesome job with that, and I appreciate it.”
Harris said his son is always in his heart, adding, “I’m here. This is what I’m breathing. The Canes, that’s what I’m focused on at this point.”