Tim “Ice” Harris, who won three state championships at Miami Booker T. Washington – including a national title this past season – has accepted a position on the University of Miami football staff as assistant director of football operations.
Harris, 48, will be the primary liaison to high school coaches at UM under coach Al Golden. He will also assist in coordinating community service events for current student-athletes.
It’s his second stint with the Hurricanes. Harris served as a special assistant to head coach Randy Shannon from 2008 to 2010, coordinating the football team’s community relations projects and also assisting in other day-to-day operations of the football program. So this new job is a lot like the old one.
“If there’s one thing he would want to be said it’s that it was a gut-wrenching decision for him because he’s so tied up to the [Overtown] community and to those kids,” said Eddie Arza, a longtime friend of Harris and an assistant at Booker T. prior to 2013.
Arza said Harris ultimately decided to leave because he knew he was leaving Booker T. in good hands. His longtime assistants agreed to stay on and help out his son, Tim Harris Jr., who will assume the role of head coach after serving as offensive coordinator the last few years. Harris Jr., 28, was an All-American 800-meter runner in track at UM, and played quarterback in high school.
Arza said Harris Sr. intends to complete his college degree at UM and called that “a big selling point for Ice.” Harris, who told The Miami Herald in the past his only interest in returning to college would be if he could coach, can’t become an assistant coach in college until he gets his degree, Arza said.
Harris is well respected with over 25 years of coaching experience in South Florida as both an assistant at Miami High, Northwestern and Miami Central and head coach (he went 96-10 at Booker T. in eight seasons). Harris coached UM offensive coordinator James Coley when he was quarterback at Miami High. Harris, who has coached mostly offense throughout his career, played three years as a defensive back at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis.
Unlike his last move to UM, this one wasn’t family related. Harris’ youngest son, Treon, a star quarterback on Booker T.’s back-to-back state championship teams, signed with the University of Florida last month.
Together the Harris family led Booker T. to 26 consecutive victories and back-to-back state titles the past two seasons. The Tornadoes (14-0) finished the year ranked No. 1 in all seven national high school football polls.
In his first stint at Booker T. from 2003 to 2007, Harris Sr. went 57-7 and guided the Tornadoes to a state championship in 2007. He was named USA Today’s National Coach of the Year. He then followed his son Brandon Harris, a standout cornerback now with the Houston Texans, to UM the following fall.
UM signed two of Booker T.’s top recruits in February: five-star All-American defensive end Chad Thomas and four-star defensive end Demetrius Jackson. UM also has Booker T. standout running back Mark Walton (currently Class of 2016) committed as a recruit.
“I think it’s definitely a good thing for both,” said Miami Westminster Christian coach Sedrick Irvin, who spent two years at Alabama and another at Memphis as an assistant and knows the value of having a familiar, local face on a college staff.
But Irvin and other coaches warn if fans believe Harris’ hiring is going to “lock down South Florida recruiting” for UM, they’re overestimating it some. Since he’s not an assistant coach, Harris cannot recruit like one for the Hurricanes.
What is Harris allowed to do?
“If it’s pretty much the same job as last time he can make phone calls to the coaches,” Norland coach Daryle Heidelburg said. “It’s not on the recruiting tip, but it’s moreso, ‘Hey Coach, Golden told me this kid was offered. I want to get a correct address and phone number. The coach may start a conversation with him like, ‘So how is it over there?’ He can always plug in players that way and talk to them about that.”
What can’t Harris do at UM?
No coaching, no recruiting, no phone calls. He is allowed to make contact with recruits through social media after Sept. 1 of their junior year.
Harris can also be involved in official recruiting visits on campus and eat meals off during visits off campus.