Booker T. Washington announced Monday it is keeping its football leadership in the family.
With the news that his father, Tim “Ice” Harris, was headed back to the University of Miami to join the Hurricanes coaching staff, Tornadoes offensive coordinator Tim Harris Jr. was tabbed to succeed him as the school’s football coach.
Harris Jr. will now be entrusted to continue the legacy his father spearheaded that includes three state championships since 2007, back-to-back state titles the past two seasons and a consensus national championship in 2013.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity,” Harris Jr. said. “It’s a bittersweet feeling at the beginning because of my dad leaving after everything we accomplished together. But he’s been putting me in position to handle what comes with this type of job, and he’s been showing me the ropes. I knew it was a matter of time, but there’s no greater feeling than this happening here at Booker T. Washington.”
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The elder Harris accepted a position at UM as assistant director of football operations and will also be the primary liaison to high school coaches under Hurricanes coach Al Golden. He will also assist in coordinating community service events for current student-athletes — a task he had experience with during his first stint at UM (2008 to 2010) under then-coach Randy Shannon.
Between his first stint at Booker T. from 2003 to 2007 and from 2011 to 2013, Harris’ teams compiled a 96-10 record, and he twice earned National Coach of the Year honors.
“I’m not coming in here to just keep this above water,” Harris Jr. said. “I want us to keep improving and getting better. We know there are a lot of things we need to get better at to once again be a national championship football team.”
Harris Jr., 28, just finished his fifth season on the coaching staff at Booker T. since graduating from UM where he had an All-American track and field career. During that span, he has also coached wide receivers and quarterbacks, including his brother, Treon, who just signed with the University of Florida.
Harris Jr. met with Booker T. players in a team meeting at the school’s library Monday afternoon where he was formally introduced as the new coach. Several of the players already knew of the school’s decision through social media after the news broke early Monday.
“It’s good for our program and good for the kids coming back because they get a guy [in Tim Jr.] that’s just like playing for Coach Ice,” said senior defensive end Chad Thomas, a University of Miami signee. “It’s good for him to finally get a coaching job, too. He’s learned a lot from his pops, and he’s still got him down the street [at UM].”
Harris Jr., a Booker T. alumnus and former starting quarterback on the team in the early 2000s, had been approached over the past three months by several local high schools about a head-coaching position, but did not accept any of them.
“I’ve been a big believer in my faith,” Harris Jr. said. “I had a lot of opportunities since the end of the season and I was on the fence about a lot of things. But I prayed a lot and I think now the man upstairs is showing me that he had it destined for me to be a head coach soon and he put me right here.”
The goal for Harris Jr., who also coaches the school’s boys’ track and field team, is to keep Booker T. Washington’s dominance going as the Tornadoes enter next season on a 26-game winning streak.
Harris said he was optimistic of the team’s outlook for the 2014 season that will likely include another road game in Georgia and potentially another against another notable out-of-state opponent.
This past season, Booker T. defeated Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas and Norcross in Georgia in nationally televised games.
Harris Jr. said he has also been involved in the process of getting his players into college along with his father over the past few years. Booker T. had 16 players sign on National Signing Day this past month.
“For the past two years, my dad had me as the first contact guy with colleges and learning what goes through that process,” Harris Jr. said. “We will continue to get our kids to more camps in the summer and continue to be ready when colleges come in and want to see our kids on an individual basis.”