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Scott High parts ways with football coach Chris Harris

Highlanders to begin search for program's 14th head coach

HUNTSVILLE  |  Scott High is on the market for a new head football coach. The Chris Harris era at the school has ended after just two seasons.

Scott County Director of Schools Bill Hall confirmed the decision to part ways with the high school’s head coach Wednesday afternoon.

“It was a joint decision between myself, Mr. Hamby and Mr. Henry,” Hall said, referring to Scott High principal Jeremy Hamby and athletics director Eric Henry. “We appreciate what Coach Harris did for our program but we felt it was time to move in a different direction.” 

Both Hall and Hamby said that the school will begin accepting applications for the vacancy immediately. While the turnaround is short, it is far from an impossible one; the start of spring practice is not until May 1.

Harris was hired two years ago, coming to Huntsville from Clay County after serving one year as offensive coordinator for a program that was in contention for a state championship. Before that, he was the offensive coordinator at Smith County for one year.

The Scott High job was the first head coaching position for Harris, who had a lengthy resume as an assistant coach both at the high school and collegiate levels. 

The Highlander program struggled to gain traction during that two-year tenure. Player turnout remained low, and the school’s record was 2-18 during that span.

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Nevertheless, Harris boosted fundraising almost immediately and attracted several new assistant coaches to the program for his second season. His team snapped a 20-game losing streak that dated back to October 2020 when it defeated Eagleton 31-7 in the second week of the regular season.

However, it became obvious as the season progressed that Harris and both some of his staff and some of the administration were not on the same page. The relationship between those parties never seemed less than cordial, at least publicly, but it felt increasingly likely that change was inevitable.

At first glance, Scott High is in a better position to hire a football coach now than it was two years ago, when it was looking to replace Josh Terry, simply in terms of available candidates.

Two years ago, Scott High administration interviewed candidates both inside the school system — the most notable being Charles Golden, who has served as defensive coordinator under Harris for the past two seasons — and outside it before ultimately looking to Celina to choose Harris.

This time around there are more potential candidates available, though it is not known whether any of them would be interested in applying for the position.

Scott High administration stressed Wednesday that applications will be accepted and multiple candidates will be interviewed in an attempt to find the best fit for the position. 

Scott High coaches through the years

1.) Gerald Winstead, 1971
2.) Dennis Brown, 1972-1975
3.) Jim “Hoot” Gibson, 1976
4.) Jack Diggs, 1977-1988
5.) Robert Wright, 1989-1992
6.) Gary Sexton, 1993-1994
7.) Bill Hall, 1995-2000
8.) Rick Carter, 2001
9.) Gary Sexton, 2002-2005
10.) Davey Gillum, 2006-2008
11.) Keith Shannon, 2009-2010
12.) Tony Lambert, 2011
13.) Keith Shannon, 2012-2017
14.) Josh Terry, 2018-2021
15.) Chris Harris, 2022-2023

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HUNTSVILLE  |  Scott High is on the market for a new head football coach. The Chris Harris era at the school has ended after just two seasons.

Scott County Director of Schools Bill Hall confirmed the decision to part ways with the high school’s head coach Wednesday afternoon.

“It was a joint decision between myself, Mr. Hamby and Mr. Henry,” Hall said, referring to Scott High principal Jeremy Hamby and athletics director Eric Henry. “We appreciate what Coach Harris did for our program but we felt it was time to move in a different direction.” 

Both Hall and Hamby said that the school will begin accepting applications for the vacancy immediately. While the turnaround is short, it is far from an impossible one; the start of spring practice is not until May 1.

Harris was hired two years ago, coming to Huntsville from Clay County after serving one year as offensive coordinator for a program that was in contention for a state championship. Before that, he was the offensive coordinator at Smith County for one year.

- Advertisement -

The Scott High job was the first head coaching position for Harris, who had a lengthy resume as an assistant coach both at the high school and collegiate levels. 

The Highlander program struggled to gain traction during that two-year tenure. Player turnout remained low, and the school’s record was 2-18 during that span.

Nevertheless, Harris boosted fundraising almost immediately and attracted several new assistant coaches to the program for his second season. His team snapped a 20-game losing streak that dated back to October 2020 when it defeated Eagleton 31-7 in the second week of the regular season.

However, it became obvious as the season progressed that Harris and both some of his staff and some of the administration were not on the same page. The relationship between those parties never seemed less than cordial, at least publicly, but it felt increasingly likely that change was inevitable.

At first glance, Scott High is in a better position to hire a football coach now than it was two years ago, when it was looking to replace Josh Terry, simply in terms of available candidates.

- Advertisement -

Two years ago, Scott High administration interviewed candidates both inside the school system — the most notable being Charles Golden, who has served as defensive coordinator under Harris for the past two seasons — and outside it before ultimately looking to Celina to choose Harris.

This time around there are more potential candidates available, though it is not known whether any of them would be interested in applying for the position.

Scott High administration stressed Wednesday that applications will be accepted and multiple candidates will be interviewed in an attempt to find the best fit for the position. 

Scott High coaches through the years

1.) Gerald Winstead, 1971
2.) Dennis Brown, 1972-1975
3.) Jim “Hoot” Gibson, 1976
4.) Jack Diggs, 1977-1988
5.) Robert Wright, 1989-1992
6.) Gary Sexton, 1993-1994
7.) Bill Hall, 1995-2000
8.) Rick Carter, 2001
9.) Gary Sexton, 2002-2005
10.) Davey Gillum, 2006-2008
11.) Keith Shannon, 2009-2010
12.) Tony Lambert, 2011
13.) Keith Shannon, 2012-2017
14.) Josh Terry, 2018-2021
15.) Chris Harris, 2022-2023

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