Tribe hands wrestling program to HarrisPublished 5:11pm Monday, July 7, 2014
Wetumpka High School promoted Bill Harris last week to its head wrestling coach opening.
Harris will replace Jeff Glass, who stepped down as head wrestling coach last month.
Assisting under Glass last year, Harris said his goal is to continue to tradition and success his predecessor set.
“I’m very excited and honored. I just want to take (the program) to a higher level,” Harris said Monday. “Coach Glass did a great job of getting Wetumpka wrestling, not just recognition, but to a state contender and respected among Alabama wrestling. It’s going to be hard shoes to fill.”
Indians athletic director Tim Perry said he feels confident in Harris’s vision and ability to improve a Class 6A program that boasts a reigning state champion (Marcus Graham, 160-pound) and has sent multiple grapplers to the AHSAA state tournament the last two seasons.
“He has a passion and an interest in it. He already has a vision for the program and taking it where Coach Glass has gotten the program to,” Perry said of Harris. “I think he’ll leave a mark on (the program) and add to great tradition of it.”
Perry lauded Glass for building a fruitful program, an opening that drew many applicants. But Harris was the right fit, he said.
“We are grateful for Coach Glass’s dedication, hard work and love of the wrestling program,” Perry said. “We are looking forward to coach Harris filling that spot, and adding to the great tradition. I’ve talked to some of the wrestling parents and they are excited. There is some familiarity, which I think is a good thing to promote a coach within the program. We think it’ll be a smooth transition.
“(Wetumpka) did have a tremendous amount of interest and it’s very flattering. I think it speaks to Coach Glass and the wrestling program. It speaks to his credibility and reputation of the program and all the wrestlers who have participated in the program. But I am very excited about Coach Harris and what he is going to bring to our wrestling program.”
While he won’t have state champion Graham on the roster his first season, two grapplers will come off state tourney runs, led by rising senior Khaliq Jones who placed third in 2014 in the 152-pound weight class.
“Khaliq is a contender; he’s exciting to watch. He’s a senior, hard fighter and scrapper, it’ll be fun to watch him take that leadership role,” Harris said. “But it’s with a heavy heart to take the program right now with the passing of Shalom Nowden. He was a wrestling leader among the team. It’s going to be a very honorable, but also humbling task to take it to the next level, to keep up with the task Glass set.
“But I want to make sure we keep the tradition, keep moving forward and adding more tradition, improving the program and being stable in the Wetumpka athletic family. It’s a great responsibility to be handed, but I love being able to help the guys succeed even further.”