Don’t get too high or too low. That’s been one of Glen Harrison’s main mantras to success during his 28 years of coaching football and baseball.
In his fourth year as Denton’s head baseball coach, his message to the team was about developing consistency and staying with the system, even when things weren’t going well.
With just a handful of games remaining in the Broncos’ season, Harrison let the players, coaches and parents know that he would be retiring from coaching at the end of the season.
“I made that decision [to announce midseason] because I wanted to put people at ease,” Harrison said. “I felt at ease and I sensed others were at ease. I’ve always been transparent and approachable. I just wanted to get it out there and move forward.”
“I’m retiring because I think I’ve done all that I can do to move this program to this point,” Harrison said. “I’m turning it over better than I found it, but I think it’s time for someone to come in that’s a little younger that can take the ball and run with it. I think I still have a few years left in me. I can take it and walk, but I can’t take it and run and that’s not fair to the kids.”
Harrison was an assistant baseball coach and a receivers and cornerbacks football coach at Denton from 2007 to 2010 before taking over for Marty Green as head baseball coach.
Prior to coming to Denton, he had spent 11 seasons as an assistant football and head baseball coach at Decatur, where he enjoyed plenty of success, earning a winning record in 10 of 11 seasons and turning the school into a baseball powerhouse.
Harrison was also able to coach his son, Chad, in both sports for two years, which were particularly fond memories for him.
“In 2006, we were five outs from going to Austin, so those were the best years and those last couple years I was able to coach my son,” Harrison said. “Both [sports] were equally gratifying. Just watching him have the successes and watching him mature from a ninth-grader until his senior year. Those were some neat times.”
Stepping down as head baseball coach, Harrison will still remain in his instructional technology position and will continue to work on his doctorate in education leadership at Lamar University, which he expects to have finished in 2015 after he completes his dissertation.
A major draw to coaching for Harrison was watching kids go through the maturity process and during his tenure he learned never to give up on a kid.
“Kids will find ways to overcome their deficiencies,” Harrison said. “As a coach, you know it’s in them to be able to excel and succeed, you just have to convince them that they’re able to do that and once you do that, that’s where your greatest joys are; watching kids overcome adversity and go to places they’ve never been before.”
What lies ahead for Harrison in his professional future is still up in the air, but he thinks he’s ready to translate his experience of molding teenagers into the mentoring of teachers and coaches.
“I can help people to maybe not make the same mistakes that I made as a young coach,” Harrison said. “If I could do that, it could be worthwhile. Once I graduate with that degree, who knows what will happen, whether it’s in administration or teaching at the college level. Coaching and athletics have been a part of my life for 43 years and 28 of that as a coach. Yeah it is going to be different. It’s going to be tough.”
Harrison played football at Stephen F. Austin University and spent the year after he graduated selling and designing swimming pools, but he said that year he wasn’t around sports was a quick reminder of what he was missing out on.
“There was a position that opened up at my high school, [League City] Clear Creek,” Harrison said. “I took it and never looked back. I knew once I started coaching, it was for me.”
Harrison’s coaching philosophy is team-oriented at its core and despite not enjoying as much success as he did in Decatur, he thinks Denton’s program is in good hands.
“The one thing I’m proud of is when you lose six or seven in a row, you can start the finger-pointing and you can gripe and moan in the dugout,” Harrison said. “This team doesn’t do that. They like each other. They play well together. I knew going into this year that these guys would be a good group to coach because they have great attitudes. For the most part, we’ve been in every game we’ve played. We played some great competition and our kids battled.”
The Broncos’ final game of the season will be at home at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Trophy Club Nelson. When asked what aspects he might soak in knowing it will be his final game, Harrison wiped tears away from his eyes and said, “This one, not only is it the finality of coaching athletics at the high school level [but] this has been my life and my passion, whether it was here or in Decatur.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.