I've got to admit it. I'm a closet fan of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. My wife has got me hooked everytime it comes on. Well, not my wife really. Kim. But you get the idea.
Anyway, with all the reality TV shows out there following families these days, I figured if the Canes ever had one it would have to be called Hanging With The Harrises. With father Tim "Ice" Harris now on staff at UM, senior Tim Harris Jr. (the school's track star) and incoming freshman Brandon Harris about to begin competing for a starting spot at cornerback, wouldn't it be great to have TV cameras following them around all the time?
I wish I had the money to fund something like that. But since I can't, I did the next best thing. I sat down with the two young men of the Harris family last week for an interview. The following was my conversation with Tim Harris Jr., who will attempt to win a national championship in the 800 meters in two weeks in Des Moines, Iowa. I first interviewed Tim when he was only a junior at Miami Northwestern High. It's great to see him grow into the great young man he is today. For those of you wanting to know, I'll post Brandon's interview later this week.
Q: Before this week's regionals you had won six races in a row included four 800-meter races in a row. Do you still get nervous and what do you to combat it?
A: I still get nervous. You have to. I usually get nervous in a big meet like that. I want to win really badly. I'm nervous now. I listen to music and think about all the good that can come out of this with running well -- being able to finally show everybody I'm one of the top 800 guys around.
Q: You have basically been the heart and soul of the guys' team this season and are the only male advancing to nationals. Can you talk about some of the other guys on the team and where you see the future of the men's track program?
A: Cory [Nelms] and Les [Bradley] are both very hard working guys. Cory has improved a tremendous amount coming off last season. I had him staying with me last summer, getting stronger and staying away from things he probably shouldn't be doing. To finally see those two guys get over that hump is great. I remember last year, it was great for me just me to get to the regional meet. It's great that this team still has other promising guys, hardworking guys. Les has dealt with a lot of injuries and for him to reach regionals is a big accomplishment.
Q: You took fourth at the regional meet this weekend, losing the lead late in the race. But you still advanced to the national championships. How good do you feel right now?
A: I'm in great shape. I've run pretty good so far this season. I got a lot more in the tank. I haven't finished a race yet. So, I want to see where I can finish when I get better and I finish strong.
Q: I know you were training for the regionals last week. But I got a chance to present both your younger brother [Brandon] and your father [Tim Sr.] with The Herald's Male Athlete of the Year and Coach of the Year Awards. Your reaction?
A: It was great to see them get the player and coach of the year award. They've always understood what it takes to make it to the top. As a family we always felt like we had the backing of my parents. I remember just the other day when I was a senior in high school and my dad was just starting as a head coach. To see it go by so fast is incredible. Even with all my accomplishments, nothing gives me a better feeling watching Brandon accomplish the things he can accomplish. We have a great relationship. In sports, you see a lot of siblings overshadow their other siblings. But we support each other. It's great to see him reaching a level now in college football where he's going to be a star on that scene.
Q: So, I'm curious, where does your family keep all these trophies?
A: Brandon has a big trophy case now at home. But my dad has been putting all this new stuff in his office. Dad is funny. With him being at UM now, I kind of forgot he was still part of the [high school] awards ceremony. So when he came into school last week, he was strutting, saying âI got overall coach of the year.' He didn't want to brag about it. But you knew he wanted to show it off a little. We tripped out about that. Plus, he just received the award from USA Today for National Coach of the Year. He's got that one on his desk too. I'm proud of what he's accomplished. It's so nice for him to come out on top the way he has.
Q: Now that your dad has been working at UM since April, how often do you -- maybe the three of you -- get to hang out?
A: I see my dad all the time. It's kind of like it was in high school. I just walk to his office. We go and eat lunch together a lot now. When I left Booker T. [Washington High], I never got to see him a lot. Now, with him down at UM its great, we can get that relationship back to where we used to have. I see him everyday. I sit with him in his office. Even when Brandon comes down. Brandon started working out at UM this week. It's impressive to watch him get out there with those [college] guys and lift.
Q: So, your dad and your brother have enjoyed quite a year. Do you feel like your moment is coming right around the corner?
A: My mom talked to me a lot before the season. She told me all these things, big things are going to start happening for the family. I think my mwas om just trying to motivate me. The way things are shaping up, my mom was right. She's always the one in the background a lot. But nobody knows she's just as big a role as my dad is. She makes sure we prepare well as young men and not just athletes. She doesn't get mentioned a lot when it comes to me and my brother and me. But hopefully, all the things she told me would happen for me will.
Q: What are your plans after the national championships?
A: I plan to stay in Miami. But a lot will depend on how this track season ends. Hopefully I'll be offered a pro contract at the end of the season. But Miami is the plan no matter what happens. After NCAA qualifying and Olympic qualifying I'll take it from there.
Q: Last question: Has Brandon received his freshmen initiation yet?
A: I don't know what happens when it comes to initiating the football players [laughter]. At least, I can't say. I'm just letting him go in with blindfolds. I can't wait to see him on campus and watch him play at home.