« Ice Harris heading back to UM | Main | News, notes and quotes from the Miami Hurricanes first spring practice in pads Tuesday »

Hiring Ice Harris a smart move for Canes, but making him an assistant coach would be even smarter

High school football coaches across South Florida were happy to hear Monday's news that Miami Booker T. Washington's Tim "Ice" Harris had been hired as assistant director of football operations at the University of Miami.

"Great news for Coach Ice and for The U," former Hurricane and Miami Central coach Roland Smith said. "It means a great deal for him to be back at UM. Everyone in the community knows him. He knows the ins and outs of Liberty City, Overtown and many other places here in Dade. He's going to be an asset."

"I think it’s definitely a good thing for both," said Miami Westminster Christian coach Sedrick Irvin, who spent two years at Alabama and another at Memphis as an assistant and knows the value of having a familiar, local face on a college staff.

"Besides, what else is there for him to accomplish at this level now?" Irvin continued. "State champs three times. National champs. It's always good to see the home school give a local coach who has done well a shot at the next level."

Harris, a three-time state championship winning coach and perennial winner with a 96-10 career record as a head coach, no doubt has earned the respect of coaches locally. As the direct liaison for high school coaches for UM -- among his new duties -- that will come in handy. So will the experience he already has from coordinating community service events the first time he was at UM under Randy Shannon from 2008 to 2010.

But if you're thinking Harris' hiring is going to "lock down South Florida recruiting" you're overestimating it some. Since he's not an assistant coach, Harris cannot recruit like one for the Hurricanes. 

According to UM here is what Harris can't do: He can't coach. He can't recruit. And he can't make phone calls to recruits.

What can he do? He can reach recruits through social media beginning Sept. 1 of their junior year and he can be involved in official on campus visits and eat meals during off campus official vists.

That's hardly the freedom assistants coaches have.

Other college programs have swooped into South Florida over the last two years and hired some of the top local coaches such as Miami Central's Telly Lockette (USF), Miramar's Damon Cogdell (West Virginia), University School's Roger Harriott (FAU) and Hialeah American's Corey Bell (FAU). By making them assistant coaches, they're allowed to go into homes, schools and recruit to the fullest extent. 

Norland coach Daryle Heidelburg was at Miami Edison and Norland when Harris had his first go-around with the Canes.

"If it's pretty much the same job as last time he can make phone calls to the coaches," Heidelburg said. "It’s not on the recruiting tip, but it’s moreso ‘Hey Coach Golden told me this kid was offered. I want to get a correct address and phone number. The coach may start a conversation with him like ‘So how is it over there?’ He can always plug in players that way and talk to them about that.

"They can use that help recruiting. But do I think FAU made a better move with Bell and Harriott? Yes. That’s where the advantage is going to be with Bell, Harriott and Lockette. They’ll coach the kids they are recruiting as opposed to Ice just selling the program.

"Bell, Harriott and Lockette can actually sell the kids, 'Hey we're from Miami and we're recruiting you to these positions.' I don’t know if a liaison position even allows for Ice to ride out with the coach who is recruiting the player."

Irvin, who again has been a part of a college staff at Alabama and Memphis, said where he thinks Harris can make an impact most is with parents.

"Me being realistic I don’t think he’ll have so much of an impact with players, but he can have an impact depending on how they use him and how he comes off to the parents," Irvin said.

Harris has told me in the past if he returned to the college ranks he wanted to be in a position where he could coach and not be a behind-the-scenes guy. There's always the possibility Golden is thinking two steps ahead here and wants to have Harris on staff with the idea of eventually making him an assistant. 

Harris also wants to finish college and get his degree at UM. Part of the reason he left Booker T. was to take advantage of this situation and finish school once and for all. He cannot become an assistant coach until he gets his degree.

"I don't know the details of the job for Ice, but maybe it will be used as a stepping stone to get acclimated to the college game and then maybe next year he’s a position coach," Heidelburg said. "I can definitelly see it like that."

Comments