Chris Harris’ parents were both educators.
His father spent more than 20 years in the military, and while he always pushed for discipline, he also supported Harris in all his endeavors, Harris said.
Harris would give anything for his parents to be here today and celebrate his latest milestone.
An accomplished athlete and head coach of many years, Harris has been named the first full-time athletic director for Rutherford County Schools.
“I know he would be extremely proud of where I am, and I know he’s looking down on me right now,” Harris said of his father.
Director of Schools Bill Spurlock made the announcement today, praising Harris for his integrity and his hopes for the future.
“He’s a great man of high character,” Director Spurlock said. “We’re excited to have him in this new expanded role working with principals, school athletic directors and coaches to further enhance our athletic programs and the benefits they provide for students.”
Harris succeeds Tim Tackett, who has served as a part-time athletic director for the district since 2013.
In the expanded role, the athletic director will work with middle and high schools to coordinate athletics and help brand Rutherford County Schools’ extensive programs.
Harris plans to be visible at games for “all sports,” not just those that are revenue-producing, he said.
“(It’s important) they know that there’s a connection to the Central Office, there’s a connection with the AD, that parents know they have someone who is interested in what’s going on with their student-athletes and that coaches know they have someone who cares about their programs,” Harris said.
Harris — an educator of more than 30 years who most recently taught U.S. History at Siegel — has a storied and award-winning athletic record.
He grew up in Knoxville and won a state championship in basketball as a student-athlete with Holston High School.
He was recruited to Middle Tennessee State University by Coach Jimmy Earle — a personal mentor to Harris. As a senior, he started at center for the Blue Raiders and will always be remembered as a part of the team that upset Kentucky 50-44 in 1982 during the NCAA Tournament.
He served as an assistant basketball coach at Gallatin, Smyrna and Riverdale before serving as head coach at Holloway for a year before being named the head coach at Siegel High School.
Harris coached Siegel boys basketball for five years from 2003-2008 and led the Stars to three state playoff appearances, including a trip to the Elite 8 and twice to the Final Four. His overall record at Siegel was 113-55.
He retired from coaching after the 2007-2008 season but never left the world of prep athletics. He spent time as a soccer administrator, drove for the school’s wrestling team and was a resource to his former assistant coach.
With his new position, he wants to draw on his past experience to support others with their accomplishments and aspirations.
“I still have something I can share with the knowledge I’ve gained over the years as a player and as a coach,” Harris said. “I still have something to give.”