Veteran girls track coach Phil Harris inspires athletes


Elias Moura, Staff Writer

Girls varsity cross country head coach Phil Harris is well known across the school.
Many of his students and his athletes hold a strong opinion of him.
“He’s really supportive about my grades and all and he’s always pushing me to my limits,” said junior Vitalina Fuentes, who is a member of the girls cross country team.
Here’s what you may not know about the beloved coach and electronics teacher:

What made you start coaching?

I started teaching in 2000 and something was missing. I also have always coached AAU basketball because my son and nephew.

How long have you been coaching track?

I have been coaching track for 20 years.

What is your philosophy of coaching and its relationship to education?

My philosophy of coaching and its relationship to education is that every kid has something to offer to the team.

How do you deal with dozens of runners?

The way I deal with dozens of runners is with other coaches. We have sprint, JV, Vaulters, hurdles, distance and strength coaches that help.

What are your best memories of coaching?

My best memory was winning the outdoor track season in 2012 with coaches that I learned from: Sean Miiler, Bob Sykes and Jermiah Davis. We started with the goal to win the state and we would not be denied (we were all one purpose one goal).

How do you plan on improving as a coach from year to year?

The way I improve my coaching is by attending a coaching class every summer.

What strengths do you see in yourself as a coach?

One strength I have as a coach I believe that anyone can find an event in track and I believe I am good at maintaining a good coach and athlete relationship.

In your highschool years, did you run cross country and/or track?

In my high school years I ran track but it was not fun due to injuries.

How has coaching affected your life?

I like that you can influence so many kids.

How would you handle key players not in another sport routinely not attending out of season activities?

I would encourage any athlete to run to stay in shape/ lift weights to get stronger and to play other sports.

Who is your greatest role model either personally or as a coach?

My greatest role model is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.