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Former football coach Rock Harrison inducted into Hall of Fame

Coach+Rock+Harrison%27s+widow%2C+along+with+his+son+and+daughter%2C+receive+award+in+his+honor.
Coach Rock Harrison's widow, along with his son and daughter, receive award in his honor.

Coach Rock Harrison's widow, along with his son and daughter, receive award in his honor.

Coach Rock Harrison's widow, along with his son and daughter, receive award in his honor.

Camille Knecht, Assistant Photography Editor

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It is said that those who have passed live on through memories, and the WF Athletic Booster Club and Athletic Director Mike Joyner made head football coach Rock Harrison’s legacy continue by honoring him in the Hall of Fame.

Both English teacher Justin Richards and football coach Reginald Lucas had the opportunity to play varsity football for Harrison from their sophomore to senior year.

“Coach Harrison was the ultimate motivator, I would have to say, as far as getting the complete max out of all his players,” Richards said. “He would support you ultimately because he knew exactly what he could get out of you, even if you didn’t believe that you could actually put forth that effort yourself.”

Richards still remembers his first impression of Harrison upon meeting him.

“I was intimidated because he was a no nonsense kind of guy,” Richards said. “He was an old-school coach, and looking back at it, I wouldn’t want it any other way because I felt like it prepared me the most for post-high school and the man I am today.”

Vivid memories of previous victories on the field stand out for teachers who have played for Harrison. Richards, quarterback, recalls a game played in 1995 at Harnet Central  where a comeback was made.

“We completed one pass for around 30 yards, and we completed another long pass for about 25 yards and set up one of the final plays, and we scored a touchdown with about 10 seconds to go,” Richards said. “I remember seeing him running towards me, and just seeing his expression and getting the chance to hug him was a really special moment that I always look back at.”

During losses, Harrison provided encouragement to remind his team that the season was not over yet.

“I remember one game at Cary. They were just really good, and we didn’t play well,” Richards said. “That Monday at practice he gave us a speech and said, ‘these are the times that test you as a person and as a team, so are you going to want to give up because you got beat and took a tough loss, or do you want to continue, come back, practice, work hard, and win the next week?’”

Harrison gave his players advice and instilled confidence that has stuck with them over the years.

“As a player in 10th grade, he told me I would be the starting QB and needed to be the leader on the field,” Lucas said. “After college when I started helping him as a coach, he told me coaching football was my calling, and that gave me encouragement to pursue coaching.”

Not only do his past players remember Harrison as a coach, but also as a person off the field.

“He was laid back until you got him fired up. Everyone wanted to be around him as a person. He could make you laugh and also share some great stories with you,” Lucas said. “I remember my first coaches’ clinic with him. He was like a celebrity. All the coaches from around the state knew and respected him.”

Lucas developed a tradition of his own to share his inspiration with his players.

“I still miss him today. Before every home game on Thursday and Friday, I have each player and coach touch his monument to show respect and honor for what he meant to our school and community,” Lucas said. “I hope this tradition continues forever.”

According to teachers, Harrison deserved to be inducted in the school’s first Hall of Fame due to his impact on the school.

Richards said, “I was really proud of the fact that he was inducted in the Hall of Fame, and I think that’s the way it should be because he is a true legend.”

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