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Sam Harrell returns to coaching at Brownwood
April 20, 2012By David McNabb of VYPE MAGAZINE - DFW
Three-time state champion coach Sam Harrell, who has missed the last two seasons with health problems, is returning as an assistant at his alma mater Brownwood under Lions coach Bob Shipley. Ennis won state championships in 2000, 2001 and 2004 under Coach Harrell, who resigned before the 2010 season as it became more difficult to coach with his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
Harrell's physical strength has improved greatly in the last year and Shipley announced Tuesday that Harrell would be joining the Lions staff.
“Sam is one of the greatest minds in the history of high school football," Shipley told the Brownwood Bulletin. "He started developing the spread offense back in the early ‘90s before anyone else was doing it. He is truly a pioneer in our profession."
The 54-year-old Harrell will coach quarterbacks as Shipley has elevated Brownwood assistant Bryan Clark to offensive coordinator after Shipley's longtime OC Jeff Merket was lured away as head coach at Cleburne.
Harrell is considered an icon in Texas coaching. A '75 Brownwood graduate, Harrell played quarterback under Gordon Wood and became a Brownwood assistant under Wood in 1982 until 1990. Hired at Ennis in 1994, Harrell built a previously downtrodden program into a state power with a 153-51 record including state championships in 2000, 2001 and 2004.
Harrell's sons, Graham and Clark, were record-setting high school quarterbacks and Graham set multiple school and Big 12 Conference records at Texas Tech and plays for the Green Bay Packers.
Harrell is coaching in Brownwood spring practices this week. Harrell did a 20-minute radio interview with 1660-AM (ESPN Radio) in Waco with David Smoak on Thursday afternoon discussing his comeback and his rehabilitation progress and effort to recover from MS with stem-cell research.
"We will be very cognizant of his health and will do everything we can to make sure that we’re not doing anything to hinder the progress he has made,” Shipley said. “His health is the reason he didn’t want to take on the roll of offensive coordinator. He wants to coach the quarterbacks and just enjoy the opportunity to get back to the fundamentals of coaching and not have the stress of being the head coach or a coordinator.”