Matt Harris Brings Controversy to Classic 8

Kyle Hoeppner and McClane McMullen

Two years ago, Waukesha North named Matt Harris, a 1997 alumni of the school, the head coach of their football team.  Harris came into the position after several years of football experience at various schools around Wisconsin, including time as the wide receiver coach at Brookfield East and the offensive coordinator at Kettle Moraine.

However, since he has been coach, Harris’ record with football hasn’t been as productive as other head coaches in the Classic 8 conference.

 “My goal was to become a head coach, and I felt like Tom [athletic director] did his best sales pitch to get me back to East and run the offense again,” Harris said to Jr Radcliffe of Waukesha Now. “I knew I needed to be mentored by him before I was ready to be a head coach, and it still happened a lot faster than I thought. Between Tom and I, we’ve blended a couple different systems together, and it just really worked. I’m a heavy perimeter guy, and he’s heavy in the run game, and the styles blended really well together. That’s what you saw at Brookfield East last year.”

In this quote, Harris doesn’t seem to be ready for the head coaching job.

Harris says he “blended a couple systems together, and it just really worked.”

Is he serious? Two systems that “worked”?

In Coach Harris’ first year at North, the team saw no improvements to the North Star football record. In fact, they did worse in almost every category. Harris managed to get zero wins in conference, and have less offensive yardage, than the year before he was coaching.

In football, the only two systems in the game are run plays and pass plays. So by Coach Harris saying he “blended” two systems together, it just doesn’t make sense.

“I’m a heavy perimeter guy, and he’s heavy in the run game, and the styles blended really well together.” Of course they did, Coach! It’s football!

Dribbling and shooting have worked well for many basketball teams. In fact, Coach Haase, here at Arrowhead, successfully blended the dribbling, passing, and shooting systems in basketball. Coach Harris, what are you talking about?!

In a Tweet posted on last Friday by Harris, he seems distracted by chants at the AHS vs. Waukesha North basketball game.

“NEVER been more disgusted than tonight when Arrowhead student section chanted ‘FOOD STAMPS’ at our kids! @wiaawi”

The Northstars won that game in double overtime, 83 to 81, at Arrowhead.

Clearly Arrowhead students and staff were disappointed to hear Arrowhead students chanting “food stamps.” And Harris had the right to be mad at AHS and happy for the Northstar win. But should he be less focused on the basketball team’s performance and more focused on the football team’s performance.

On January sixth, Coach Harris wrote an article addressing his issues with the new Classic 8 conference realignment. In this article, Harris spends time making excuses about why his team and players are inferior to other Classic 8 teams. He gives examples of how injuries hindered his team throughout the football season and used these as examples why his team needs to be in a different conference.

However, Harris never explains how being in a different conference will prevent future injuries. Coach, it’s football. Injuries happen. All the teams in the conference had to battle injury, including Arrowhead, who had to deal with injuries such as two players who broke their legs and a player who tore their spleen in game.

Coach Harris, in his article, makes more of an argument that Waukesha North should not even have a football team. These are not issues to bring to the attention of the WIAA–it’s not the conference’s fault that you are losing. May I perhaps suggest merging with Waukesha South’s football program if they seem to be in the same boat?

If I am the Waukesha North athletic director, I’m scared. I’m scared that my football coach doesn’t seem competent in interviews,  and I’m scared that my coach is more concerned about making excuses than making his football team better.

Part of being a football coach is setting an example for your players and teaching them life lessons that go far beyond the sport of football. What kind of an example is Coach Harris setting by whining to the WIAA about things not being fair? Or by focusing on what chants student sections are doing? Or even by yelling profanity at opposing football players, including Andy Hessler, and Jack Bredeson of Arrowhead?

There is one thing, however, that Coach Harris is doing right: philosophy. In researching Coach Harris, we found he has an undeniable and passionate love for his community and the people in it. In his Tweet, he refers to the Waukesha North students as his “kids”.

Currently, Matt Harris may not be the best coach in the Classic 8, but what gives him a good chance for success is his heart and passion for players and students. This is something other schools, including Arrowhead, need to look out for. Once Harris mixes some more experience over the years with his passion, Northstar football may pull through in the end.