My daddy (that’s his photo on the right) was a real-life cowboy. He was known as Kid Marley and ran horse and cattle operations all across the country. When I came along, my family lived where my daddy’s horse and cattle operations were in Tennessee. I learned a lot about work ethic on those ranches. We broke horses, worked and branded cattle, hauled hay, dug post holes and put up barbed wire fence. You name it, we did it. Now, I always loved sports. So naturally my brothers and I did some rodeoing like Daddy. I could ride a horse like nobody’s business. In fact, I rode a little bit with some trick riders around some rodeo arenas when daddy was rodeoing. My brothers took to the rodeoing more than I did. I loved playing football, baseball and wrestling.
I was fortunate enough to do all three sports in high school. I also had college opportunities in all three sports. I chose football and played four years at the University of Tennessee at Martin for the Pacers, now renamed the Skyhawks. I graduated from UT Martin with a degree in communications. To be honest, if you ask me, ‘Why communications?’ The answer is, ‘I don’t know why.’ So, I gravitated to what I had always loved – football. I became a graduate assistant football coach at UT Martin in 1980, and coached defensive backs there until we all got fired in 1985.
In 1986, I was hired as defensive coordinator at Old Hickory Academy in Jackson, Tennessee which eventually merged with Episcopal Day School in Jackson to become University School of Jackson. I became the head football coach of USJ in 1989 and had twenty-seven great years of coaching with some of the best football coaches and players anywhere. We went to five state championship games; ten semi-final games and a bunch of quarter final games. Most importantly, the players I had the great opportunity to coach were outstanding young men of character and courage. They loved playing football. We prided ourselves on being mentally, physically, and emotionally tough. You achieve nothing great on your own.
As with everything in life all things come to an end and my coaching career ended at University School of Jackson in 2015 after a semi-final season. I was out of coaching for one season before returning in 2017 to coach at Trenton Rosenwald Middle School in Trenton, Tennessee.
My wife, Lisa, and I have two beautiful daughters, Jordan and Kristen, a great son-in-law, J.P. Harrison, and three awesome grandsons – Jack, Eli and Charlie Harrison. Don’t you know we have fun playing whatever sport is in season in the backyard. Being a granddad is awesome!