When it comes to winning an award as prestigious as coach of the year, many people would credit the coach to winning that award for him/herself, but for Pueblo West High School boys varsity soccer head coach Rex Harriman, he considers the award be called the coaching staff award.
“I have been grateful enough to win coach of the year in the South Central League five times with the girls team and five times with the boys team, however when I win the award, I call it our coaching staff award,” Harriman said.
“That is because by winning it, it is saying we had a heck of a year and my entire coaching staff contributed to winning that award. I didn’t do it on my own.”
Harriman also said that winning it this year was all thanks to the largest coaching staff that he has ever had.
“I had a lot of help this year. Tim Decker was my JV coach and assistant varsity coach, Anthony Owens was my C team coach and two assistant varsity coaches and Franco Miceli was my goalkeeping coach. I also had Tony Harrison come in and do my strength and conditioning. It takes an army to coach a great team and those guys put in the time and the effort and made us what we were.”
A sports lover in general, soccer holds a special place in Harriman’s heart.
“I started playing when I was really young all the way up into high school and I even played a couple years while in college. There was a group of us that played together and we consider ourselves the pioneers of Pueblo soccer,” Harriman said. “When I started playing, the Optimist Club started a league called PSSA, it was the first youth program. Then after a couple years, a traveling team was started and I was traveling around the state playing for the Pueblo Rangers.”
Soccer has shown Harriman how to compete, be a team player and how to be a good winner and also a good loser.
The same concepts that Harriman and his team teach their players have been concepts that Harriman contributes to his successful coaching resume.
“Coaching high school soccer is very time consuming and pretty tough at times but once I step on to the field with the players, it’s my heaven,” Harriman said.
“The best part of coaching is the lifelong relationships you create. I love it when past players call, email or text that they did good in their college game, or that they have graduated college, or got a job, or that they are having a baby. And they still call me coach, that’s awesome.”
As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect and practice is one of Coach Harriman’s favorite places to be.
“Every time we hit the practice field, I want to give the player better information than I gave them yesterday, and I want them to do something better than they did it yesterday,” Harriman said.
“It is all about getting better every day, as an individual and also as a team player. Stepping on to the game field is the time when we can showcase what we have worked hard at and have fun doing it. It is time to win.”
When you have won several coach of the year awards, you tend to not change the way you do things because obviously what you are doing is working just fine. Coach Harriman sets the same goals for his team every year which include winning the cup game against the County, winning the league, and getting as far as possible in the playoffs and hopefully win a championship.
“I keep the same goals every year. They are always obtainable goals and it still allows the team to have fun, play as a team, and learn how to be a good winner and a good loser; hopefully learning more about being a good winner,” Harriman said, laughing.
With another South Central League Coach of the Year award under his belt, Harriman said he will continue to do what he does best, coach soccer and enjoy every minute of it.
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