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Q&A with New Marshall Head Football Coach Clint Harper

New Marshall head football coach and athletic director Clint Harper speaks at a Monday press conference in Marshall. (Courtesy MISD)

Marshall announced the hiring of new head football coach and athletic director Clint Harper on Monday. The Marshall native has high hopes for the Mavericks.

Harper comes from Leander, where he led the Lions to a 20-6 record and consecutive third-round Class 5A playoff appearances each of the last two seasons. Leander went 11-2 in 2012, losing 29-27 to Corpus Christi Flour Bluff in a 5A Division II Region IV semifinal.

Harper is a 1994 graduate of Marshall, where he played quarterback for the Mavericks under the program’s all-time winningest coach, Bill Harper. Clint Harper’s father, Sid, was an assistant under longtime Marshall coaches Bill Harper and Dennis Parker, who led Marshall to a 1990 Big 5A state championship.

Clint Harper plans to bring a zone-read offense to Marshall. The offensive-minded head coach will call his own plays. He replaces Alex Richters, who resigned in December after going 3-17 in two seasons as head coach.

ETSN.fm talked to Clint Harper for a while Wednesday afternoon. Here’s what he had to say.

  • ETSN: What does it mean to be back in your hometown?
  • CH: It’s a dream come true for me to go back to the place where you saw your father win a state championship and have so much success. To see a town come together for all those great games in the late ’80s and early ’90s and be able to come back and try to do the same thing, it’s pretty special.

 

  • ETSN: What kind of offense can we expect to see Marshall running with you at the helm?
  • CH: We’ll run some zone-read stuff. There’s enough athletes at Marshall that we’ll find somebody who can run the zone-read. We’ll be inside-outside, one-back and throw the ball around and make the defense defend the entire field. We wanna run the football and have great play-action off the run.

 

  • ETSN: Defensively what scheme are we gonna see?
  • CH: Looking at probably going to an odd front. We were odd stack down here at Leander, and if we have three guys able to play inside linebacker, we could do that in Marshall. It just depends on our personnel. If we end up with four down linemen that would be great, but I have yet to coach at a place that had four down linemen. That doesn’t happen very often. Some of these guys like Longview can do it, but I haven’t ever been at a place that we were able to have 280- and 290-pound defensive ends and defensive tackles running around. We’ll probably be in an odd front, I’d be willing to bet. We’ll be mutliple but be simple and know what we’re doing. That’s how we were at Leander. We looked real complicated but our kids knew what to do. That’s a big reason why we only gave up 71 points in 10 games last year.

 

  • ETSN: What are the challenges facing you at Marshall considering the recent struggles they’ve had on the field?
  • CH: I think you’ve got to obviously change the culture and make the kids believe they can win football games. When I got to Troup they had won three games in two years. Now, I’m not gonna say we’re gonna do what we did in Troup and go four rounds deep the first year. That was a special team with some special players. But we’ve got to be hungry to win, and willing and ready to work hard. It comes down to three things. Competition — everything we’re gonna do is a competition. We’re gonna work hard, and then we’re gonna do what’s right. If you do those three, winning usually will take care of itself.

 

  • ETSN: You hear the term “sleeping giant” thrown around often. Is Marshall the kind of program that could have that label?
  • CH: I don’t think there’s any doubt. I kinda compare it to the early ’80′s when Marshall struggled, and then coach Parker got there. Or the early 2000′s before coach (Rodney) Southern. The situations are very, very similar. I’m hoping to be able to get the program back to playing for state championships like those guys did, but I can tell you, if we do, I won’t be going anywhere else. This is my green pasture. There’s no other job in the state of Texas that I want. That’s the difference.

 

Clint Harper Timeline

  • 1994 — Graduated from Marshall High School
  • 1994-98 — Played football at Hardin-Simmons
  • 1998-2000 — Troup offensive coordinator
  • 2000-03 — Jacksonville receivers coach
  • 2003-06 — Baytown Goose Creek Memorial offensive coordinator
  • 2006-10 — Leander offensive coordinator
  • 2010-12 — Leander head coach

 

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