Jacksonville State men’s basketball coach James Green has hired coaching veteran Eugene Harris to his staff, the fifth-year coach announced on Tuesday.
Harris, a native of Scottsboro, Ala., has over two decades of coaching experience in the Southeast, including stops at Auburn and Alabama. He most recently served as the head coach at Florida A&M in Tallahassee from 2007-11.
“We are very excited to have Coach Harris join our basketball family at JSU,” Green said. “He brings a great amount of experience coaching at the highest level of college basketball and has recruited the Southeast for a number of years. I have known him for a long time and, along with Tom Schuberth and Reggie Sharp, we have one of the best and most experienced staffs in the OVC.”
“I’m excited to be at Jacksonville State, which is a great academic institution of higher learning,” Harris said. “I’m joining a head coach that is a proven winner, and our goals at JSU are to win the OVC and go to the NCAA tournament. This is a program on the rise, and I’m looking forward to being a part of this staff and working toward those goals.”
He has an extensive background in recruiting in Alabama and the surrounding states. He began his collegiate coaching career at South Alabama in 1983-84 before serving 19 seasons as an assistant in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Southeastern Conference.
As an assistant at Clemson from 1984-94, Harris guided the Tigers to the 1990 ACC Title and helped them advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
He went from there to Auburn, where he spent seven seasons as an assistant for the Tigers from 1994-01. During his tenure on The Plains, Harris helped the Tigers to the 1999 SEC Regular Season Championship and two NCAA Tournament appearances, including the Sweet 16 and a 29-4 record in 1998-99.
After spending the next four seasons as an Assistant Athletics Director at Auburn, Harris went across the state to the University of Alabama, where he spent the 2005-06 season on Mark Gottfried’s staff. While in Tuscaloosa, Harris helped the Crimson Tide to the second round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament.
He has recruited and coached several NBA players, including Terry Catledge at South Alabama, Horace Grant, Elden Campbell, Dale Davis, Sharone Wright and Chris Whitney at Clemson, Chris Porter, Jamison Brewer and Marquis Daniels at Auburn and Alonzo Gee at Alabama.
He served one season as the head coach at Smith Station High School in Smiths, Ala., and, after a brief stop at Georgia State University, he was named the head coach at Florida A&M. While at FAMU, he led a staff that featured current JSU assistant Reggie Sharp, who also played for Harris at Auburn.
Harris got his start in coaching in the high school ranks, first as the junior varsity coach at Florida High School in Tallahassee, Fla., in 1979-80, then as the head coach at Pelham (Ga.) High School in 1980-81 and at Rickards High School in Tallahassee, Fla., from 1981-83. At Pelham, he was honored as region Coach of the Year by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association.
A four-year starter and three-year letterwinner under Hugh Durham at Florida State, Harris was named to the Metro Conference All-Tournament team as he helped the Seminoles to an NCAA berth. The two-time team captain was named FSU’s top defensive player in three of his four seasons.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Florida State in 1979.