Dave Harper recently resigned as Templeton High’s head varsity football coach.
Harper, who will stay on at the school as a physical education teacher, said the time commitment of being the head coach had become too much, and that he would possibly like to help out in an assistant capacity in the near future.
“I still would like to be involved in the program,” Harper said. “I’ll have a little bit more time to visit with my family and do more things.”
For now, the job is first open to district employees, Templeton athletic director Phil James said, but if an in-house replacement can’t be found by the start of next week, the position would then be opened up to qualified candidates from outside the district. A hiring committee will ultimately submit a recommendation to the school’s principal.
“We would like to have someone with experience who’s been around a football program and understands the time commitment involved,” James said, “someone to keep the program going on an upswing.”
The school needs to have a quick turnaround, James said, given that spring football training and practice sessions are fast approaching, and because the new head coach will have to assemble a staff.
“A lot of people think we have a lot of time,” James said, “but really, we’re behind the 8-ball here. Football is almost year-round.”
Harper, a Humboldt State alumnus who played a year with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys in 1990, transitioned from being the Eagles’ athletic director to head football coach two years ago.
He led Templeton through a 6-4 season and a near-postseason appearance in 2009 and to an 8-5 overall record this past year, when the program advanced to the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Northwest Division playoffs. It was the furthest the Eagles have gone since moving from the Central Section before the start of the 2006 season.
Harper stayed on after the playoffs in order to help facilitate the recruitment process for some of his players, James said, including star linebacker Tyler Gray, who signed with Hawaii in February.
As for being an assistant coach, Harper said he wasn’t sure if that would hypothetically mean being a coordinator or a position specialist, as it would depend on the new head coach, and what might be needed on the upcoming staff.
James said the school’s programs are always interested in getting any quality assistance, adding, “and Dave is obviously qualified to help out.”
The Eagles’ junior varsity squad went 9-1 this past season, which has also created high expectations throughout the area.
“I think the program’s going in the right direction,” Harper said. “I thought we had an outstanding staff, and I thought we did well last year.
“We’ve had some great kids, and we just hope the next coach continues on the same path. We’ve got some good kids coming up.”