By Andrew Preston
Trevecca men’s basketball coach Sam Harris won’t return next year.
According to a press release posted Monday night, Harris “will conclude his service as head coach” at the end of this year.
Athletic Director Mark Elliott won’t say if he was fired or if he resigned.
“The press release states he is concluding his service and we’re not saying anything more than that,” Elliott said. “His service has concluded as head coach.”
Harris was informed last Friday, Elliott said.
“He’s had an admirable career,” Elliott said. “I’ve been personally affected because I’ve had two sons who played for him. I’m grateful for that. He’s experienced a lot of wins here. He’s put a lot of time and energy into this program, which we’re thankful for.”
Harris spent a quarter of a century as the head coach of the men’s basketball program and was the university’s longest tenured coach.
“There’s never an easy time, but the timing of this was difficult,” Harris said. “We had just signed some guys and now I won’t be involved with them. We were right in the middle of finalizing a class to get better, so the timing wasn’t great.”
During his 25-year stint at Trevecca, Harris has posted a record of 376-400, making him the all-time winningest coach in school history.
“Change is not always bad,” Harris said. “The opportunity to be at one place for 25 years is unusual. I’m thankful for the players we’ve had and the opportunity to have the responsibility of coaching and trying to help kids become better people.”
As a head basketball coach, Harris has an overall record of 537-569 in 34 seasons.
Harris held four coaching positions before becoming the head coach at Trevecca in 1993.
He was an assistant coach at Judson College, Central Florida, Valparaiso and was a head coach at Messiah College.
Elliott said the decision to part ways with Harris was based on multiple factors.
“It’s never one thing,” Elliott said. “The program has to be viewed as more than singular. It was based on the timing, the success and the trajectory of the program.”
Though no longer the head coach at Trevecca, Harris says he has no plans of leaving Music City.
“My kids have grown up in Nashville, I have grandkids here. Of course I would love to coach again,” Harris said. “The timing wasn’t great, but I’m not just going to pick up and leave because my family is here and this is home.”
For now, the 61-year-old is still unsure of what the future holds.
“I have no idea,” Harris said. “I’m going to do whatever God wants me to do. It might be the end (of my coaching career) for a temporary time, but if the right opportunity comes I would consider it.”
Harris met with the basketball team Monday night to inform them of his departure.
“I encouraged our players to stay and get their education,” Harris said. “I wouldn’t have stayed 25 years if I didn’t believe in the education process at Trevecca and I will continue to do that as well.”
The search for the next men’s basketball coach has not started, according to Elliott.
“I don’t have anyone in mind,” Elliott said. “We had a coach and we don’t have anyone in mind right now. There’s considerable amount of interest already. I don’t know a timeframe right now. My goal is to find a good mission fit for the university.”
Harris was the eighth men’s basketball coach in Trevecca history.
The Trojans finished 11th in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference this past season with an overall record of 6-22 and 5-15 in G-MAC play.
“I’m going to embrace whatever it is that God gives me the opportunity to do,” Harris said. “It’s not the first time that my wife and I have had to pray through a situation. We’re going to take it each day at a time and see what doors may open. My tenure at Trevecca is done.”