PREP SOCCER: Harbin stepping down as Bearcats Head Coach

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Cullman Varsity Boys Head Coach Casey Harbin announced Tuesday that he would be stepping down as head coach of the Bearcats. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. — After spending 12 seasons at the helm of Cullman’s Men’s varsity soccer program, Head Coach Casey Harbin is stepping aside. Harbin announced the decision in a statement posted Tuesday afternoon. 

The statement reads,

“I, Casey Harbin, hereby resign from my position as Cullman High School varsity boys head soccer coach effective immediately.

I leave the Cullman Boys soccer program at a major crossroads, but the future is bright. I see great potential in some of the young players. For them to reach their full potential, they need an energetic, patient, disciplined and knowledgeable coach to guide them and I feel I no longer possess those attributes.

I will never forget the memories and friendships I have made through this opportunity nor the people who supported me along this remarkable journey. Thank you so much! I am forever grateful to Mrs. Hall and the administration for taking a huge risk on a 21-year-old with little coaching experience as their head soccer coach. I was never easy, but through the highs and lows, I have always done my best to honor your faith in me and I hope I have made you proud.

I owe everything I have to this position including my teaching career. My role as a teacher at Cullman High School means the world to me; however, I soon became aware of how much my position as head soccer coach interfered with my responsibilities as a teacher. I once had a student leave a Psychology class review that said, “You’re a way better teacher when it’s not soccer season.”

That resonated with me for years. It forced me to assess my time commitments to both teaching and coaching. Upon reflection, I now truly believe it is impossible to simultaneously be a phenomenal head coach and a phenomenal teacher. In my experience, great success at one requires great sacrifice at the other.

In that analysis, I also finally acknowledged the staggering disproportion between the time required for executing all of a head coach’s duties (just to name a few: administrator, clerk, negotiator, event planner, accountant, mediator, PR consultant) and the time spent actually coaching. I never noticed this discrepancy in the early years, and I wondered why it went unnoticed for such a long time… and then it hit me. Coaches overcome all of these difficult, often unexpected, aspects of the job for the fire of competition, investment, hard work, but most of all, player development. We love developing students as athletes as well as people. That is the fire that supersedes all else. When the fire is out, it is time to move on.

Cullman Boys Soccer was under my watch for 12 years. In that span we made the playoffs nine times, won five area championships, went to four Final 4’s, finished state runner-up in 2017 and won the state championship in 2016. The coaching fire burned inside of me for those 12 years ‘But now my fire is out and now my watch is ended.’”

In his 12 seasons at Cullman, Harbin compiled a 133-115-19 record and helped lead the Bearcats to nine playoff appearances, five area titles, four different trips to the Final 4, a state runner-up finish in 2017 and a Class 6A State Championship in 2016. Harbin was also selected as one of the North All-Star coaches in 2016.

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