Only five months after accepting a college assistant's job in Kentucky, former Jesuit coach James Harrell is back in the bay area.
Harrell has re-joined the staff at Plant, where he served as co-defensive coordinator on the Panthers' 2006 and '08 state title teams. He'll be an assistant coordinator to John Few and work with linebackers this time around, Coach Robert Weiner said.
His return to South Tampa follows an abbreviated gig as outside linebackers coach at NAIA Kentucky Christian. Reached Monday evening by the Times, Harrell said he came back to Tampa for family reasons.
Harrell's wife, Maria, remained in Tampa while he coached in Kentucky; and youngest son Anthony is beginning his sophomore season at Georgia Tech.
"When I looked at it, (Kentucky Christian) was an excellent opportunity. I learned a lot from the staff, they were really good to me and I really enjoyed the situation," said Harrell, who spent three seasons (2010-12) as Jesuit coach.
"But at the end of the day, I had to make the best decision for the entire family. I wanted to go see my kid play; I couldn't have seen him play on Saturday. I didn't know if that was something I wanted to give up."
Harrell's first assignment: helping the Panthers prepare for Saturday's preseason classic against defending Class 5A state champ Tallahassee Godby at Raymond James Stadium.
"It's an excellent opportunity to be back home and coaching at Plant High School," he said.