By Adam Munsterteiger
(247 SPORTS) – Jack Harris had a burning desire to get into coaching in the collegiate ranks. So along with his wife’s approval, he jumped in with both feet.
And three years into his career as a full-time coach, Harris finds himself back at CU, where he played nearly 1,600 offensive snaps as an offensive lineman.
“It was really just fate,” Harris said of his return to Boulder. “I always wanted to come home.”
The native of Colorado was a four-star prospect out of Chaparral High School. Arizona State, Oregon, Vanderbilt and Washington were some of the colleges Harris turned down when he signed with the Buffs in 2009.
After starting 23 games as an upperclassman and earning a double major at CU, Harris underwent shoulder surgery. He did not attempt a career in the NFL.
“I lost a bunch of weight and was recovering from that. It was a long recovery,” he said. “I went into the oil fields in Bakersfield, Calif., and I coached some football for two years.”
It was in 2013 when Harris served as a team captain at CU that he realized he had the potential to be a good coach.
“My mom always said I would be a coach or teacher at some point but I never really thought of myself like that,” he said. “But after going through a couple turnovers with staff (at CU), I found myself bringing guys together, keeping them on the same page. My senior year, (head) coach (Mike) Mac(Intyre) was just incredible with his messages and who he is. He really put a lot on us as captains to run player-led practices and run drills in practice. At that point I was like, ‘Okay, this is something I am kind of natural at.’
“And when I was working in the oil fields, I found myself looking more forward to practice with eighth graders. At the end of the day, I was game planning and I was like, ‘I have to do something I love.’ At that point, we decided I should follow my passion. Fortunately my wife has a great job where she can move around so it has been awesome. This is what I love doing.”
Harris was the tight ends and inside linebackers coach for Western State in Gunnison in 2016 and he was a graduate assistant at Central Michigan last season. Since joining the Buffs’ staff as an offensive graduate assistant this summer, Harris has been helping Klayton Adams coach the offensive linemen.
“I love them. They are a great freakin’ group,” Harris said of the Buffs’ offensive linemen. “We have a lot of youth but a ton of athleticism, a ton of guys that want to learn and grow. I am excited to see how it plays out.
“They have been really flexible with moving around. One senior, Josh Kaiser, has been awesome moving around. Some days he is with the twos, some days he is with the ones. Wherever we need them, those guys fit in and they are eager to learn. Sometimes you don’t find that with young guys. We have great leadership up top and those guys are doing an incredible job of taking what we’re talking about in the classroom and bringing it onto the field.”
What does Harris hope to add to CU’s staff?
“I just want to do everything the offensive staff asks,” he said. “Coach ‘Mac’ down to Coach ‘Chev’ (Darrin Chiaverini), Coach Adams and Coach (Gary) Bernardi, I want to be an asset to them. I think I can bring a couple ideas that I have gathered through these past few years to try to help us improve. So hopefully I can do that.”