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New assistant coach joins track and field

Not all accidents will lead you astray, as Chris Harmon found out when he became the newest assistant coach for the Track and Field team.

Recently, Harmon was leaving a potential job at Merritt College when he got lost in the neighborhood and found himself accidentally at the front gates of Mills College. Instantly attracted to what he discovered within the College grounds, Harmon went straight to Haas and knocked on head coach Laura Davis’ door to inquire about any open coaching positions.

After being told a position for assistant track and field coach was opening, he applied and got the job.

“I like teaching girls because a lot of times females are overlooked, especially in sports. It’s like they are considered second class citizens in athletics,” said Harmon. “I like being part of the underdogs.”

Harmon has been coaching track and field for 23 years, and followed his wife across the country from Florida to Oakland for her new teaching job. Before he lived in Florida, Harmon coached in southern California for both Clearwater Christian College and Clearwater Central Catholic.

While Harmon previously held head coaching positions for upward of 70 athletes, he now finds himself coaching just six athletes on this year’s team, specializing in sprints, jumps and hurdles.

“My policy is, ‘I’ll yell for them, but I won’t yell at them,’” he said.

Junior runner Jasmine Abele said, “Chris is strategic about planning practices. We feel he is working well with us, and he’s very positive.”

The cyclones will hold their first meet Sat. Jan. 30 at Skyline High School.

“Some girls are doing the sport for their first time. It’s exciting to me. I remember back in 1970 something when I started doing it.” Harmon said.

“He’s very constructive about his methods. There is a reason why he makes us do certain things,” said Alondra Hamilton, a fellow junior runner. “With Chris, it’s quality over quantity.”

Harmon jokes about how he ended up participating in the sport he now is so passionate about. He signed up for his first meet in high school, as a dare from his father, who Harmon said wanted to “show up” his co-worker’s son, a track and field runner. The meet was 200 miles away, but Harmon proved to be a promising athlete, eventually working his way up to competing on the national and championship levels.

Harmon promotes sports with and through his family. Both he and his wife have coached numerous sports, and his son and daughter participate in not only track and field, but in other sports as well. Though he said, “I am not a die hard sports fanatic,” he does have a soft spot for the Florida Gators.