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Harris, Jr. Returns Home As Running Backs Coach

Harris, Jr. Returns Home As Running Backs Coach

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – University of Miami head football coach Mario Cristobal Thursday announced the hiring of Hurricanes alum Tim “Ice” Harris, Jr. as the Hurricanes’ running backs coach.

Harris arrives back at his alma mater after spending the past two seasons at UCF, including the 2022 season as the team’s assistant head coach / co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach. Under Harris’ direction in 2022, a dominant running attack helped the Knights lead the American Athletic Conference in total yards per contest, ranking 16th in the country in that category.

UCF ranked ninth nationally in rushing at 228.4 yards per game in 2022—led by veteran Isaiah Bowser. Harris also coached RJ Harvey (118 for 796, 5 TDs) as well as Johnny Richardson (54 for 370); Richardson paced the Knights with a gaudy 6.9-yards-per-carry mark, with Harvey right behind at 6.7.

Bowser in 2022 won second-team All-AAC recognition from conference coaches and Pro Football Network (fourth from Phil Steele), while Harvey merited second-team all-league notice from PFN and third-team all-league honors from Pro Football Focus and Phil Steele. They worked behind an experienced UCF offensive line that saw all five starters earn some sort of all-conference recognition for the second consecutive season.

Harris’ running back corps began 2021 with a bang, as veteran Bowser ran for 172 yards and the game-winning touchdown in the season-opening comeback win over Boise State and then accounted for four first-half rushing TDs a week later versus Bethune- Cookman. Injuries kept Bowser off the field in five later games—providing more opportunities for Richardson and Marc-Antony Richards late in the year—then Bowser rebounded with a dominating 155-yard, two-TD performance in UCF’s Gasparilla Bowl win over Florida.

After adding 110 rushing yards of his own against Florida, Richardson ended up leading the Knights in rushing with 733 yards, ranking seventh in the AAC in all-purpose yardage at 96.92 per game. He earned fourth-team All-AAC honors from Phil Steele. Auburn transfer Richards contributed another 309 yards and scored the game-winning TD in the final minute to help defeat East Carolina.

Harris, an integral part of FIU’s football success the previous half-dozen years (2015-20) as running back coach and eventually offensive coordinator and play-caller, was named co-offensive coordinator and running back coach at UCF on Feb. 21, 2021.

In 2020, Harris tutored a Florida International running attack led by Phil Steele third-team all-league selection D’vonte Price, the league leader in rush yards per carry (6.84). Price also ranked 11th in the nation for rush yards per game after averaging 116.2 yards per contest. He finished over the century mark for rushing in all but one game in 2020, earning a career-high 178 yards against Florida Atlantic.

Harris oversaw five of FIU’s seven games in program history with two or more running backs over the century mark. Jones continued his success over the course of the season as he strung together a streak of three games over 100 yards rushing, becoming just the second Panther to achieve that feat.

During the 2018 season, Harris developed his unit into one of the most productive ground attacks in Conference USA and one of the most successful in program history. Florida International broke the school’s single-season records for rushing TDs (27) and rush yards per carry (4.8), while also logging the second-most rushing yards (2,286) in program history and the second-highest rush-yards-per-game average (175.8).

In 2018 Florida International finished third in Conference USA in rushing yards, rush yards per game and rushing TDs, while averaging the second-highest rush yards per carry in the conference. Under Harris, running backs Jones and Maxwell finished first and third on the team with eight and seven TDs, respectively. Harris developed Jones into a 2018 All-Conference USA honorable mention selection despite only having him available for six games. Harris implemented a balanced ground attack that helped running backs Maxwell, Price and Shawndarrius Phillips all finish with top-20 rankings in Conference USA rushing yards. Maxwell and Price also finished third and fourth on the team, respectively, with 771 and 743 all-purpose yards.

The 2017 season was a banner year for the Panther offense, with Florida International amassing 5,100 total yards to come 37 yards shy of setting a program record. Florida International scored 333 points in 2017, second in program history for a single season. The Panthers were masters at moving the chains as well, with Florida International setting a school record for first downs (269) in a season. Florida International also ranked first in the NCAA for red-zone offense after scoring on 40 of 41 attempts (97.6%).

On the ground, the Panthers earned the second-most rushing TDs (20), yards (2,069) and yards per game (159.2) in school history. Overall, Florida International finished with four games over 200 yards on the ground, while the 379 yards against Massachusetts rank as the third most for a single game in school history. Under Harris’ guidance, three players gained over 450 yards rushing in 2017 with Alex Gardner leading the running back stable with 719 ground yards.

Harris came to Florida International after one year as the head coach of Booker T. Washington (Florida) High School in 2014. In his first season as head coach, the Florida Class 4A Coach of the Year (and son of longtime legendary Washington coach and 2012 and 2013 Florida Dairy Farmers Coach of the Year Tim “Ice” Harris) led the Tornadoes to their second-straight 14-0 record, their third-straight Florida 4A state title and a No. 2 final national ranking (USA Today). The Tornadoes capped the title run with a 54-35 state championship win over Jacksonville Bolles.

Harris Jr. was named the 2014 Florida Dairy Farmers Football Coach of the Year, the 2014 Miami Dolphins George Smith South Florida High School Football Coach of the Year, the 2014 NIKE Football State Coach of the Year and a finalist for the 2014 U.S. Army All-American National Coach of the Year.

Prior to taking over the reins in 2014, Harris was the offensive coordinator for the Tornadoes for five seasons. During that time, he also coached wide receivers and quarterbacks. In 2013, Harris helped Booker T. Washington win the 2013 national championship, averaging 41.9 points per game.

He also served as the Tornadoes’ head track and field coach from 2010-2014. During that time, Washington won the 2014 Florida 2A Boys Track & Field State Championship and was the state runner-up in 2013. Harris was awarded the Miami-Dade County Boys Track & Field Coach of the Year honor in 2013.

Harris was a four-time NCAA All-American in the 800 meters and six-time (indoors and outdoors) Atlantic Coast Conference champion in the 800 for the University of Miami track and field team. A 2022 inductee into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame, Harris’s time of 1:47.99 is still third in program history when it comes to the 800.

Harris and his wife Nicolette are parents of a son, Timothy.