A New Era For Husky Football

The News Magazine of HCU

December 13, 2022 marked the beginning of a new era for HCU football with the introduction of Braxton Harris as the second head coach in the program’s history.

“We couldn’t be more excited and we are ready to hit the ground running at HCU,” Harris said when introduced as the Huskies’ head coach. “We are excited for the opportunity to be back in the state of Texas at a faith-based university that doesn’t just talk about it – they live it. We were looking for a place that not only has football, but a place to grow in faith and family – everything we wanted – and HCU is a great opportunity for that.”

“We are committed to winning,” Harris continued. “We are going to say it over and over, we are not only going to do it right, but we can do it while winning.”

“Braxton Harris is a great fit for Houston Christian University,” President Robert B. Sloan said. “We welcome him, his wife, Jennifer, and their four children to the HCU family. His record of achievement with respect to building successful programs, combined with his love of young people, as reflected in his ability to recruit players and lead them to success, both academically and competitively, give the Huskies a promising future.”

Harris, 38, spent three seasons at Campbell, including this past season as the Associate Head Coach, Linebackers Coach and Recruiting Coordinator. During the December 2021 Early Signing Period, the Camels landed the top freshman class in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) according to Lights On College Sports, signing three of the nation’s top 10 recruits. Campbell placed a program-record 12 student-athletes on the All-Big South teams last season, including linebacker CJ Tillman. Safety Myles Rowser was named to the Bluebloods Freshman All-American Team.

In his first season at Campbell, Harris helped the Camels rank fourth in the FCS in takeaways (25) and defensive touchdowns (4). Tillman earned Freshman All-American honors and was a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award given to the top freshman in the FCS.

Prior to Campbell, Harris was the head coach at Howard Payne in Brownwood, Texas, from 2017-19. He led the Yellow Jackets to a 5-5 record in his final season, posting the program’s most overall wins and conference wins (4) since 2006.

He also spent time as the assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator at Texas Lutheran from 2013-16, helping guide a previously 0-10 program to a 25-5 record over three years and three consecutive conference championships. He originally joined the TLU staff in 2011 as the defensive ends and linebackers coach, as well as special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator.

Harris was the safeties coach at Waco High School for one year, after beginning his coaching career at his alma mater, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, in Belton, Texas, from 2006-2009. He played quarterback for UMHB from 2003 to 2005 and was a member of the Crusaders’ 2004 NCAA Division III National Championship finalist team.

Upon his hiring, Harris quickly set about assembling a coaching staff with strong Texas ties. After getting his primary staff in place, the staff had less than a month to go until national signing day on Feb. 1. In less than a month, the Huskies had put together the top recruiting class in program history and a class ranked No. 10 nationally in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), first among all Texas FCS schools and first among all Southland Conference schools.

“We targeted Coach Harris from the start,” Director of Athletics Steve Moniaci said. “We were looking for someone who will energize the football program and someone with strong Houston and Texas ties to recruit at an elite level. Our talent pool during the search was tremendous, as we visited with some great coaches, but in the end, we came back to where we started and feel Coach Harris is the best fit for HCU.”

From there, the Huskies have added more than 25 transfers from Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and FCS programs and junior colleges, adding experience to the roster.

“We’re in the fourth largest city in the United States,” said Harris. “The greatest football is in Houston, Texas. You can drive 10 minutes from our campus and hit three football games with Division-I caliber athletes. We brought back at least 20 Houston kids who are transfers and are coming back home and then at least another 10 are from the state of Texas.”

Spring practices gave Harris his first opportunity to see his returning players, and a handful of newcomers, in action on the field.

“Spring was a lot of fun. It was good to see the coaching staff mix with our players,” Harris added. “We were fortunate, we already had a solid group of players on campus, and we believe in those guys. It was neat to see those guys continue to believe and to build trust with our coaching staff.”

Much like the beloved sign from TV show, Ted Lasso, “BELIEVE” is a word that holds resonance for Harris as a leader of the HCU football program. He stresses the need for the coaches and team to believe in their mission and their abilities as a group. Additionally, he knows the importance of not only talking the talk, but walking the walk.

“You have to do what you say you’re going to do. When I walked into a room with these guys on December 13, I told them my plan to be successful. I’ve asked them throughout my time so far, how are we doing? We have a leadership council that meets with me weekly and they help hold me accountable.”

Harris and the Huskies kicked off the 2023 football season with a win 66-0 over Arkansas Baptist in the team’s opening home game.

« Previous Article
A Challenge Worth Meeting
Next Article »
Facilities Facelift