Austin Harrell has spent many years building up experience in the coaching department at both the high school and college levels. In May, the Rose Bud School District selected Harrell as the new head boys basketball coach.
“Taking over at Rose Bud is a tremendous honor and a blessing,” said Harrell. “Rose Bud is one of the premier jobs in this area and I’m very fortunate to be the next coach.”
Growing up in Montgomery, Alabama, Harrell’s coaching journey began when he attended high school at Alabama Christian Academy, where he was coached by his father, Derek.
“I’ve always wanted to be a coach since I was young. My father, Derek Harrell, is the one who really got me into coaching. He won back-to-back state championships at Lonoke and has coached both at the high school and college level. He coached me in high school as well and I learned a lot from him.”
Upon graduating, Harrell made the trek to Faulkner University, an NAIA school located in Montgomery, helping guide the Lady Eagles to their best record in school history from an assistant coaching position, adding a Southern States Athletic Conference West Division championship and trip to the NAIA.
A transfer to Harding University in Searcy came next for Harrell, where he was a part of two Great American Conference championship teams. Those same teams also made two trips to the NCAA Tournament. After marrying his wife Hannah, the couple moved down south to Natchitoches, Louisiana to assist at Northwestern State, a NCAA Division I program in the Southland Conference.
Following his tenure there, Harrell found his first head coaching job back in Arkansas at Des Arc, assisting in football while guiding the boys basketball teams. “I’m extremely thankful for my time there.”
The 24-year old is already enjoying Rose Bud as his new home, knowing just how passionate the town’s fans are for their teams. “The community and people of Rose Bud have been amazing to my wife Hannah and I. We’ve had unbelievable support from day one and it have made us feel extremely welcome.”
Harrell and his Rambler teams have been making the rounds all summer long, wrapping up play with a summer camp at Pangburn earlier this week. “It’s been an extremely busy summer for basketball. All my guys want to learn and get better. We’ve been in the gym all summer working on our craft, and it’s been awesome for me to see how much everyone has improved in a short period of time. To me, that speaks volumes that they’re wanting to put in the time and want to be great.”
Moving from school to school has helped Harrell establish the foundation for his coaching philosophy, which was built around his early lessons that included learning how to use on-court experiences to shape one’s self. “My coaching philosophy is that basketball is my mission field. Coaching and teaching the game of basketball is one thing, but to teach them how to be better men is more important. I’ve learned from some of the best coaches and men like Jeff Morgan, Ray Woods, Reed Sutton and my dad. They’re the reason I do what I do.
“I coach hard and expect to win,” exclaimed Harrell. “In order to do that, the guys have to be confident and expect to win as well. We will focus on the little things and make sure we do things the right way. Being positive, being great teammates, having high energy, and playing fundamental basketball is how we’re going to win games this season.”
Harrell will be coaching alongside Bradley Moss, who is entering his third season at the helm of the girls basketball program at his alma mater. “Having Coach Moss help me this summer has been amazing. All of the players and the community love him. He’s been extremely helpful to me and it’s great to have someone like him to coach with. With Coach Moss being from Rose Bud and on the 2008 state championship team, he wants to see Rose Bud be successful as much as anyone, and I’m excited for the opportunity to make that happen. I’m excited for the journey of the upcoming season.”
The Junior Ramblers and Ramblers will open their season by traveling to Benton Harmony Grove November 6 for a benefit game before coming back home to host St. Joseph on November 9.