‘This is home:’ Longtime West Branch assistant humbled for chance as head coach of Warriors

Sports

Ken Harris will lead the Warriors this season for the first time after being a longtime assistant with West Branch

BELOIT, Ohio (WKBN) – Ken Harris eats, sleeps and breathes West Branch — from his playing days in the early 80s to joining the coaching staff in 1993.

Now, after two-plus decades with the Warriors, he is finally the head coach.

“This is home to me,” said Harris. “I mean, I live right there on the other side of the woods there. On a quiet day, I can hear my dog barking, so this is home. Gratitude from the bottom of my heart, but it is a very humbling experience because you mentioned the other coaches that have been here before myself.”

Senior tight end Hunter Makcen said he loves Coach Harris.

“He is a great coach. He is really pushing us hard this year,” he said.

“He has done a lot around here,” said Gabe Bickley, a senior running back. “To have him as a coach, he knows what he is doing, and he knows West Branch.”

The transition has been a smooth one for Harris and the Warriors, partly because of his time with the program and also because of his role as a school counselor at West Branch.

“He is just a really good people person and helps us explain stuff to like the fuller extent,” said Makcen.

“He is a leader and he shows me how to become a great person,” said senior lineman Jacob Hurst. “Makes me want to teach all these freshmen, sophomores and juniors just to step up and be as good as you can be.”

Harris will be led by 16 seniors this year — a group that has never made it to the postseason. In fact, the Warriors will look to end an over decade-long playoff drought.

“Yeah, we are ready for it. We are tired of falling short, we just want to win,” Hurst said.

“That would mean a lot to me. It has been a long time since we have made the playoffs, so my senior year, I would be ecstatic,” said Bickley.

“That would be everything. That is the goal to get back in the postseason. That is the icing on the cake, man. Once you get to that game 11, who knows what could happen,” Harris said.

West Branch opens the season August 30 against Woodridge.

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