Crisp County parts ways with football coach after semifinal finish

Crisp County head coach Brad Harber Photo: Cordele Dispatch
Crisp County head coach Brad Harber Photo: Cordele Dispatch

Credit: Seth Ellerbee

Credit: Seth Ellerbee

Brad Harber, who led Crisp County’s football team to the Class 3A semifinals last season, was forced to resign this week. His record in Cordele was 38-12 in four seasons with three region titles.

’'It came time to part ways,’' Harber told AJC.com. “The administration felt like they wanted to move in a different direction. I’m not sure these days that guys stay at a high school 10-15 years like they used to. I understand their situation, and hopefully it will help my situation as well.’'

Harber made a point to add that Crisp’s decision to release a successful coach was not related to misconduct and described it as ’'just a breath of fresh air for them and possibly for me as well.’'

Harber became Crisp County’s head coach in 2017 after previous coach Shelton Felton led Crisp to a historic 13-1 season and first state semifinal since 1995. Under Harber, Crisp reached a state championship game for the first time in history in 2019, losing to Cedar Grove 21-14.

Crisp lost its semifinal game last month to eventual champion Pierce County 25-13. Crisp led 13-12 in the final two minutes and was poised to run out the clock, but Pierce forced a fumble and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown. Pierce tacked on another touchdown in the final seconds on a forced fumble and recovery in the end zone.

Harber said he would miss his players, three of whom signed with Power 5 Conference teams – Sirad Bryant with Georgia Tech, Christopher Paul Jr. with Arkansas and Preston Lavant with Pittsburgh. Another top player, Nick Mercer, signed with Georgia Southern. All were prominent on Crisp County’s defense, which allowed the fewest points in Class 3A.

’'I loved those guys,’' Harber said. “I didn’t understand their music, and they didn’t understand mine, but it was like a granddaddy situation. Hopefully I touched their lives.’'

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