Peers award Harris
Being honored by one's peers is one of the greatest honors a coach can receive.
After a successful season where he won his 100th dual as the Baldwin High School wrestling coach, Kit Harris was recently honored as the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association's coach of the year.
"I was definitely honored because it was by my peers and friends in the coaching ranks," Harris said. "I really look up to and respect those guys. It was quite an honor to choose me for this award."
Harris will be honored at the annual KWCA meeting during August in Topeka. Activities Director Gary Stevanus was proud of Harris for winning the award.
"It shows the level of respect that other coaches around the state have for Kit and his program," Stevanus said.
Harris won his 100th dual as the BHS coach in December. He finished the year with a dual record of 104-36 during his eight years as the Bulldog coach.
He also coached his team to a second straight Class 4A regional title this year, along with a second consecutive runner-up finish at the Frontier League Tournament.
Harris also coached eight wrestlers to the state tournament where BHS tied its highest team finish ever with a seventh place finish.
As the Baldwin High coach, Harris' teams have won three league championships. He is proud to be the coach of his former school. Harris graduated from BHS in 1991.
"It was really special because coming back to your hometown makes teaching and coaching that much more rewarding," Harris said. "It's been a very special experience here at BHS. That was a special moment for the wrestling program."
One thing Harris is trying to accomplish as the BHS coach is establishing the Bulldogs as a contender for the 4A state title.
"We've kept our expectations high each year," Harris said. "I think if you keep doing the things you're doing that are working and improve the things that aren't working, you're always going to do well. You've always got to get kids that work hard."
He also wants to return the program to its glory that existed in previous decades.
"Our program has history," Harris said. "There was a lot of success in the '70s and then it's been sporadic since then, but there have always been good wrestlers in the line up every year. It's been nice to have success here, especially since I wrestled here."
One way he is trying to bring back the glory is by teaching children at a young age. The Baldwin Youth Wrestling Club has been successful and the Baldwin Junior High School wrestling program has completed two seasons as it prepares wrestlers for high school.
Harris is also highly involved with the sport of wrestling around the state and region.
"I host quite a few camps and I've coached on the Kansas national teams quite a few year," Harris said. "I serve on a lot of boards and officiate collegiately. I have hosted many tournaments. I have a habit of taking on more than I can handle and then trying to make it all work out in the end."