Catasauqua Press

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Harris' football life comes full circle

Thursday, August 13, 2015 by JEFF MOELLER Special to the Press in Sports

In football and in life, Jeff Harris has realized how life can be one big circle.

When Phil Dorn was hired as the head coach at Catasauqua, Jeff Harris reached out with a phone call to his former boss at Pocono Mountain East. Dorn accepted and then made him an offer to join his staff.

A few years earlier, Harris called Dorn then a coach at Pocono Mountain West to inquire about a job when he was hired as the head coach at Pocono Mountain East.

Furthermore, Harris was a player on current Roughie defensive coordinator Frank Scagliotta's Pocono Mountain team when they won a district title in 1988. Also, Dorn and Scagliotta have a long relationship through coaching at the Pocono-based school.

So, when Harris received the offer last year, it basically was a no-brainer. Ironically, he has been an assistant at Nazareth High School, where head coach Rob Melosky resigned only to be later replaced by former Catty head coach Tom Falzone.

"Phil (Dorn) called me when he went to be the head coach at (Pocono Mountain) East," noted Harris, who assists Dorn with the offense and coaches the receivers. "I played for Frank (Scagliotta) in high school. It was perfect timing because Rob Melosky had just resigned at Nazareth."

The only possible drawback to the whole situation was adjusting from a large environment to a small one.

"I knew they (Catty) graduated a lot of seniors and they only had two kids back who had seen substantial playing time from a year ago. We all knew it was going to be a rebuilding year.

"At Nazareth, we had two kids playing both ways. Here, the offense is the defense and vice versa. And it got real tough when we had some injuries. Still, we had some success."

Harris was impressed with the hard-nose, work ethic of his players, a Catty trademark for many years. As a receivers coach, Harris worked closely with Jake Kober and Ricky Houser, two of the team's biggest weapons last season.

"These kids worked very hard," said Harris. "It is old school, throwback football with Catty kids. They don't quit and they keep working. We had some tough spots last season, but these kids kept battling through it.

"There aren't any excuses with these guys. They just go out and do what they have to do."

Harris also has been pleased reuniting with his former high school coach.

"From my standpoint and the guys that I played with, he (Scagliotta) walks on water," stated Harris. "He talks about football and life. I still am in awe sometimes. I feel like I'm still one of his players and like a kid again."

Harris, a Mansfield graduate, got into coaching because he wanted to help develop players in all areas. A real estate appraiser, Harris has created a schedule that allows him to coach.

"I like coaching because I want to be in the moment," said Harris. "I'll never forget winning a championship in high school. But I want to get to know these players as people. It gives me greater satisfaction when I get calls from players after they graduate rather than what they do on the field. I like to see them grow as people.

"It is also good to be back with two people I know well."

As the stars aligned over Catty, it couldn't be any other way.