Tue | Sep 19, 2017

'It was a tough decision' - Harrison opens up on move to KC

Published:Saturday | July 19, 2014 | 7:00 AM
Harrison ... to become KC's head coach. - File Photo

Incoming Kingston College (KC) track and field head coach, Neil Harrison, admitted that the decision to leave Munro College was a difficult one, but that the opportunity to make a mark at one of the most celebrated programmes in Jamaica was a chance he had to take.

Harrison is leaving Munro College after 17 successful years at the St Elizabeth-based institution - a spell that saw the team develop into a genuine top-six finisher at the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships and several of the school's athletes also rising to prominence.

"It was a tough decision based on the significant contributions that I made at Munro College over the years, but sometimes opportunities come only once and you have to seize it," Harrison told The Gleaner. "As tough as it was I just decided to face the challenge."

The challenge will be to return the 'fortis' faithful to the top of local high school athletics, with KC facing a barren spell of five years without lifting the Mortimer Geddes trophy, and hiring their second coach in as many years.

"KC has always had very high standards as an institution and with specific reference to track and field they will always have high expectations and I don't think that this time will be any different," Harrison said.

Still, he would not be drawn into making any promises - at least not yet.

"I am a coach who believes that any organisation that you are in, the goals must be realistic and if you can't win then you can't, you have to look at your objectives and try to achieve them realistically," he cautioned. "I presently don't know much about the KC contingent. I know they are generally a talented bunch, but to make specific reference to a broader spectrum as it relates to the pool of athletes, I'm not able to do so right now."

He added, "But I know my capabilities and what I am able to do. I have always done well wherever I go and I don't think this time will be any different. I know that the expectations at KC are very different from those at Munro, but I have had dialogue with the principal and he has been very supportive."

CREATE AN IMPACT

"It's not going to be an easy task, but I want to go in, settle in, see what is there and to see how best I can create an impact."

In moving to KC, Harrison is also expecting to open greater opportunities for himself; opportunities that were not exactly available at Munro.

"Honestly, it's an opportunity that I thought very long and hard about, but I believe that being in Kingston offers you a lot of opportunities that you can take to a next level. Over the years, I have coached a lot of athletes who wanted to stay with me based on their performance. However, St Elizabeth is rural and there isn't really a university there, plus Munro athletes are generally academically solid and they want to continue in tracks and also academically and so the best place for them was always Kingston and you lose out as a coach in these opportunities," Harrison explained.

- Andre Lowe