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Harbison returns as Sierra football coach
He led T’wolves to 2015 state title during his 1st stint
Sierra football
Jeff Harbison addresses his team and its supporters after leading Sierra High to the California Interscholastic Federation Division IV-A state title in Chowchilla on Dec. 19, 2015. - photo by HIME ROMERO/Bulletin file photo

Jeff Harbison is back as Sierra High’s football coach, the school announced in a press release Friday.

A longtime presence on campus as both teacher and coach, Harbison’s first stint in leading the football program was highlighted by many milestones — most notably its Division IV-A state championship won in 2015.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to once again lead the Sierra High School football program,” Harbison said in the statement. “I cherish the relationships built with our student-athletes, coaches and parents through football, and I look forward to making more memories in the future.”

Harbison takes the reins back from Chris Johnson, whose five-year run included a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV title earned with a thrilling 22-19 victory over Valley Oak League rival Oakdale. The Timberwolves were young and inexperienced this past fall, going 1-9 while struggling to keep a full squad together because of coronavirus protocols.  The junior varsity team folded early in the season, but the freshmen went 7-3.

“Coach Harbison has the leadership and ability to rebuild the football program,” Sierra Athletic Director Andrew Lee stated. “In addition to the football knowledge, Coach Harbison is an incredible mentor to young men and is committed to helping them grow as individuals and achieve as a team. His connection to students is outstanding, and I am excited for the future of the program.”

Harbison served as head coach from 2005-2016, compiling an 88-49 record. He led the Timberwolves to their first-ever postseason appearance in 2008 and their two VOL championships in 2009 and 2014.

The historic 2015 team went 10-5 and routed Liberty Ranch 42-0 for the school’s first SJS football championship. The T’wolves then went on the road to stave off Sutter 17-13 in a NorCal Regional Bowl Game and edge out Chowchilla 20-15 for their state crown thanks to an epic last-minute drive.