HPS Announces New Associate Head Football Coach

HPS Announces New Associate Head Football Coach
Posted on 02/27/2017

HPS Announces Associate

Head Football Coach


HICKORY…  The Hickory Public Schools Board of Education unanimously approved the selection of Justin Harper as the new Associate Head Football Coach for Hickory High School.


Reporting to the new Head Football Coach of Hickory High, Coach Russell Stone, Harper will begin his duties at Hickory High, effective Friday, March 3, 2017.


Raised in Catawba County, Harper is a 2003 graduate of Bandys High School where he played four sports including football, basketball, baseball and track.


“I never played football until the eighth grade,” said Harper, “but playing at Bandys with Coach Randy Lowman gave me the opportunity to excel and build my confidence. It really wasn’t until my senior year that my skills began to surface. I am thankful to Coach Lowman for his steadfast dedication in working with me, helping to guide my course for collegiate and professional football.”


Upon graduation from Bandys, Harper attended Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, and soon thereafter, he received a full scholarship to play football for Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, known as Virginia Tech.


A successful four years at VT propelled Harper for draft with the National Football League as a wide receiver with the Baltimore Ravens. He played with the team from 2008-2011. Following his term with the NFL, Harper played with the Canadian Football League—playing wide receiver for the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2012) and the British Columbia Lions (2013).    


From 2013-2015, Harper served Lenoir-Rhyne University as a defensive assistant, offensive assistant, and wide receiver coach, before taking a position as the wide receivers coach and academic coordinator at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia (Jan 2015-Jan 2016).


Career highlights for Harper’s professional journey include: 2013 Coached in Division II National Championship; 2008 National Football League Combine Participant; and 2008 National Football League Draft Pick (Baltimore Ravens).


Collegiate recognitions for Harper include: 2008 East West Shrine Bowl game participant; coached by future Hall of Famer, Dick Vermeil; four-year Letterman; 2007 Orange Bowl appearance; 2004 Sugar Bowl appearance; 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference Champion; 2004 Atlantic Coast Conference Champion; and 2004 Virginia Tech freshman newcomer.


“We are most fortunate to have Justin Harper joining the Hickory High Tornado Nation,” said Hickory High Principal, Katherine Cater. “Coach Harper brings with him playing experience at the highest level. He is thrilled to be returning to his home where he is committed to building success for others in our community.”


Residing in Conover, NC and the father of two daughters, Coach Harper believes in the kids of Catawba County—and especially the students at Hickory High.


“If anyone knows me, they know I have a heart for the kids. God provided this opportunity at Hickory High and I am humbled to be a part of the hometown community. Along with the Head Football Coach, Russell Stone, I look forward to sharing a positive impact on the young men at Hickory High,” said Harper.  




 (Post by Beverly Snowden, HPS director of communications)



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