It’s a new era of Troup High School women’s football with Carolyn Harkness taking over as head coach of the Tigers after serving as an assistant coach for the past two seasons.
“I’ve been working towards it and I’m happy to finally have all the girls under my wing,” Harkness said.
It was a positive transition all around as former manager Eddie Lawson stepped down in command of the team to focus on the boys’ football team. Despite relinquishing control, Lawson helped Harkness adjust to the administrative aspects of his new job, which include scheduling, dealing with parents, setting up a weekly schedule among a plethora of other new responsibilities.
In many ways, Harkness was the de facto secondary coach in 2022 as Lawson began the power transition. She began to implement her vision and tactics as well as making adjustments and substitutions on the touchline.
“I used the first year to put everything under my belt and learn a little bit,” Harkness said. “Last year I practically led the team because [Lawson] wanted me to learn by doing.
Although not originally from Troup County, the area has become home to Harkness in recent years. She came to the area from Jackson to attend LaGrange College — where she played football and softball — and stayed long after graduation.
Softball was a complementary sport because his primary passion was football. After remaining as a coach at LaGrange College for a few years, she decided that her career coaching soccer would best suit young athletes.
“High school football is where I experienced my biggest changes and understood who I was on the field,” Harkness said. “I know these young girls have dreams and if I can help them achieve them and help them have fun along the way, I will have found the perfect balance.”
Although Harkness is a new head coach, it’s only really a head coach because the girls on the team have already adapted to Harkness’ coaching style. Her participation in the program over the past two years has contributed to a smooth transition. It also comes as no surprise as it was always Lawson and Harkness’s plan to have her return to the program after two years as an assistant coach.
It won’t be all suns and roses in his rookie year as coach, with the team losing six of its 11 starters from the 2022 season. tenth year.
It will be uncharted waters that will abound as the Tigers also enter a new region – one that looks to be much tougher than their season a year ago.
“Fayette County teams are the best programs because their county has bigger clubs, so people in the area have more football knowledge,” Harkness said. “Down in Columbus, our old region had Columbus High as a great team, but the rest of the teams weren’t as high caliber.”
Despite the move to a region full of football powerhouses, the standards of Troup football will remain the same. After the first back-to-back playoff appearances in program history, Harkness is aiming to make three in a row.
“If we lose games because we don’t have the team we had, it’s okay as long as we show growth,” Harkness said. “If we make the playoffs it will be amazing, and that’s the standard we’ve set, but if we don’t we still have to improve as a team and as individuals.”
Harkness is still months away from her head coaching debut in early 2023, but she’s already excited to lead her one program. Although the opener won’t start for some time, she has already taken on her responsibilities as head coach as she prepares her team for a new era.