BUIES CREEK — Braxton Harris is Campbell’s new head football coach.
Harris, who previously spent the 2021 and 2022 seasons on staff at Campbell, returns after spending 2023 as head coach at Football Championship Subdivision member Houston Christian of the Southland Conference.
“I am thrilled to welcome Braxton Harris back to Buies Creek as our head football coach,” said CU athletic dircetor Hannah Bazemore. “Coach Harris is not only one of the best recruiters in the country, but he has a vision and a plan for Campbell football, focused on accountability and the development of our student-athletes both on and off the field. His familiarity with our team and our community, coupled with his leadership abilities make Coach Harris a perfect fit to continue the upward trajectory of this program, and guide it to its next step.”
Harris becomes the third head coach in Campbell’s modern football history (since 2008).
A formal introductory press conference is scheduled for Thursday, January 11, at 3 p.m. in the lobby of the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center.
“My family and I are so excited to return to Campbell, this program, this campus and this community,” Harris said. “I also want to give my utmost appreciation to HCU director of athletics Steve Moniaci, the administration, and our players for giving me the chance to lead their program.
“Campbell is a special place with special people that we fell in love with during our two previous years here, and we are grateful for the opportunity to come back. This program is full of potential, talent and positive momentum, and I am ecstatic to align our vision for the future with a great administration, led by Dr. Creed and Mrs. Bazemore, as we continue to establish ourselves in the CAA and on the national level.”
Campbell president Dr. J. Bradley Creed endorsed the hire.
“I am excited to welcome Braxton Harris back to Campbell as the head coach of the Fighting Camels football team,” Creed said. “With his prior service at Campbell as an assistant coach and his previous experience as a head coach, he is the right person to take the reins of leadership of our program. Coach Harris understands that football is an extension of the educational process which is the core mission of the university. He has been very successful throughout his career in developing student-athletes who are successful on the field, in the classroom, and in life. I am already looking forward to the next football season.”
At HCU, Harris coached the Huskies to their first winning season in program history in 2023, going 6-5 overall after inheriting a program that had won more than two games once in the previous six years. HCU also fashioned its first winning record in conference play, going 4-3 in the SLC and finishing fourth in the league after being picked last in the preseason poll.
Additionally, linebacker Jalyx Hunt posted an All-America campaign (AFCA, Stats, Perform, Phil Steele), also earning SLC Defensive Player of the Year honors, headlining a group of five Huskies named to All-SLC teams.
In his first stop at CU, Harris served as associate head coach and linebackers coach in addition to recruiting coordinator duties under Mike Minter, who resigned in December, 2023, after 11 seasons.
Under Harris’ guidance, the Camels hauled in the top signing classes in the FCS in back-to-back seasons, a feat he matched in his first year at HCU, making him responsible for the subdivision’s top recruiting class for three consecutive years. In fact, in December 2021, Harris and the Camels signed three of the FCS’ top-10 recruits.
In his first season at Campbell in 2021, Harris helped the Camels rank fourth in the FCS in takeaways (25) and defensive touchdowns (4). Linebacker CJ Tillman earned Freshman All-America honors and was a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award, given to the top freshman in the FCS.
Campbell also placed a program-record 12 student-athletes on All-Big South teams in 2022, including Tillman, while safety Myles Rowser was named to The Bluebloods Freshman All-America Team.
Prior to Campbell, Harris was the head coach at Howard Payne in Brownwood, Texas, from 2017-19. He led the Yellow Jackets to a 5-5 record in his final season, posting the program’s most overall wins and conference wins (4) since 2006.
Harris was the assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator at Texas Lutheran in Seguin, Texas, from 2013-16. He helped guide a previously 0-10 program to a 25-5 record over three years and three consecutive conference championships (2013, 2014, 2015). He originally joined the TLU staff in 2011 as the defensive ends and linebackers coach, as well as special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator.
Harris was the safeties coach at Waco High School for one year, after beginning his coaching career at his alma mater, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, in Belton, Texas, from 2006-09. He played quarterback for UMHB from 2003-05 and was a member of the Crusaders’ 2004 NCAA Division III National Championship finalist team.
A Mexia, Texas, native, Harris graduated from UMHB with a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 2008, then earned a master’s in education administration in 2009.
Harris and his wife, Jennifer, have three sons, Brooks, Fisher and Cooper, and a daughter, Cate.
The Camels will kick off the 2024 season on the road at Liberty on August 31.
(Campbell media services provided the basis for this report)