RIPLEY - Ripley High Basketball coach Craig Harmon announced his retirement on Tuesday afternoon.
Harmon, 66 was employed by Jackson County schools as a physical education teacher at Ripley Middle School and for over two decades, coached the Ripley High School boys basketball team during two tenures.
Harmon served as skipper from 1888-1994 and again from 1998 through the 2013-14 season. He had six winning seasons with four of them coming in the Chase Fischer era of Viking basketball.
Fischer starred for Harmon from 2007-2011 and was named West Virginia’s player of the year and a McDonalds All American among many national accolades. That era produced a 57-38 record and two 15-9 campaigns, Harmon’s best individual seasons. His overall record stands at (181-325)
“I have experienced health problems and my mobility has been affected. This was a very hard decision for me to make but I feel that it is the right one. I will miss it and I will miss the kids,” said Harmon.
Harmon’s 2013-14 team doubled their win total from the previous year (8) and notched a Region 3 section 1 overtime win at Riverside before falling to South Charleston in the section semifinal.
“I truly believe they are a special group of young men. They were a joy to coach,” he added.
Harmon graduated high school in 1967 where he was a sharp-shooting guard for the Ravenswood Red Devils while wearing No. 14. During his teaching years, he was known to display his free-throw shooting skills to students, often making 100 in a row - one handed.
“Coach Harmon treated me well and gave me the opportunity to coach the boys with him,” said current assistant coach Steve Hunt. “He always did what he felt was right.”
Harmon’s retirement is pending via approval from the Jackson County Board of Education. The BOE meets on Thursday evening where the matter will likely appear on the agenda. Jackson County Schools Superintendent Blaine Hess reserved comment until after Thursday’s meeting.
Look for a feature story on Harmon in a future edition of JN.