Tucson High football coach Justin Argraves did the right thing last week when he decided to honor Mesa Desert Ridge assistant coach Sean Harris before the Badgers-Jaguars game Friday night.
“I told my administration that I wanted to acknowledge Sean before we kick off, and bring him out to midfield,” said Argraves. “I haven’t mentioned anything to Sean because I wanted to surprise him. He’s definitely one of the all-time Badger greats.”
Harris seemed genuinely touched by the brief ceremony, in which he was presented with a red THS helmet. It was a nice homecoming; Sean’s wife, Cha-Ron Walker Harris was a key part to Arizona’s NCAA basketball tournament teams under Joan Bonvicini in the late ’90s, and their two sons, senior Jalen Harris and freshman Jason Harris are among the most hotly recruited athletes in the state.
Jalen, a pass rusher, has committed to follow his father’s footsteps at Arizona. Jason, a 6-foot 8-inch freshman, might be the state’s top two-sport athlete. He starts for the defending state champion Jaguars football team but his best sport is probably basketball; he has already been offered a scholarship by Oregon State and is on Sean Miller’s radar at Arizona.
Now it’s up to Arizona to do the right thing and put Sean Harris’ name in the Ring of Honor at Arizona Stadium.
Sean Harris’ coach at THS, Todd Mayfield, told me last week that Harris has long been miffed at his alma mater for being slow to recognize his excellence as a key part of the Desert Swarm defenses of 1992-94.
Harris, one of five Wildcats pictured on the cover of the 1994 Sports Illustrated college football issue, was a third-team All-American in 1994, a two-time All-Pac-10 linebacker who made 248 solo tackles, which remains sixth in school history. He made more UA tackles than highly-respected Lance Briggs.
Harris’ name is conspicuously missing from the Ring of Honor; he had a UA career superior to many honored, such as linebackers Brant Boyer and Antonio Pierce, neither of whom was a first-team All-Pac-10 player.
The UA tweaked its rules to hang Miles Simon’s basketball jersey at McKale Center, and it needs to do the same to put Sean Harris’ name on display for posterity at Arizona Stadium.
Sean and Jalen Harris are likely to become one of the five leading father-child combinations in UA sports history. Here’s my vote for the top four:
1. Ron Hassey and Brad Hassey, both all-conference baseball players.
2. Robbie Dosty and Whitney Dosty. Robbie was a star-level basketball player until he blew out a knee. Whitney was a standout volleyball player.
3. Jack Howell and Jack Howell Jr. The elder Howell was one of the key players on Arizona’s first-ever NCAA basketball tournament team; his son, Jack, who became a big-league third baseman, was a slugger on Jerry Kindall’s 1983 team.
4. John Black and John Black Jr. The elder Black was an All-Border Conference running back in 1940; his son was a UA football standout in 1970.
Waiting list: Joe Turner and his daughter Jade Turner. Joe was essentially the sixth man for Arizona’s 1988 Final Four team; his daughter Jade is a starting volleyball player as a redshirt sophomore.