XENIA — Maurice Harden recently crossed an item off his career to-do list and made a little history at the same time.
The Xenia High School football coach was a guest speaker at the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Clinic — something most, if not all coaches yearn to do — and in doing so became the first from XHS to address the others in attendance.
“Pretty humbling experience,” Harden said. “Definitely a bucket list item for me.”
Harden wasn’t actually a scheduled speaker. On the way to the clinic he received a phone call and was asked to be prepared to speak because some other coaches were iffy due to the weather. At 9 a.m. the next morning he was told he goes on at 2 p.m.
“I kind of started getting prepped … around 11,” Harden said.
But that was plenty of time for the offensive guru to put together a gameplan to talk about the run-pass option (RPO) and how to use it to attack the opposing defense.
“It’s a topic for me that is something I have a very high comfort level with,” Harden said. “I definitely thought it was an opportunity for me to educate guys in the way we do things.”
He didn’t tell the coaches everything though.
“Needless to say I kept a couple secrets,” Harden said with a laugh.
Despite the short turnaround time, he was able to impress his fellow coaches with not only his knowledge, but the presentation as well.
“I got great feedback,” Harden said. “I had a lot of people ask for the presentation. A lot of people sent me emails saying they were thankful for me coming in on such short notice, putting together a really good presentation. The fact that I got good responses … was a very humbling experience.”
Harden wasn’t the only Xenia coach to earn some recognition. Long-time assistant Matt Bartley was elected vice president of the coaches association and received a 30-year service award, as did Tony Greer. Kelly Kinser received a 20-year award and Matt Foubert received a 10-year award.
“Pretty big night for them,” Harden said. “Big deal.”
So was speaking in front of hundreds of coaches.