XENIA — Xenia High School has its new head football coach.
Pending board approval at the Feb. 8 meeting, Maurice Harden will take over the Xenia program. Harden — an exercise science instructor at the Greene County Career Center — spent the last five years at Chaminade-Julienne in Dayton where as co-offensive coordinator he turned around an Eagles program that scored more than 10 points just three times the season before his arrival.
Upon joining his alma mater, the Eagles averaged 30 points a game, went to the playoffs four times, and scored at least 30 points 23 times in 45 games.
“We are excited to bring Coach Harden on board to take our football program to the next level,” Superintendent Dr. Gabe Lofton said. “The future of the football program looks bright, and I have confidence that the football knowledge and experience he brings will benefit our student-athletes for years to come.”
Harden, who has lived in Xenia for the last year, said the local community had a lot to do with his interest in coaching the Buccaneers.
“I love the small town feel and community,” he said. “It’s just a family oriented place. It’s a place that I think can establish a winning culture due to the love and close-knitness of the community. I’m very excited for the opportunity to be in charge of (the football program) and that I get the opportunity to lead these young men on and off the field.”
Harden was a four-year starter at fullback for Urbana University and then was the running backs coach and run game coordinator for the program for two years after spending a year as a graduate assistant. He spent a year at Fairborn as co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach before going back to C-J in 2016 and helping jump start the offense.
He said he plans to have Xenia play “fast and physical.”
“I have the mentality I want to put our best players out in space,” Harden said.
He was one of nearly three dozen applicants for the position and underwent a rigorous interview and vetting process according to school officials. Throughout the interview process, it was clear to the committee that Harden understood the importance of strong leadership, as well as the needs of Xenia students, district officials said in a release.
“Coach Harden is excited to get started and brings a high level of enthusiasm and drive that is contagious,” Lofton said. “We are proud to bring in someone with his skill sets and character to the program.”
Harden replaces Trace Smitherman, who spent the last four years at Xenia.
The Bucs are coming off a 2-8 season but won their first playoff game in school history and then gave top-seeded Winton Woods more than a challenge in a second-round playoff game, losing 28-13. In 2019 Xenia made its first playoff appearance and went 9-2 overall.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.