Q and A with University School Head Coach Roger Harriott

Peter Ariz
Peter Ariz
6 min read
University School Head Coach Roger Harriot is the pioneer of the U-School football program. He was kind enough to answer some questions I had for him.

Me: You've been with this program since the beginning in 2006, talk about the transformation that has taken place from then to now.

Coach Harriott: We're extremely fortunate to have an administration, led by Dr. Jerry Chermak (school headmaster), that has invested a substantial amount of time to our program. Prior to the conception of our football program in 2006, University School's athletic programs had the reputation of a non-competitive intramural or recreational program. Today, University School football, and athletics as a whole, has been a catalyst of school spirit, pride, and enthusiasm. I'm proud to say that all of the University School football programs [6th grade, Middle School, JV, & varsity] have produced numerous championships, undefeated seasons, individual award recognitions, and over 40 NCAA football players.

Me: What are some of the ideals and traits that you try to teach your players?

Coach Harriott: Our motto is Family, Tradition, & Excellence. Staying true to this, my first objective as a head coach is to hire coaches with a strong moral base and understands their role as an exaggerated role model. I feel, as coaches, we have an obligation to educate, mentor, and inspire our players to become productive citizens and future leaders. As a staff, we require our players to meet expectations at home, in the classroom, and on the football field. Teaching our player how to hold each other accountable, be responsible, have discipline, and prioritize have played a tremendous role in impressing practical morals and values on each player and cultivate a healthy, therapeutic learning environment for all team members. The most recognized creed on our team is "The Forces", which is basically the ideal that good things happen to good people who are focused on the greater good.

Me: What is the most satisfying thing for you as a Coach? Wins? Watching players develop?

Coach Harriott: I do enjoy winning as a byproduct of displaying positive work habits and effort; however, my validation and gratification actually comes from helping coaches and players realize their personal strengths, gifts, and potential. For me, football is a tool to send the right message and shape positive character within those we intend to lead.

Me: What was it like last year when you had multiple schools forfeit games against your team?

Coach Harriott: It was extremely discouraging to say the least. I wasn't so much concerned with the lack of competition per say, it was the unfortunate message the opposing coaches were sending to their players. Coaches as a whole should be working together to ensure our respective players are prepared to lead when their time arrives to be a husband, father, community members, and friends. The most challenging aspect to that ordeal was trying to motivate my coaches and players to keep their eyes on the prize and remain focused on our season theme--"play each game with a state championship effort."

Me: What is different between your team this year and your team last year?

Coach Harriott: The most significant differences are their philosophical attitude opposed to physical aptitude. Experience and leadership separate the two, although our previous senior leaders set this tone and precedence prior to their departure to college. From a game standpoint, I'm pleased to say that both groups are equally talented, but our defense and running game have noticeably improved due to maturity .

Me: Why did you want to go out and schedule an out of state, highly-ranked team like Trotwood?

Coach Harriott: It is healthy for our school and players to have an opportunity to receive national exposure against a top ranked team on national television, which is also a memorable, life lasting experience to be cherished.

Me: What did that game show you about your team?

Coach Harriott: This game highlighted University School of NSU and our representatives as a first class organization, which authenticate character, integrity, pride, and love for their school community.

Me: There are college prospects all over your team. What is it about your program that develops these players?

Coach Harriott: Our coaches are exceptional citizen and community role models; and as result, extraordinary student-athletes have found University School to be an attractive option to receive a top notch education and a place to play competitive football. Our admissions department does an exceptional job admitting the right character conducive to our school's academic culture and systemic goals.

Me: talk about Jordan Cunningham's strengths on and off the field.

Coach Harriott: Jordan Cunningham is the epitome of the term scholar-athlete and role model. His physical attributes are apparent, but what people don't see is his dedication to the classroom and phenomenal leadership traits. He's admired by all and possesses the innate ability to demonstrate authentic humility through all the positive attention he's received through the years. I'm confident that he'll make major contributions to our world as he matures.

Me: Talk about Quay Bain's strengths on and off the field. How high is his potential?

Coach Harriott: Quay Bain is an extraordinary athlete and even a better person. On the field, he can dominate at will and off the field he plays the big brother role by holding his teammates accounting on and off the field. Quay is going to be an exceptional family oriented individual when that time of his life arrives.

Me: Jordan Scarlett had a big game against Trotwood. How do you see him progressing over the next few years? Quincy Wilson is another young player on your team who is highly-regarded as well.

Coach Harriott: Quincy Wilson and Jordan Scarlett both have bright futures. Quincy is an outstanding talent who can play anywhere in the secondary and as a skill player in all three phases of the game. With that said, I feel he's best suited as a corner at this point. His stature, speed, and athleticism will mark him as one of the top corners in the country. Jordan Scarlett's best days are ahead of him. Although he currently possesses the physical attributes of a mature running back, Jordan still has plenty of room for improvement from a "student of the game" aspect. I'm looking forward to his progression as a player, student, and person moving forward.

Comments (7)

My brother used to play for coach Gatewood when he was at Piper. Any chance of an interview with him regarding Collins?
Special thank you to SpikeUM for putting the interview together.

Peter, what's the full story on the forfeiture situation?
Special thank you to SpikeUM for putting the interview together.

Peter, what's the full story on the forfeiture situation?

There were 2 or 3 schools that flat out declined to play them on the day of the game for whatever reason
The district was composed of University, Chaminade, Westminster, Florida Christian, Miami Country Day, Marathon, Curley, etc. FCS, MCD, Marathon, Ransom, etc all dropped into their own small non-FHSAA league, basically claiming they can't compete. I believe it's only a 4 team district now, comprised of University, Chaminade, Westminster, and ABC.