BELTON, Texas-In his first press conference on Friday afternoon as UMHB’s head coach, Larry Harmon was asked what his first priority will be.
“Hire an offensive coordinator,” Harmon responded.
That is because offensive coordinator Stephen Lee has taken the offensive coordinator job at D-I Abilene Christian, an FCS program in the Western Athletic Conference. He made the decision to take the job prior to Fredenburg’s retirement. He will serve under head coach Keith Patterson, who took the job in Abilene on Dec. 7, 2021.
“Our offensive coordinator since 2016 has been Stephen Lee,” Harmon noted. “He has an opportunity to go be the offensive coordinator at Abilene Christian. He has decided that that’s what is best for him and his family.
“He’s got family out in Abilene and a mom and dad that are at that age where they don’t have that much time probably. So they just want to spend as much time as they can with them.”
Lee led an offense that ranked No. 15 in D-III this past season in yards per game (479.6), and scored on 87.5 percent of its red zone opportunities. The Cru converted on 53.1 percent of third downs, and averaged 48.9 points per game, third-best in the nation.
Quarterback Kyle King broke school records in passing yards in a game (436 vs North Central) and passing touchdowns in a game (6 vs Linfield), wide receiver Brandon Jordan set the program record for receiving scores in a season (17) and wideout KJ Miller tallied a program-best 12 receptions against Howard Payne.
“I’ve been able to be under Coach Lee for four years now, and I’ve learned a lot,” UMHB quarterback Ryan Redding noted in November. “He’s been able to help me learn the offense as well as I have, especially in the last year or two.”
“If I had never played a down of football here at UMHB, I would’ve still come here because it has helped me so much mentally,” King said of Lee in an interview during the playoffs. “His knowledge of offense has been eye-opening to me. I’ve never had a coach like that before. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Coach Lee.”
Lee previously was the offensive coordinator at D-II West Texas A&M before coming to Belton, and also spent time coaching at Howard Payne and Western New Mexico University.
Harmon also noted that he will not be continuing in his role calling the defense, and a defensive coordinator will be hired. However, he said he was “not ready to announce” who will fill that role.
“Being a first-time head coach,” Harmon said, “I think I’m going to have my hands full with being a head coach.”
Riley Zayas is the managing editor of True To The Cru. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.