CoW: Tom Harper

Coach Tom Harper is currently in his third season as the head coach at Alexander Central High School in Taylorsville North Carolina, where he also serves as athletic director.

As a well-respected role model for staff and students, Harper's main focus isn't just on the football field, but on the relationships that he establishes with these individuals, concentrating on building a family setting between all Alexander Central coaches.

After a devastating miss to the 2008 playoffs, Harper's Cougars are off to the best start they have had in 26 years, with an impressing record of 7-0. With this phenomenal start, it is with no surprise that the Cougars are led by a coach who has a National Federation of State High School Association Fundamentals Coaching certification, and is an "Eight Who Make a Difference Award" recipient from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. Along with those awards, Harper has also been recognized as Teacher of the Month multiple times, and is President of the NW3A/4A Conference.

Acting as more than a coach, Harper's dedication to his players is often seen through his acts of giving rides after practice, covering costs for football necessities out of his own pocket and writing personal notes to athletes to keep them motivated. "Coach Harper is not only a tremendous coach but he is a great person who loves his players as people, not just football players," said Rick Gilbert from WACB RADIO.

Harper not only reaches his community through his players, but through other initiatives such as the Cougar Athletes for Reading Excellence (C.A.R.E.) program that he created. This program was designed to allow football players and athletes to suit up in their uniforms and read to elementary students. Harper and his wife Carol reside in Hickory, North Carolina.

The Carolina Panthers High School Coach of the Week program recognizes high school coaches who, through their hard work and dedication to young people, have made a difference in the lives of their players, school and community and provides high schools with financial assistance to help maintain and upgrade their football programs.

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