Hickory picks coach

Tom Harper was recently named the new head football coach and athletic director at Hickory High School.

Harper, 47, was approved by the Board of Education Feb. 27.

"I believe that if you instill in our young people the values of discipline, loyalty, hard work, character, passion and integrity...if you make that the foundation and focal point of your program, then the winning will take care of itself," Harper said in a release.

Harper will serve as the athletic director and head football coach. In addition, he will coordinate field maintenance, oversee after-school weight training and teach physical education.

Harper held the same post at Alexander Central High in Alexander County.

His father, Tom Harper Sr., served as a high school and college football coach for more than 30 years, with stints at UNC, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Wake Forest and the World Football League.

Tom Harper Jr. played football at Lees McRae Junior College. He earned All-Conference and All-Region honors and was named to the All-American Second Team.

Harper later competed at Middle Tennessee State University. He finished his degree at Catawba College.

Harper's coaching tenure has included South Rowan High, Catawba College, Freedom High, East Burke High and Alexander Central High. He also created the CARE Squad, a program that pairs high school athletes with elementary school students.

Harper is a member of the Board of Directors for the N.C. Coaches Association and the N.C. Athletic Directors Association.

He was a member of the West coaching staff for the N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Football Game in 2011 and was named the Carolina Panthers' Coach of the Year in 2009.

He has been named the Northwestern 3A/4A Football Coach of the Year, received the N.C. High School Athletic Association Regional Citation Award and won the NCHSAA "Eight Who Make a Difference" Award.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/03/04/3060035/hickory-picks-coach.html#storylink=cpy