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Ad/head football coach Harper leaving Marshall for Duncanville

By Nathan Hague
Feb. 15, 2017 at 4 a.m.

Marshall head coach Clint Harper argues a play with officials during a high school playoff football game against Frisco Lone Star on, Saturday, November 28, 2015, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Jim Cowsert/Longview News-Journal)

Marshall's Clint Harper is leaving his hometown and headed to the DFW Metroplex.

Duncanville ISD held a school board meeting Monday night where it approved Harper as the new athletic director.

"They called me last Friday and told me they were going to bring my name to the board, which unanimously voted for me. So they offered me the job once that was done and I accepted it," Harper said.

Harper said he grew up dreaming about being the head football coach of the Marshall Mavericks and added the decision to leave was not an easy one.

"It was very difficult," he said. "There are so many jobs in the state of Texas, but this is the only job that I would have left Marshall, Texas, for. Marshall, Texas, will always be part of my heart. It's my hometown and I truly love it here.

"In the role as AD, I'm setting my coaching days aside and I'm at peace with that. I have an opportunity to be an athletic director at one of the largest schools in the state and that's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Harper has an overall record of 46-26. He spent the past four years at Marshall where he went 27-20 and guided the Mavs to the playoffs each season and earned a co-district championship in 2015. Prior to coming to Marshall, he spent two years at Leander where he went 19-6.

"When I arrived at Marshall, there were three things I wanted to accomplish," Harper said. "I wanted to win a district championship. I wanted to beat Longview and I wanted to play at Cowboys Stadium. Obviously the fourth goal is to win a state championship and hindsight is always 20/20 but I truly think if Justin Hart doesn't get hurt his senior year, we would have won a state championship.

"Apart from that, in the game of football, I have no regrets. My staff has helped turn the program around and it has come a long, long way considering where it was four years ago to where it is now."

He added the overall athletic program at Marshall has come a long way.

"Last year was a great year for the male sports," Harper added. "To not lose to Longview in football, basketball or baseball and they all went to the playoffs. The girls program has improved a lot as well.

"Was this year a little rough? Yes. But we've been really young in a lot of the girls sports and I believe Marshall is just going to reload and compete in district. They're going to have some great years ahead.

"I feel like I've left the athletic program in better shape than what I found it."

Harper will join former Marshall ISD superintendent March Smith, who now has the role at Duncanville ISD. Harper will begin his new job on Feb. 27.

"With the long-standing success that has made Duncanville the City of Champions, I recognized the importance of hiring an athletic director who would continue the proud legacy of our Panthers and Pantherettes," Smith said. "Clint is a person who honors tradition and is passionate about our students succeeding in the classroom, our community and in life."

MISD officials declined to comment.

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