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Barons football welcomes new coach for 2018 season

South Boston News
Harry John / April 18, 2018

The Bluestone High School athletic department on Monday formally introduced Harry John as the new coach for Barons varsity football beginning next season.

John comes to Bluestone after finishing a two-year stint as a Graduate Assistant Coach, offensive backs and linemen, at Averett University in Danville during the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons.

John played football at Averett for four years prior to graduating in 2013. He played his high school football at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C. He also competed in lacrosse and baseball as a student there.

Directly before his coaching job at Averett, John spent a year at Middle Creek High School in Apex, N.C. — the team making it to the State 4A semifinals that season.

As for being the new head coach of football at Bluestone, the 6’8”, 360-pound, John said, “I feel like I was led to this place.”

After graduating from Averett, John worked construction jobs for approximately six months. He says the desire to play football was still first and foremost and thus he moved to Australia.

“I went to Australia to play football,” John said. “I lived there for eight months. I coached the Monash Warriors second division team and played on the first team and we won a championship there.

“My goal was just to continue playing but it was actually where I feel in love with coaching,” John continued. “Obviously after finishing college my goal was to continue playing in the professional world which is where I wanted to go, but it didn’t work out as immediately as I’d hoped for. But the opportunity to coach and play football there was a blessing.”

After returning to the U.S., John played with various Arena Football teams before the league went defunct. From there, Coach John ended up back in Apex with the job at Middle Creek.

John said his knowledge of the opening at Bluestone came in a very indirect manner.

I really wasn’t looking for this job and I’m sure they weren’t looking for me,” John said. “It just so happens that my in-laws are good friends with Mr. Nichols (Dr. Paul Nichols, Superintendent of Mecklenburg County Schools). Mr. Nichols goes to church with my in-laws.”

John applied for the position, had an excellent interview and the rest is now history.

Coach John said one reason he was so comfortable with Bluestone was he has been coming to the area to vacation with family for several years. John’s wife Emily, whose family name is Spain, has been vacationing to the area her entire life — her family has a home on Kerr Lake, where she and John reside now.

As for the football team, Coach John said he’s very much trying to build relationships with the players. He’s also considering what changes will need to be made and tweaks to his coaching staff.

The coach said one primary item he is working to change is the culture of the program. He stated while at Averett the coach had a program called, ‘Be a Man.’

“I’ve talked to Coach Powell about this a little and told him I want to change it to ‘Be a Baron’,” John stated. “And it won’t be for everyone. Love doesn’t always feel good.”

The coach explained it was based on seven principles that guide how the players should conduct themselves in school and in the broader community.

John is currently working on offensive and defensive schemes, but said Bluestone would run the football with elements of a spread offense.

As for the issues this program has experienced in recent years, John said he’s not looking back.

“I don’t know all of the things that occurred with the program before I got here,” John said. “I just know since arriving, the tools are available and the support is there. We just need to get everybody on the same page.”

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