Franklin Community High School football coach Brian Harbin will coach the Grizzly Cubs in tonight’s Class 5A sectional game against Bloomington North after serving a one-practice suspension this week.
The fourth-year coach missed Tuesday’s afternoon practice following an incident that included unacceptable language that occurred during halftime of Franklin’s 40-14 home loss to Decatur Central on Oct. 12.
“I had talked to all the fall coaches about how important it is to be mentors to the young student-athletes,” Superintendent David Clendening said. “Coach Harbin on Friday had language that was unbecoming for a coach in our school system.”
Franklin athletics director Kip Staggs said, “In coaching, there are certain words you can say and certain words that are not acceptable. We have a high standard on how we address kids, and that standard wasn’t met. We have a language expectation of not only coach Harbin but all of our coaches in all of our sports.”
On Tuesday, Harbin briefly spoke to his players and then left. He returned to practice Wednesday and Thursday.
“He addressed the team regarding what had happened,” said Staggs, who attended the Tuesday practice. “Brian was very professional and handled it very well.”
The Grizzly Cubs are 3-6 this season and 12-27 since Harbin took over the program before the 2009 season. His best season in terms of won-loss record came last year, with Franklin winning five of its first seven games before dropping the final three to finish 5-5.
Asked if last week’s incident could jeopardize Harbin’s future with the program, Staggs said, “All these (coaching contracts) are year-to-year. At this time he’s our football coach, and we’re moving forward.
“He was suspended from practice on Tuesday, and no other suspension was handed down. There’s nothing more to it than that.”