By Raymond Linex II
Ready to move on to another chapter in his professional life, Patrick Harvell has resigned as athletic director and head football coach at Mildred. His five seasons off South Highway 287 can be counted among the school’s best on the football field.
Mildred went 48-15 during his tenure, logging the school’s first state finals appearance, first perfect regular season and first playoff win as a Class 2A school.
“The thing I’ll remember most about Mildred is the people,” Harvell said, “the great teachers I worked with and the administrators I worked with. But most importantly, I’ll remember those great student-athletes I worked with. They were more than just athletes to me, they were family.”
Harvell is moving on to Mexia Junior High School, where he will be the school’s assistant principal. In the future, his sights are set much higher.
“When I got to Mildred, (the late former superintendent) Doug Lane encouraged me to get my master’s in education administration,” Harvell said. “I did that, and it’s time for me to see if that’s the direction I want to continue in. I want to be a principal, then a superintendent. ...
“I’ll always be grateful to Doug Lane and that original board in 2008 for having trusted me to run the athletic program at such a quality educational place like Mildred, and I want to thank Mrs. Burns (current superintendent Becky Burns) for the last two years.”
Burns said the school board will meet in a special session, perhaps as early as Friday, to discuss the steps for replacing Harvell. She expected and welcomed internal candidates.
“I am so proud for (Harvell), personally and professionally,” Burns said. “We knew from the beginning this was an aspiration of his, so it’s not a surprise. He will be a great (administrator).”
More than just football at Mildred, Harvell said he was proud of his five years as athletic director, as he had a goal of making every sport competitive. “I think we did that for five years,” he said.
But it was in football where he will be remembered as the guy who took Mildred to unparalleled heights.
Harvell took over for Joe Drennon in the summer of 2008, after Drennon went 31-23 in four seasons. Drennon’s teams went 8-3 in 2006 and ’07, falling to Celina and Elysian Fields in the first round of the playoffs.
Early in the ’08 season, Harvell stuck with Drennon’s under-center, veer-type running game, but eventually switched to the spread. In his first two seasons, the Eagles would go 13-9, losing to Lone Oak in the first round both seasons. In 2009, the Eagles upset Kerens and earned a share of the district title.
In 2010, the Eagles lost a heart-breaker to Teague to open the season, 24-21, but they would not lose again until a 33-7 loss to Lone Oak to close the regular season. A week later, Mildred beat Bells, 21-19, for the school’s first playoff win since 2000, and first since becoming a 2A school in 2002.
In 2011, the Eagles took off, going 10-0 in the regular season for the first time ever, beating Lone Oak 42-0 in the regular season finale, ending a three-year losing streak to the Buffaloes. All year long, “53-14” hung in the weight room. It was final score of their area round loss to Omaha Paul Pewitt in 2010, and two weeks after beating Lone Oak, the Eagles avenged that loss with a 47-28 win over the Brahamas.
That season would end with a touchdown loss to Cisco, 35-28, in the state semifinals. Mildred scored 670 points, and gave up only 116 in 14 games.
This season, the offense was more electric, and the Eagles rode it to the Class 2A Division II state championship game, where they fell to powerful East Bernard, 56-14. They scored a school-record 768 points, and three times broke the single-game scoring record (72, 77 and 83 points).
Obviously, Harvell would have liked to have gone out on top. He won a state title in 2003 as a defensive coordinator at Gainesville. The Leopards also made it to the 3A DI title game in 2005.
“This was an extremely difficult decision,” Harvell said. “(Coaching) has been my absolute passion the last 20 years. Kids birthdays, anniversaries, everything revolved around being a high school football coach.
“But I am also excited knowing I will get to spend more time with my wife Amy and my boys Jake and Jordan.”
Amy is the Intermediate School principal in Rice. Jordan is a freshman at Mildred, and Jake is a seventh grader. They will remain at Mildred, Harvell said.
“That’s the greatest compliment I could give Mrs. Burns and the school district,” Harvell said. “Although I am leaving, Amy and I have the utmost confidence that our two boys will receive an outstanding education from the best teachers in the state of Texas in Mildred.”
Patrick Harvell leaves Mildred with the school’s all-time highest winning percentage among coaches, having won 76.2 percent of his games (48-15). Stan Dugan, 58-33 from 1977-’85 is second at 63.7 percent. Harvell is third in wins behind Dugan and Aubrey Asby (‘51-’70, 84-100-13). Here is a year-by-year for Harvell:
Year W-L PF PA Result
2008 7-4 273 179 Bi-district finalist
2009 6-5 194 221 Co-district champs
2010 9-3 393 182 Won first playoff game in 2A
2011 13-1 670 116 First perfect regular season
2012 13-2 768 241 First state finals appearance