Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

July 9, 2013

Harlan speaks to Lions Club

Mike Phillips
Corsicana Daily Sun

— Billy Harlan was one of the best catchers in the country when he was at Corsicana High. And even after a shoulder injury, he was a star outfielder at Texas A&M.

Turns out, he’s a pretty good pinch-hitter, too.

Harlan, who is not only the athletic director at Corsicana High School but the

Corsicana ISD Executive Director of Extracurricular Activities, was the key speaker Tuesday afternoon at the weekly Lions Club meeting, where the fried chicken was awfully good and the speaker was even better.

They took their time preparing the meal. Harlan didn’t have any.

He hadn’t planned to speak.

The plan was bring in new Corsicana football coach Steve Hoffman, who was hired in April. Hoffman wanted to be there, but he is moving into his new house today and was still in Del Rio moving.

Harlan got the phone call at 10 a.m.

The luncheon began at 11:45.

No problem. Harlan hit a home run.

“There’s not a better representative of Corsicana than Billy Harlan,’’ said Lions Club President Bryan Hutchins, who like many at the luncheon remember Harlan from his playing days — and beyond.

“When he was 5, 6-years-old he could run faster than anyone,’’ said Dr. John Nelson, a longtime member of the Lions Club. “He was the fastest man in Corsicana.’’

Harlan smiled and said, “I can attribute that to my sister.’’

It wasn’t hard to run him down to speak on Tuesday. Sam Thompson, a former coach and athletic director at Corsicana High who knows Harlan well, made the phone call.

“I got the call at about 10, and I was here before 11:30,’’ said Harlan, who talked about the state of Corsicana athletics and told the club about Hoffman.

“He has so much energy. He’s a fiery guy, and he has red hair,’’ Harlan joked about the new football coach. “He’s infectious. I’m excited. He brings an energy second to none.’’

Harlan said he felt Hoffman would find his place in Corsicana.

“I think he will fall in line with all the great coaches in Corsicana,’’ he said. “I think coach Hoffman is a great man. He will be great for our town.’’ Then he joked about Hoffman. “He’s a Texas Tech grad, but we hired him anyway.’’

Harlan, who is in his third year over extracurricular activities at the school, talked a lot about Thompson and the legacy he left at Corsicana and the lasting effect he had — often bringing up the fact that he wanted to do things the way Thompson did when he was the school’s athletic director.

“My goal for all my coaches, is for them to coach your team, and that entails a lot of things. Those kids look up to their coaches,’’ Harlan said. “The most important thing I do is hire good people. I learned that from coach Thompson. The most important thing I can do for this town is hire good people.’’

Harlan is looking forward to the new football season and to all the sports at Corsicana, where he talked about the improvement in sports such as basketball and volleyball.

He pointed to the recent improvement in basketball, and the successful summer season of AAU basketball by the Corsicana girls team, which has lost only once in the summer elague.

He’s especially happy about the summer program as more than 100 kids a day are participating and also being fed breakfast and lunch.

Harlan said he is looking forward to the new season as well as success in all 17 sports at Corsicana

He simply wants the best for the kids — on and off the field.

“A lot of great things are happening,’’ he said. “Our job is trying to teach them to be better people, to teach them to become men and women, to be successful with character. Just to know the kids of Corsicana have multiple opportunities. That’s what I learned form Sam Thompson, and that’s what I’m trying to do. I love Corsicana. I bleed blue and gold.’’