KINGSTON — Eric Hardison has missed coaching during a three-year hiatus, but he said it may have afforded him some advantages upon his return.
“Getting to watch some other people coach is one of the benefits,” Hardison said. “I’ve been able to sit back and watch others and take a little from one person here and a little from another person there.”
Hardison, already employed by Kingston Public Schools, has been reappointed head high school girls basketball coach, a position he held in 2004.
Hardison has been teaching for 14 years, including the last three as a high school art teacher at Kingston.
He said he returns to coaching refreshed after the hiatus.
After leaving Kingston, Hardison worked for the Chickasaw Nation, and Latta Public Schools. At Latta, he coached high school golf, elementary basketball and physical education.
There are many things Hardison enjoys about coaching, but one of them has little to do with baskeball.
“I just enjoy developing relationships with kids from different backgrounds,” Hardison said.
That process has already begun at Kingston, where he has coached the girls at summer camps and scrimmages. Hardison said he likes what he has seen so far.
“We have a good group of seniors, and some talented young players,” He said. “The seniors are hard workers and they set a good example for the younger kids. Every time I’ve opened the doors to let them shoot, I’ve had a bunch of them come up.”
He and the players have already discussed goals. He said winning the Kingston New Year’s Classic is a prominent goal for them, as well as winning some of their rivalry games.
He acknowledges that art teacher/basketball coach is an unusual combination, but said he loves both in different ways. When he was describing the feeling of seeing an original Van Gogh in person, he had the same excitement in his voice as when he talked about basketball.
Hardison and his wife, Shauna, have three children who attend school at Roff.