After nearly a decade climbing the ranks of college football coach, Owensboro native Harris Bivin has finally made his big break. The Apollo High School graduate will join Brian Kelly’s coaching staff at Louisiana State University (LSU) next season as Assistant Director of Football Operations.
Like many young professionals trying to make it as a college coach, Bivin has spent much of his career working long hours for low pay. After many part-time jobs, side jobs and sacrifices, Bivin can now call himself a coach at arguably college football’s most prestigious conference.
“This is an incredible opportunity,” said Bivin. “Just three months ago I was a coach at Morehead State University in the Pioneer League – and I loved it there – but now I’m going to coach at the best conference in college football.”
Ironically, his roommate in Morehead, Miles Fishback, is also on his way to the SEC; he will join Bobby Petrino at Texas A&M. Bivin’s tenure at Morehead only ended a few months ago when he moved to a position in Missouri State before he jumped at the golden opportunity.
“You have to invest time and care. I’ve met a lot of people helping out with jobs here and there,” Bivin said. “It’s about putting in the time, building relationships and doing a good job because you never know when an opportunity might come along.”
Bivin excelled on Apollo’s offensive line before joining Murray State Racers for the 2010 campaign. He was a four-year letter winner and a two-year captain with 30 starts in 39 games and played on some of the racers’ most prolific offensive teams, including the record-breaking 2012 team.
After graduating from Murray State, he played two seasons in the Arena Football League before returning to Murray as a Graduate Assistant (GA). From there he progressed to a GA position at Western Kentucky University before transferring to Sanford University in Birmingham, AL.
In Sanford he trained tackles and tight ends and got his first taste of the game. He left for his first full-time job, serving as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Dodge City Community College in Kansas. After helping 15 athletes transition to Division 1, he held a similar position at Fort Scott Community College.
He eventually ended up at Morehead State University as director of football operations and offensive line coach before taking the position at Missouri State. He told Missouri State head coach Ryan Beard that he applied for the job, and well, the rest is history.
Bivin wants to move to Baton Rouge as the university nears the end of spring break. He will waste no time and play his part in making LSU a contender for a national championship.
Bivin’s brother, Hunter Bivin, played for Kelly during his tenure at Notre Dame. He currently serves as Director of Player Development for the Fighting Irish at South Bend.
Bivin once again wanted to tell the Owensboro athletes to stay the course and ignore the distractions and naysayers.
“Owensboro was great. I was born and raised there and keep in touch with a lot of people from there,” said Bivin. “You always hear about the (recruitment) strongholds of Georgia, Texas and Florida, but it only takes one coach to fall in love with you. You can’t just post on social media and expect it to work. You have to meet people, network, perform and above all work.”