Lincolnton High School has announced the hiring of veteran athletic director and longtime football coach Tom Harper to take over the A.D. duties at the school.
Harper, who comes from North Iredell High School, will not only serve as the Wolves’ athletic director, but will also teach physical education at the school and be the defensive coordinator with the football team.
“When you think Lincolnton High School, you think tradition and heritage,” Harper said on Thursday. “That’s something that is important there.”
Harper, who has served as head football coach in Catawba, Burke and Alexander counties in the past, will bring a wealth of experience to the Lincolnton sidelines. “I couldn’t help but get excited about working with Mr. Clarke and Coach Glass,” Harper said. “I’m excited about the people that I met in just one visit.”
He has been head football coach at East Burke, Alexander Central, Hickory and Fred T. Foard. His most successful tenure was at Alexander Central, where his teams went 34-26 in five seasons, including an 11-2 mark in 2009 and a 9-3 record in 2010. Harper also served as athletic director at the school.
In 2012, Harper took the same jobs at Hickory High School for one year, and guided the Red Tornadoes football team to a record of 8-5, and a 3AA state playoff berth. He later took the head coaching position at Fred T. Foard, before moving on to North Iredell in 2016.
“I think it’s important that coaches remember why they do what they do,” Harper said. “To my core, I’m a builder of winners. If you get to know them as people, as long as they play as hard as they can for Lincolnton High School, everything will be ok. Before you can have success, you have to show kids that you care about them.”
Harper, who is originally from Daniel, South Carolina, played college football at Lees McRae and Middle Tennessee State. He also coached collegiately for a period of time at Catawba College in Salisbury.
Harper will replace Cole Sigmon as athletic director at Lincolnton, who is set to retire the first week of June. “I want Cole to know how appreciative we are for what he has done here. It’s not easy,” Harper said. “I feel blessed, I really do. We’ll work really hard to not disappoint.
Lincolnton High principal Preston Clarke said in a statement, “I grew up in Maiden and graduated from Maiden High School. I attended Maiden-Lincolnton football games growing up and competed against Lincolnton in various sports during my time at Maiden.
I am very aware of the long-standing tradition that we have here at Lincolnton. In the search for an athletic director I wanted to find someone who understood that tradition but could also move our athletic program forward with an intent focus on our student-athletes. My goal was to find someone who could have a positive impact on student-athletes beyond the playing field while serving as a unifying force for our coaches.
Tom Harper checks all the boxes and will maintain integrity while representing Lincolnton High School. His reputation across the state of North Carolina speaks for itself.
When I spoke to various people about Coach Harper, there were some consistent themes that carried forward such as he cares about the kids, he is a high character person, and he believes in building relationships.
On top of all of that, he has a great track record regarding athletics and is one heck of a football coach. If you want to be successful, it starts with hiring the right people. Welcome to the Pack Coach Harper.”