published Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Jeff Haarlow leaving Temple position

For the second year in a row, Tennessee Temple University has lost a successful men's basketball coach after one season.

Jeff Haarlow, who directed the Crusaders to a 22-12 record and a USCAA national runner-up finish and was the co-coach of the year in the NCCAA Mid-East Region, has decided not to return as coach. The former Berry College coach will be relocating with his wife to Pinehurst, N.C., where he grew up and where she has just taken a job as a third-grade teacher.

And he wants to do more with the other sport he played in college -- in fact at a higher level than basketball. He was an NAIA golf All-American at Berry.

"I think ultimately I need a new path," Haarlow said. "I absolutely love the game of basketball, but after 18 years as an assistant and head coach in college basketball, I need to do something new. I wouldn't be surprised if I went down the career of golf in some way -- maybe some sort of teaching or coaching, but somewhere in the golf industry.

"I am sure I will mess with basketball in some capacity -- I love the game -- but ultimately this is a matter of being able to go home where you grew up."

Haarlow profusely praised the support he got from the Temple administration -- most notably Dr. Steve Echols, the president; Dr. Francis Kimmitt, the academic dean; and athletic director Kenrick Liburd.

"Those three gave me a great chance to run a successful program, which is some ways makes it more difficult to walk way but in another way makes you feel good. I think the future is awfully bright with Coach Liburd and Dr. Echols there."

Liburd returned the compliments.

"I think Coach Haarlow's efforts this year were invaluable in getting us back to the nationals and playing in the national final," the AD said Friday. "He did a tremendous job with the team, a great job mentoring a great group of kids. We'll really miss him."

Liburd said Temple would begin a "nationwide search" right away for his successor.

"When a program is doing well, obviously it is easier to attract somebody who's got experience and who can bring energy and continue to build on what you've already done," he added. "We have good starters back and a really good recruiting class, and we feel we should be able to get somebody, whether local or far away who is excited by the challenge."

The Crusaders went 23-13 in 2012-13, Brac Brady's lone season as coach.

Contact Ron Bush at rbush@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6291.

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