Ferrum has announced that David Harper has been named head football coach. The announcement culminates a national search to fill the position.
Harper has been a member of the Ferrum coaching staff for 18 years, where he has served as offensive coordinator since 1999. Prior to that, he served as defensive coordinator from 1993-98. Harper came to Ferrum after a two-year stint as an assistant coach at Davidson.
Harper replaces Dave Davis, who retired after 17 years as a head coach with a record of 87-79. The Panthers went 4-6 this past season.
Ferrum president Jennifer Braaten expressed special thanks to
the search committee: “The work of the committee during this
intensive nationwide search was extremely important for Ferrum. We
are confident that our historic football legacy will continue and
flourish under Coach Harper's proven leadership and his vision for
future NCAA Division III championships.”
The committee, comprised of faculty, staff, Board of Trustees and alumni members, considered over 100 applications for the position.
Supporters of the Ferrum football program, including many former students, sent dozens of letters and e-mails to the school on Harper's behalf. He also enjoys a strong working relationship with members of the athletic department. “Dave was an excellent candidate right from the beginning,” said Naff, also a member of the search committee. “We needed to go through the process and see who else was out there, and we feel strongly that we selected the best candidate.”
Harper has enjoyed a great deal of success overseeing the offense. Ferrum's rushing offense has finished 12th or higher in the nation in 10 of his 12 seasons as offensive coordinator. Ferrum's 2005 offense broke school records for rushing yards in a season (4,332) points in a season (439) and single-game yards (686).
Harper, who played football at Ferrum from 1986-89 becomes just the sixth head football coach at Ferrum in the 56-year history of the program. The number 56 is significant to Harper, having twice earned All-America honors at linebacker while wearing the number. His jersey is one of only two to have been retired by the school.
“I'm extremely excited about becoming Ferrum's new head coach,” said Harper. “I plan to use this opportunity to lead the next generation of Ferrum College student-athletes in the right direction, so that they too can understand what wearing a black helmet at this great institution means to so many alumni. I'd also would like to thank the alumni, faculty, staff and friends who showed their support to my family and I throughout the search process.“