Harmon named new AHSAA Executive Director

Heath Harmon was named the new AHSAA Executive Director on Thursday in Montgomery. Photo by the AHSAA.


MONTGOMERY – Oxford High School principal Heath Harmon was approved Thursday by the AHSAA Central Board of Control (CBOC) to become the sixth Executive Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association. The board approved the hiring of Harmon at a special Central Board meeting Thursday.

The announcement was made by current AHSAA Central Board president Mike Welsh Thursday at a press conference held at the AHSAA office today.

Harmon, 49, will be taking over his new role as Executive Director officially in early July. Alvin Briggs, who has served as Executive Director since 2021, announced his plans to retire earlier this spring.

“Mr. Heath Harmon is currently the principal at Oxford High School. He is a lifelong resident of Alabama and has previously served as a high school English and History teacher, assistant principal, and coach of multiple sports,” said Welsh. “Mr. Harmon was head football coach at four of our member schools prior to entering the field of educational administration. He has proven to be an effective leader, and we are confident of his ability, excited about his enthusiasm, and look forward to working with him to lead our association into the future.”

Harmon, who graduated from Munford High School in Talladega County, becomes just the sixth person to hold this position full time in AHSAA history. Cliff Harper was the first hired by the CBOC in 1948 and served until 1966. Herman L. “Bubba” Scott served in the position from 1966-1991. Dan Washburn then served from 1991-2007. Steve Savarese replaced Washburn in 2007 and has remained in the position for 15 years until retiring in 2021. Alvin Briggs, who announced his plans to retire effective September 1, has severed as executive director since 2021.

Sellers Stough of Birmingham served a part-time position as executive secretary-treasurer from 1921 to 1948.

“I am truly blessed to standing here,” Harmon said to the full room of media on hand for the announcement. “Without the support of my wife Holley and my two children, I wouldn’t be able to do the work that I do.”

Harmon said he was appreciative of the search process by the Central Board and was thankful for the opportunity to have a chance to apply for the executive director position.

“I have had the opportunity to work with the AHSAA as a coach and administrator. It is one of the best organizations in the country,” Harmon said. “The AHSAA’s longstanding tradition of serving member schools and support of education-based athletics is recognized locally as well as nationally. We are proud of our past and preparing for our future.

“I look forward to working with the Central Board of Control, the AHSAA staff, our member school principals, athletic directors, coaches, and officials from across the state. Together we will make sure the student-athletes in Alabama have a great experience participating in education-based athletics.”

Harmon said he especially was grateful to the previous executive directors who took the time to be present at the announcement.

“I especially appreciate their support as we transition (to this new challenge in our lives).”

All five previous executive directors had a major impact nationally with Scott and Washburn serving as president of the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) Board of Directors. Savarese was elected president-elect in 2021 but chose to retire instead. Harper (1987), Scott (1990) and Washburn (2011) have been inducted into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame. Savarese will be eligible to be selected beginning this fall.

Briggs was the first person selected for executive director who was already working on the AHSAA executive staff, and he was the first black executive director in the AHSAA’s 104-year history. Washburn, Savarese and Briggs were all on the front row for the Harmon’s announcement. Also attending the press conference was Susan Scott Carothers, granddaughter of Mr. Scott and host of AHSAA TV Weekly.

Harmon is a school leader known for his strong character and faith. He has been an educator for 27 years – serving as a teacher, coach, athletic director, instructional partner, and currently as principal at Oxford High School.

Those who know him best describe Harmon and his wife Holley, a graduate of Gaston High School in Etowah County, as believers in Faith, Family, and Community. She too is an educator and school administrator.

Harmon holds a B.S. in Secondary Education, English and history from Jacksonville State University, and a M.A. in Secondary Education, English and Educational Leadership from the University of Alabama, an Educational Specialist degree from the University of Alabama. He is also a graduate of the 2023 Alabama Superintendents Leadership Academy.

Much like the AHSAA’s previous executive directors, Harmon is a staunch believer in the values learned from education-based athletics. In May of 2023, he opened his school’s doors to the Athens High School softball team which was competing in the AHSAA State softball championships at nearby Choccolocco Park on the night of their seniors’ graduation.

The seniors received their diplomas that night in a ceremony held at Oxford High School Sports Arena with the AHSAA’s Alvin Briggs on hand with Athens High School Athletic Director Linda Moore to present the diplomas to the graduating seniors as their families watched with pride.

He has been described as a hands-on administrator who is passionate about learning and all that it entails.

Harmon and his wife have two children, daughter Halaya, and son Hudson. Both graduated from Oxford High School. Their daughter graduated from Auburn University in 2023, and their son is currently a student at AU.

Welsh praised the Central Board’s efforts in the search for the AHSAA’s next leader.

“I especially thank our senior board member, Mr. Luke Hallmark, for chairing the search committee and working tirelessly to develop and implement the search process.”

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