Written by Chris Pendleton
BUENA VISTA, Va.—Southern Virginia University Athletic Director Scott Y. Doxey today announced that after 15 years at the helm of the women's basketball program, Mike Harmon has decided to step down from his head coaching post following the 2013-14 season.
Harmon will continue to serve at the university as a physical education instructor and in other capacities within the athletic department, Doxey explained.
"Coach Harmon has been the anchor of our athletics program for 15 years," Doxey said. "Without him, Southern Virginia University athletics would not exist today. There have been many times when Coach Harmon has worked around the clock for our scholar-athletes. He and his family have made many sacrifices that we can never repay or appreciate enough.
"He embodies the true spirit of our school as a leader-servant," Doxey continued. "Coach Harmon would often teach classes through the morning before cleaning and preparing facilities in the afternoon, then he would run practices for multiple teams and spend his evenings coaching games, driving team vans, or administrating home athletic events. He does all that is asked of him and more."
Harmon arrived at Southern Virginia in 1998 as the university's first head women's volleyball coach and assistant women's basketball coach. That same year he helped guide the women's basketball team to a fourth-place finish at the 1999 NSCAA national tournament. The following season (1999-2000), Harmon became the head women's basketball coach and led the program its first ever NSCAA national championship.
Throughout his 15-year tenure as head women's basketball coach, Harmon led the Knights to three small-college national titles (2000, 2002, 2006), while tallying a program-record 197 career wins. He also served as head women's volleyball coach for 10 of those seasons, winning two small-college national titles (2000, 2002) and a program-best 205 matches.
Harmon's combined 402 career wins and five national titles are more than any other coach in Southern Virginia University history.
"It's been an honor and something I've planned my whole life," Harmon said. "After spending the first seven years of my career in places where I didn't really want to be, I needed some place that was exactly what I wanted. I found that here."
Over the past 15 years, Harmon has coached 42 USCAA All-Americans (19 basketball, 23 volleyball) and 25 USCAA All-Academic recipients (17 basketball, 8 volleyball).
"I don't think I've had as big of an impact on the young women who have come through here as they have had on me," Harmon said. "The most enjoyable part has been to see their growth and progression. After they leave, it's even better to see how they've continued to grow and progress."
On January 8, 2013, Harmon was honored as Southern Virginia's first Pioneer Coach, an award created in 2012 to recognize Southern Virginia's early administrators, coaches and scholar-athletes who sacrificed so much to pave the way for others to follow.