JOPLIN, Mo. — Kirk Harryman is a name many in the Joplin community might know pretty well. Maybe even those outside of Joplin might be familiar with the longtime Joplin High School head baseball coach.
Harryman did a good bit of winning for the Joplin program while in charge for 17 seasons before stepping down in 2016. But now Harryman is returning to coaching.
The announcement was made official late last week, as Joplin’s current assistant principal will be headed to Branson High School to take over the Pirates baseball program.
From a state title in 2001 with the Eagles to six conference championships and six district titles, Harryman has compiled plenty of hardware. You can also probably guess that the new Branson head coach has gathered lots of Joplin t-shirts over the years, which made the decision a little bitter-sweet.
“It’s relationships with your players,” Harryman said. “I think it’s relationships with the people that you work with, your staff that you’re coaching with, the callings that you have here in the school district. They’re the ones that really made this decision more difficult than if you’re just looking at it on paper.”
“The idea that you’ve been in one place for 24 years, and as of last Monday, you were a Joplin guy, and I’ll still be a Joplin guy and I’ll still root for the Eagles every game except for one.”