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One Former USC Star Replaces Another At Calabasas High School

When Chris Claiborne resigned on December 6th as the head coach at Calabasas, the coaching search would be no easy task. In his two years at the helm, Claiborne made the program one of the best in Southern California. This past season the Calabasas Coyotes made the D-1 Playoffs for Southern California, arguably the hardest division in the country. Although the Coyotes lost in the first round to St. John Bosco this was an amazing feat considering only the top 8 teams make the playoffs and St. John Bosco is one of, if not the, best team in the country. 

Calabasas was always expecting a big roster turnaround after the 2019 season. Star wide receivers, Johnny Wilson and Jermaine Burton were graduating and heading to Arizona State and Georgia, respectively. Quarterback Jaden Casey was headed to play at CAL along with many key defensive players graduating such as Leshaun Bell (UNLV) and Lamont Narcisse (Rice). However, after Claiborne announced his resignation an exodus of players transferring took place. Star players such as Larry Turner-Gooden and Jaylen Thompson were now headed to St. Bernards while many other stars transferred out such as Myles Williams heading to Alemany. 

After an intensive coaching search, Calabasas High School decided to ink a deal with Cary Harris, another former USC star. Harris has always been involved with Southern California football as he played high school football at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, then went on to play for Pete Carroll at USC. Harris was then drafted in the 6th round to the Buffalo Bills. Harris then bounced around NFL teams before getting into coaching.

Harris volunteered at a couple of schools and then started coaching at Moorpark College in 2014. He coached at Moorpark for four years before becoming the head coach at Glendale High School. After spending the past 2 seasons at Glendale, Harris interviewed for the Calabasas job where he ultimately got the position. 

Transitioning a team from one head coach to another is hard enough and then when you take into account all that is happening in the world it makes it much harder. Due to school closures, coaches are not allowed to have in-person training with their players. Harris and his new staff have been meeting with their players over Zoom four times a week in order to teach the players schemes as well as just checking in with the players and making sure the players are all doing alright. 

Although Calabasas had a lot of players leave due to graduation and transfers, the school has unleashed a lot of new talent.

The offense is led by quarterback and Arizona State bound Finn Collins, as well as wide receivers Devin Hardy, Amoni Butler, and Jaylen Blizzard. The defense is led by rising star, linebacker Jason Medrano (Class of 2022). 

Calabasas is in the Marmonte League which includes Oaks Christan, Westlake, and Grace Brethren, all top football programs in Southern California. Calabasas is also scheduled to have some very tough non-league games including contests against Serra and Sierra Canyon. However, Calabasas knows with their talents and coaching that they will be able to stand their ground as Coach Harris, “excepts the team to compete”. Coach Harris is sending a good message to his players as he wants his team to, “give effort first, to be accountable, to make sure we represent Calabasas and the city well by showing good sportsmanship.” 

Calabasas has a great leader in Cary Harris who should be able to take Calabasas to great heights. Chris Claiborne was hired as an assistant at USC, meaning I think it is safe to say that Claiborne, Harris, and Calabasas High School are pretty okay with how things turned out this offseason. 

Calabasas High School. Photo Credit: Patrick Pelletier | Under Creative Commons License

Calabasas High School. Photo Credit: Patrick Pelletier | Under Creative Commons License

Matthew Shapiro

Author Matthew Shapiro

Growing up northwest of Los Angeles, Matthew Shapiro has lived for sports from a young age. Matthew started his writing career writing about the Lakers for Armchair All-Americans. He then was a credentialed XFL reporter for XFL News Hub. At LAFB Network, Matthew will be writing for many different teams, primarily SoCal High School football, and UCLA/USC. Outside of football and sports, Matthew loves giving back to his community. One activity he does is helping kids with special needs play baseball. You can follow Matthew on Twitter @matthewxfl or email him at [email protected]

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