The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / High School Football Spotlight: Harlee Estepp West Carter, WR/DB/Strength Coach

High School Football Spotlight: Harlee Estepp West Carter, WR/DB/Strength Coach

In the spotlight!

1- I first met you back when you were first starting out your coaching career. Are you as motivated now as you were back when this all first started?


Heading into year 6, I think I’m more motivated than ever. Especially after last year. I took over programming our weights this offseason so that is something new that I’ve been able to dive into. If I ever am not motivated, it’s likely time to get out. 


2-Was it strange going from coaching at the school you graduated from to coaching at your biggest rival?


Not really. It’s a job and the opportunity to coach at the level I wanted to be on wasn’t available there, so I went to work for someone I trust in Daniel Barker. I told him I wanted to be a head coach one day and he said he’d help get me to that point. I think it’s worked out for the best, I don’t think there are many schools in the country that a 24-year-old could have the role I have that plays in the state semifinals. 


3- What is the one thing you guys need to improve on as a team to continue your climb to the top of the mountain?


Need to continue getting faster and stronger. That solves a lot of problems.


4- How disappointing was it with the way your guys’ season went without fans being allowed to be there like they would have been during a normal year?


I feel the saddest for our kids. I love our fans but ultimately when the adrenaline is going you don’t pay attention to that stuff during a game as a coach. But with how successful we were and them to not reap the rewards with massive support at those games was pretty sad. Also, I’m pretty sure we missed out on a ridiculous amount of money from ticket sales. Just the East game we would have missed out on at least 10K. 


5- Let’s say a local school has an opening for a head coach but they have a long history of losing and have not had much luck with getting players for the team. You feel you are ready to move up in the coaching ranks would you take on such a task?


If I felt I was ready and the administration seemed committed to having a successful program then I would absolutely consider doing it. But in a situation like that, admin support has to be there. You have to know you’re going to get the help you need to get it off the ground. 


6- Which is more satisfying winning a game as a player or as a coach?

Coach 100%. I wasn’t a good player, I personally believe I’m a good coach. Helping our kids succeed is the best feeling.


7- Who is that one team you want to defeat most that up to now you have zero wins against?


We had an amazing game with Beechwood last year. You beat them, you’ve arrived.


8-Bowl games are a big thing in Kentucky. As a fan and a member of the media, I enjoy them a lot. As a coach how do you feel about them?


We played in one bowl game in 2019 vs Mercer. I think they’re really cool. Good for the kids and fans.


9- You need a game but can not find an in-state opponent. Would you take a bye or find an out of state to play?


Need to play. Don’t get better sitting on the couch. Win lose or draw.

10- Thursday night games can be a big draw being in most cases they are the only game in town. How do you feel about them as a coach?


I’m an extremely routine-driven person so it is an adjustment. Deciding how you practice that week has to be considered. But I used to coach middle school and all of those games were on Thursday so it can be done.

As far as being a big draw, we played a tough Paintsville team this last fall on a Saturday and it had that “Monday Night Football” fell because it was the only game in the area that week. The atmosphere was incredible. So anything you can do to make it better for your kids, by all means, do it. But it changes your routine though, not just for the current week but the following week as well (if on Saturday).

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