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Coaches

Chick Harris
Running Backs Coach
College:
Northern Arizona
Hometown:
Durham, N.C.
Experience:
33

Chick Harris is in his 12th season as running backs coach for the Houston Texans. Harris and special teams coordinator Joe Marciano are the only coaches who have been with the team since its inception in 2002. He has 32 years of NFL coaching experience and has mentored eight running backs who have eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in a season a collective 15 times.

Three of those 1,000-yard seasons have come from three-time Pro Bowler Arian Foster, who led the NFL with 17 total touchdowns and ranked second in the AFC with 1,424 yards rushing in 2012. Foster, who went undrafted in 2009, is Houston’s all-time leading rusher under Harris’ guidance with 4,521 yards.

Chick Harris is in his 12th season as running backs coach for the Houston Texans. Harris and special teams coordinator Joe Marciano are the only coaches who have been with the team since its inception in 2002. He has 32 years of NFL coaching experience and has mentored eight running backs who have eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in a season a collective 15 times.

Three of those 1,000-yard seasons have come from three-time Pro Bowler Arian Foster, who led the NFL with 17 total touchdowns and ranked second in the AFC with 1,424 yards rushing in 2012. Foster, who went undrafted in 2009, is Houston’s all-time leading rusher under Harris’ guidance with 4,521 yards.

Harris’ running back trio of Foster, Ben Tate and Justin Forsett combined for 2,077 yards on the ground and 18 touchdowns in 2012. That group also helped Houston lead the NFL in time of possession for the second consecutive season and only lost three fumbles in a combined 533 offensive touches.

In 2011, Foster and Tate became the first backfield duo in franchise history to rush for more than 900 yards apiece in a season. Foster earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl selection, finished fifth in the NFL with 1,224 yards rushing and was third with 1,841 yards from scrimmage despite missing three and a half games. Tate was second on the team with 942 yards on the ground in his first full NFL season. The duo rushed for more than 100 yards in the same game twice, making Houston just the sixth team since 1985 to accomplish the feat.

Harris has turned in impressive coaching performances seemingly every year, no matter who is carrying the ball, but 2010 was one of his finest as both fullback Vonta Leach and Foster earned AP First Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. Foster led the NFL with franchise records of 1,616 yards rushing, 2,220 total yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns. He also set a franchise single-game record with 231 yards in the 2010 season opener against Indianapolis. Veteran Derrick Ward helped Houston rush for 2,042 yards, a franchise record at the time, contributing 315 yards on 50 carries (6.3 average).

In 2009, the Texans had four backs each rush for at least 250 yards, led by Steve Slaton, who finished with 437 yards in an injury-shortened season. Veteran Ryan Moats rushed for a career-high 390 yards, while Foster, then a rookie, rushed for 216 of his 257 yards in the last two games.

In 2008, Slaton, then a rookie third-round draft pick, started the final 15 games and won the rookie rushing title with a franchise-record 1,282 yards. Slaton led all AFC players with 1,659 total yards from scrimmage, and his five 100-yard rushing days were also a team single-season record.

Harris leaned on 2006 leading rusher Ron Dayne, who produced a team- and career-high 773 yards and six touchdowns in 2007. Rookie undrafted free agent Darius Walker came on late in the year and ran for 264 yards in the last four games.

Dayne led a committee of running backs with 612 yards and five touchdowns. Houston was one of three teams to have three different players rush for at least 90 yards in a game, and the Texans were the only team that had a pair of rookies both top the 90-yard mark in a game.

Harris helped Domanick Williams earn the 2003 Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Year award and develop into a two-time 1,000-yard rusher.

During Harris’ seven-year tenure with the Panthers, injuries forced the club to suit up a bevy of running backs, which included Tshimanga Biakabutuka, Richard Huntley, Brad Hoover, Fred Lane, Anthony Johnson and Derrick Moore. Harris helped Carolina set an expansion record with seven wins in 1995 and also helped the Panthers reach the NFC Championship Game the following season.

Harris launched his NFL coaching career with the Buffalo Bills in 1981, coaching two seasons and helping Joe Cribbs eclipse the 1,000-yard mark his first year coaching with the team. He then moved on to serve as the backfield coach for the Seattle Seahawks from 1983-91. In Harris’ first year with the Seahawks, rookie Curt Warner produced the first of four 1,000-yard seasons during his time under Harris, rushing for 1,449 yards and helping the team reach the AFC Championship Game.

Harris joined the Los Angeles Rams in 1992 as running backs coach before taking over as offensive coordinator for one season in 1994. The highlight of Harris’ tenure with the Rams was Jerome Bettis’ Rookie of the Year campaign in 1993. Bettis began his stellar career with 1,429 rushing yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie under Harris.
 
Harris entered the coaching profession at Colorado State in 1970, coaching three seasons before heading to Long Beach State. After one season at Long Beach, Harris joined the Detroit Wheels of the World Football League in 1974. He then moved on to the University of Washington, where he spent six seasons, helping the Huskies to two bowl wins, including a Rose Bowl victory against Michigan.

Harris lettered in football and track at Northern Arizona, where he is a member of the Lumberjacks’ athletic hall of fame.

Born in Durham, N.C., Harris attended Long Beach (Calif.) Poly High School. He has a son, Tyler, and a daughter, Tarana. Harris and his wife, Karen, have a daughter, Kara. The family lives in Sugar Land.

HARRIS’ COACHING LEDGER
2002-13: Running Backs, Houston Texans
1995-01:  Running Backs, Carolina Panthers
1994:  Offensive Coordinator, Los Angeles Rams
1992-93:  Running Backs, Los Angeles Rams
1983-91:  Offensive Backfield, Seattle Seahawks
1981-82:  Running Backs, Buffalo Bills
1975-80:  Defensive Backs, University of Washington
1974:  Wide Receivers, Detroit Wheels (World Football League)
1973:  Wide Receivers, Long Beach State
1970-72:  Wide Receivers, Colorado State

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  • Texans Daily: Harris proud of 2010 success

    (2:36) Posted Jan 29, 2011

    Texans running backs coach Chick Harris, who played a key role in the success of Arian Foster and Vonta Leach this season, discussed his players' accomplishments with Texans TV.