In sixth grade, Taylor had her grandfather as her science teacher.
Currie Harris was known to all as “Coach Mac.” He was a tall and wiry man, tanned from the West Texas sun. In addition to coaching and teaching, he took on ranching jobs. Those that knew him say he liked to joke around, but had high expectations, and always pushed his students and players to meet those expectations.
“He had very strong beliefs and values.” Taylor remembers, “There are politics in small schools. Last names are a big deal a lot of times. He did not play last names, he did not play favorites. If you were the right player to be on the field, you were on the field and if you weren’t, then you weren’t. I really liked that about him.”
Like all legends, Coach Mac had his vices. “I remember it was one his traits. It’s a hundred degrees outside. He is outside smoking and drinking black coffee, then, he would come in and eat Oreos. Those were his things. Sweets, coffee, and smoking. It caught up with him, eventually.”
Coach Mac passed away after a battle with lung cancer on Sept. 4, 2017.
Taylor says her grandfather waited until the night before he died to call the school and ask them to find a replacement. The school year was about to start. He held on until the very end. That’s who he was. That’s how dedicated he was.
To Taylor, Coach Mac had always been her granddad, but it wasn’t until his funeral that she fully understood the legacy he created as a teacher, coach, and mentor.
“It was crazy to realize he was a grandfather to me and, of course, he had an impact on my life. He meant so much to all of these people, I don’t even know who they are. Kids who he had last year to kids he had twenty years ago. It was amazing to see how much he really impacted people.”
Wade says his father was thrilled Taylor was planning to follow in his footsteps as a teacher. He says the two had lots of long conversations about her classes at Texas Tech and strategies for managing a classroom. Wade lights up at these memories. He beams with pride in both his father and daughter.