By Brent Huelsmann
After fifteen successful seasons on the bench for the Nashville Hornettes girls basketball team, current Nashville Community High School Athletic Director Wayne Harre has been elected to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Harre will be elected alongside Carlyle High School head coach Andy Palmer, and former Edwardsville, Okawville, Nashville MS, and Carrolton coach Donna Farley. The 2017 IBCA Hall of Fame Banquet will take place on Saturday May 6, at Redbird Arena in Normal Illinois. Harre was nominated to the Hall of Fame by current Nashville boys basketball head coach Brad Weathers.
Harre had a very successful career at Nashville Community High School. Before taking over the Head Coaching duties of girls basketball, he was an assistant on the boys basketball team, as well as coaching a year at Trinity St. Johns. Harre took over as Girls Basketball coach in the 2000-01 season, and inherited a squad that went 19-9 the year before under coach Wendy Porter. During his time as coach of the Nashville Hornettes, Harre compiled a record of 412-77, and never lost more than nine games in a season. Harre captured a Regional Championship every season he coached the Hornettes.
Harre’s crowning achievement in his coaching tenure came in the 2012-13 season, when the Hornettes knocked off Champaign (St. Thomas More) 42-29 to capture the State Championship trophy. Harre had come close before as the Hornettes finished fourth at state in the 2001-02 seasons, and the 2010-11 season. The Hornettes also got third place in back-to-back seasons in 2008-09 and 2009-10. Harre also won the Southern Illinois River to River Conference in every season he was on the bench for the Hornettes, never losing a conference game at Assembly Hall. Overall Harre had a record of 148-2 in conference games as head coach of the Hornettes.
As well as being the coach of the Hornettes basketball team, Harre also spent time as the head coach of the Nashville Hornettes volleyball team in 2004 and 2005 as well as an assistant coach in girls softball, where the Hornettes won two state titles in 2012 and 2015.
When he got the call that he had been selected as part of the 2017 IBCA Hall of Fame class, Harre said. “It’s surprising, usually when you get in, you have either done it which I have, 15 years is quite a while, but usually its 20-25 years you’ve coached and you finally get in. That’s why it was a little surprising, that it was this quick. So I was pretty humbled by it. You think about those things a lot. Would it happen? And then its something on the radar screen, but when it does really happen, its a pretty humbling experience.”
As for his favorite coaching memory at NCHS, Harre said. “There has been a few, of course winning a state title is huge. As a coach I think that is the ultimate. Being an assistant in softball, winning a couple of those. I think the other thing is, one big win that I’ll always remember is us beating Edwardsville in the Highland Tournament when they were probably one of the top teams in the country. I think they might have been Top-25 in the country in 2010 when nobody gave us a chance to beat them. I think that was one of the bigger wins we’ve ever had in our program, besides the state title.”
Harre went on to say, “ I think one of the biggest memories I will have is just coaching the girls, having all those good players. And having those relationships you have with those players, and we still have them. I always felt like we were trying to be a family here on our basketball team, and I think we do have that. We stay in touch. I try to stay in touch with my former players, and it’s really a neat thing. It’s pretty heart warming to do that when they get older. You talk to some of the college coaches around. You think about Bob Knight, how hard he was on those people and those people come back and appreciate what he’s done for them. I wasn’t the easiest coach to play for, but once they get out, I feel like I owe those players a lot of things, and I really try to do that when we talk about that after those seniors get out. We talk about how much they’ve meant to me and what they mean to the program. And we try to stay as that family as we have those 15 years. That’s a special moment.”
Harre is the current Athletic Director and Freshman Boys Basketball Coach at Nashville Community High School.