Tom Harp has been coaching high school sports for 47 years and has had a successful career, starting with a monumental upset in 1987 when Granada Hills won a City title in football by defeating a highly ranked Carson team. He transitioned to coaching volleyball in 1982 and has won a total of 15 City titles between girls and boys volleyball. Harp recently surpassed 500 career victories and continues to focus on coaching boys volleyball at the age of 70. Despite admitting to occasionally raising his voice, he has never been sued or fired and believes in instilling discipline in his players.

Harp, along with co-coach Darryl Stroh and line coach Bill Lake, had a successful run in football during the 1990s, with a coaching style that focused on discipline and old-fashioned ways. Harp returned to coaching football in 1998 and eventually retired in 2004. Former players appreciate his commitment and dedication, as seen with over 30 former players showing up for an alumni game. His coaching style, emphasizing team chemistry and accountability, has made an impact on players such as Andrew Nguyen and Valeria Bellodas-Lazo.

The landscape of volleyball has significantly changed over the years, with Harp recalling a time when he had to teach players from scratch at the start of every season. He emphasizes the importance of players growing in size and maturity as they progress through the sport. Harp has built strong relationships with rival coaches like Arman Mercado from Taft, despite their competitive matches. Mercado admires Harp’s sportsmanship and respect for opposing players, as well as his dedication to coaching.

Harp decided to retire from coaching football due to the high energy demands of the sport, but he still loves the strategic aspect of the game. He offers words of wisdom to future coaches, emphasizing the need to overcome obstacles and develop strong relationships with players and assistant coaches. Harp finds joy in seeing his players grow and improve over the course of their high school careers, highlighting the importance of the journey over the outcomes of games.

Despite his long coaching career, Harp remains dedicated to coaching boys volleyball at Granada Hills and continues to inspire his players to excel both on and off the court. His impact on the Granada Hills community is evident through the strong support shown by former players and current students, reflecting his ability to build lasting relationships. Harp’s coaching legacy is built on a foundation of discipline, accountability, and dedication, ensuring that his players not only succeed in sports but also grow into resilient and responsible individuals.

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