Somewhere over the rainbow, officials at Campbell High School feel they can return to prominence on the football field.
CHS hopes it has taken that step with Monday’s introduction of former Wheeler High School football standout Harris Rainbow as its newest head coach.
Rainbow replaces T.K. Dodd, who resigned last month after compiling a 3-17 mark in two seasons as the head coach of the Spartans.
On his way to meet his Spartan players for the first time Monday afternoon, Rainbow, who last season served as the head coach at Loganville’s Walnut Grove High, took time to speak with Smyrna-Vinings Patch.
“To me, Campbell High School is a traditional Cobb County power and it needs to be returned to its rightful place as one,’’ said the 33-year-old coach. “My entire family lives five to 10 minutes from Campbell High School, so this is home to us.’’
Two years ago, Campbell endured the suspensions or dismissals of more than a dozen players and finished with a 2-8 mark. Last season, the Spartans went 1-9, losing their final eight games while scoring a combined 25 points in their final six losses.
Rainbow has 14 years of coaching experience, the last eight seasons as a head coach at Rverwood High, Worth County High and most recently Walnut Grove, where he helped get the Class AAA program off the ground. He is accustomed to stepping in and taking over a program that had previously struggled.
“All five of the programs that I have coached at the year before it had gone either 0-10 or 1-9,’’ he said. “When you win as a football program, it’s not just because the kids and coaches on the field, but it’s also because the parents that drive the kids to school and the businesses in the community that supports them. The success is deep-rooted in the community and we want to bring excitement back to Friday nights in Smyrna.’’
Rainbow coached three seasons at Riverwood, helping improve the team’s win total each season including four victories in 2004 and five wins in 2005.
In three seasons at Worth County, his teams went 14-19 overall record and made the playoffs twice, notching a postseason win for the first time in eight years for the school.
He then shifted to Walnut Grove, where the first-year program played mostly a junior varsity schedule in 2009. Last fall, fielding a roster without seniors and playing in Region 8-AAA - one of the toughest in its classification – the Warriors went 1-9.
Rainbow then resigned in December to attend to medical issues involving his mother and father. He said Monday the timing and opportunity were right to become the Spartans’ third head coach in four seasons and their sixth since the 2001 season.
“For me to be at a big-time 5-A school in a reasonably small town, that’s a dream come true,’’ he explained. “There are so many schools in Cobb County and in the Atlanta area, but very few can call a community their own like Campbell can with Smyrna. That makes this situation unique. I don’t think you can win at Campbell High School without the community becoming a part of it.’’
Rainbow grew up in East Cobb and was an all-county offensive lineman at Wheeler (Class of 1996) before walking on at the University of Georgia. Before his first head coaching job at Riverwood, he was the defensive line coach at Oconee County High and helped that school win a state title in 1999.
Now he hopes to do the same at Campbell. Spring practice at CHS is set to begin on May 10 and before then, Rainbow plans to meet with the current Campbell football staff in an effort to determine who will be assisting him coach the team next fall.
And of course, Rainbow will be at Tuesday night’s fundraiser when the Spartans will host their first annual weight lifting challenge with all proceeds set to benefit the team and its booster club.
The event will feature 15 faculty, staff, coaches and parents versus 15 strong Spartan football players. The 7 p.m. event at Wills Gym costs $5 for students and $7 for adults.
“I’ll be there cheering them on for sure,’’ he said.