From his arrival as a physical education teacher and freshman football coach in 1973 until his departure as athletic director in 2009, Bob Harris left an indelible mark on the school’s athletic history.
Harris was an assistant coach in both football and baseball, and spent 30 years as the school’s AD, which is a laudable achievement in itself. But his success as the Jesuits’ tennis coach is just as remarkable. In 22 seasons (1985-1987, 1991-2009), Harris’ teams won 331 of 379 matches (87%) and eight CIAC Class LL titles.
His players won 10 Class LL singles championships and five Class LL doubles titles, as well as a pair of State Open singles and doubles championships, respectively.
Harris mentored a host of all-staters and All-Americans, among them 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Mike Sprouse ’92, who won three consecutive Class LL singles titles (1990-92), Todd Paul ‘03 (4 straight Class LL singles titles from 2000-2003), Brad Norton ’86 (back-to-back Class LL singles in 1985 and 1986), Mike Passarella ’95 (the Class LL title in 1993 and the Open title in 1995), and Matt Davis ’98 (1 Class LL title and 1 Open title, both in 1998).
Among Harris’ double championship winners was current Fairfield Prep athletic director Tom Curran ‘05, who with partner August Vorvis ‘03 won a pair of Class LL championships (2002, 2003) and one State Open crown (2003).
He was named coach of the year in 1996 and outstanding athletic director for 2000-2001 by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA).