D-III Howard Payne coach Braxton Harris leaves program after three years

Texas Lutheran Athletics

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Howard Payne University announced head football coach Braxton Harris is stepping down after three seasons. According to sources, Harris is leaving to accept an assistant job at an FCS program. 

HPU is a Division III school that competes in football as a member of the American Southwest Conference. 

“We are thankful for Coach Harris’ leadership and elevating the status of the HPU football program,” HPU athletic director Hunter Sims said in a statement. “We wish him lots of success in the future.” 

Harris took over a program that went just 1-19 in the two previous seasons before his arrival. After back-to-back one-win campaigns, Harris led the Yellow Jackets to a 5-5 record, their best campaign since 2006. Howard Payne finished the Harris era on a three-game winning streak.

The news comes just 47 days before Howard Payne is scheduled to open its four-game spring conference schedule. The Yellow Jackets play Texas Lutheran on Feb. 6 in Brownwood, followed by games at Hardin-Simmons, vs. McMurry and at Sul Ross. 

Prior to Howard Payne, Harris served three seasons as co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Texas Lutheran. The Bulldogs went 25-5 during his tenure and held 22 of their 30 opponents under 30 points. 

Howard Payne is the only NCAA school in Texas that has announced a coaching change this year. Harris has yet to announce where he is headed. 

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