Aaron Harris has had quite the career in wrestling in the First State, as state champion at
Caesar Rodney in the late 90s, then returning to Dover to lead the Senators wrestling program
four years ago.
Now, Harris’ path heads in another direction.
He made the tough choice to step away from his duties as Dover High’s athletic director and
wrestling head coach to take over the head coaching job at Smyrna High. The decision didn’t
“It was very hard [to leave Dover], even harder than walking away from the wrestling program, it
was hard to walk away from the athletic department and all the relationships I’ve built over the
last four years,” Harris said. “It was something I pondered for a long time before I decided I had
to do what was best for me.”
Smyrna’s program is used to success. Not only are the expectations high, but Harris will be
taking over for legendary coach Kurt Howell.
Howell is a name that’s become synonymous with wrestling, as Kurt and brother Dicky Howell
dominated much of the landscape for two decades.
While Smyrna came up short of another Division I Dual-Team championship this past season,
Howell helped lead the Eagles to six straight dual-team championship appearances, winning
Throughout his years in wrestling, as a competitor and coach, Harris has learned a lot from the
“I have excellent ties to the Howells, all of them were instrumental to my success at one time or
another,” Harris said. “I definitely spoke with [Howell] during the process, got some great advice
from him and then made the decision to go to Smyrna.”
The challenge running such a prestigious program was one reason why Harris decided to make
“They have the number one feeder program in the state. They have people that have done an
excellent job building at all levels,” Harris said. “As I thought about taking the job, I saw what a
great community they have there and the wrestling program has strong support from the
When looking back on his time at Dover, Harris is proud of how far they’ve come.
“We grew quite a bit,” Harris said. “We made the playoffs for the first time in 20 years, defeated
our rival CR for the first time in 20 years and had a state champion for the first time in over 10