“We have hit the ground running,” said Harrell. “It’s a learning process and this is a different environment and we’ve had to figure out how we were going to handle some things.
“But Georgia Highlands has been extremely great so far in helping us any way they can to get the program started and we’re excited,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Lady Chargers held an open tryout for any of the local talent that has yet to decide on where to go to college.
Some of the players taking part in the workout weren’t “trying out” because they have already signed committed to Georgia Highlands.
As for Harrell, he arrived at Georgia Highlands with an impressive resume. Before coming to Rome, Harrell was the head coach for South Georgia Technical College in Cordele.
South Georgia Tech is in the same junior conference that Georgia Highlands will compete in.
In his tenure there, which began in 2004, Harrell complied a record of 152-108 and led the team to two GCAA championships, three National Junior College Athletic Association Region XVII tournament runners-up, one NJCAA Region XVII championship, and one trip to the NJCAA Division 1 national tournament.
Having been in the same league that the Lady Chargers will be in, the recruiting process has gone well for Harrell.
Not only has he signed many of the players he had been recruiting last season, some of the players that played for him at South Georgia Tech have transferred to Highlands.
Harrell likes what Rome has to offer him in terms of helping future recruiting.
“It’s an exciting and fantastic move here to Georgia Highlands and to Rome,” said Harrell. “I think we’re going to be able to expand our recruiting efforts and recruit a whole new area.
“Obviously, if you look at our roster, we recruit on a wide scale to begin with, but Rome has a lot of advantages in terms of recruiting. We haven’t tried to sell Rome to anybody who hasn’t bought it yet,” added Harrell.
Harrell and his family haven’t been living in Rome long.
“So far it’s been great, but I feel like personally we haven’t as a family had a chance to enjoy all that Rome has to offer,” said Harrell. “We’ve been getting settled into a new house, the new job, long hours, and busy weekends, but we’ve gotten to enjoy bits and pieces here and there.
“My family is very excited, I’m very excited, and we’re looking forward to our new life here,” added Harrell.
Harrell already has a good portion of his first recruiting class signed, with just a few more spots left to fill.
One of the players set to play for the Lady Chargers is Shanique Holston, who transferred from South Georgia Tech to continue playing for Harrell.
Holston could be one of the most talented players on the team.
“She is one of the kids that I’ve had the most fun being around,” said Harrell. “She’s a tremendous athlete and she is very gifted.”
Holston will soon travel to Florida to play in the NJCAA JUCO Top 40 All-Star Game. This is an event for the top 40 upcoming college sophomores.
“It’s an opportunity for the top players in the country to get further exposure to NCAA schools and it’s an NCAA sponsored event,” said Harrell.
“It’s a chance for her to play with other players that are on the highest level of junior college, and it’s usually a really good experience.”
Holston will definitely be a key piece to the Lady Changers first-ever season, along with numerous others in the first recruiting class.
During Wednesday‘s workout, Holston was joined by three other players who have already signed to play for Georgia Highlands — Shan’Taja Latimore, Seandra Lee, and Shakeyla Carrington.
Latimore is an up and coming freshman from Central Gwinnett High; Carrington went to Grayson High and is transferring from Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. Carrington will be a red-shirt freshman since she did not play last season, and Lee transferred from East Georgia College.
After Harrell fills the final spots on his roster and the team arrives on campus, the entire class will be formally introduced by the school. Filling those final spots on the team is just one of the many things Harrell still has to do.
“Well, we still have a couple spots to fill, we’ve got a couple of players coming in next week, and we’ve got a couple more players sitting on hold waiting on us to make a decision,” said Harrell. “Filling those spots is going to be critical to the season.
“Once we get those spots filled, the next obstacle is getting those players officially enrolled in school, get them registered, get them so when they hit the ground here they’re ready to go to class with as few obstacles as possible.”
Other than finishing out the recruiting class, there are a few things he and athletic director and head men’s coach Phil Gaffney have left to do before the first official season can begin.
“Phil and myself are still working on the behind the scenes stuff like uniforms, getting the finishing touches on the gym, and a lot of administrative things that are still in works that have got to happen to make the program go,” said Harrell. “Phil and David Mathis are doing a wonderful job of getting those things going.
“We’re four weeks away from go-time, and there is still a lot of work to do between now and then.”