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Charlie Harbison
Position: Assistant Coach
Alma Mater: Gardner-Webb College
Graduating Year: 1985
Email: charbison@athletics.msstate.edu

When Mississippi State head football coach Sylvester Croom hired Charlie Harbison in January of 2007, he was bringing not only an experienced assistant coach to the Bulldog sidelines, he was acquiring a decorated college recruiter who was also a veteran instructor in the Southeastern Conference.

After just one season on the job, Croom elevated Harbison to the position of defensive coordinator.

In just his first season in Starkville, Harbison helped the MSU pass defense rank fourth in the SEC, allowing just 182.2 yards per game, sixth in pass efficiency defense (114.8). The Bulldogs improved their interception total from 12 to 15 in just one season.

Harbison, 47, came to MSU following four years in his second tour of duty on the staff at the University of Alabama. He coached the Crimson Tide wide receivers during his most recent stint. Harbison helped UA to a 26-24 overall record during that stretch, including berths in the 2004 Music City, ’06 Cotton Bowl and Independence Bowl this past December.

During that four-year stretch, Harbison helped receivers D. J. Hall, Antonio Carter, and Triandos Luke rank among the school’s all-time top 10 pass-catchers. Two of Hall’s single-season receiving totals were among the eight best ever at the school. Following the 2005 season, he was honored as one of the nation’s top 25 college football recruiters by Rivals.com.

Harbison coached the Crimson Tide defensive backs in his initial stay in Tuscaloosa from 1998-2000. He helped UA to a 20-16 mark and appearances in the 1998 Music City and 2000 Orange Bowls during those three years. He was a part of the 1999 Alabama team that won the Southeastern Conference Western Division title, defeated Florida in the SEC Championship Game, and dropped a one-point decision to Michigan in the Orange Bowl.

Two of his pupils, Fernando Bryant in 1999 and Tony Dixon in 2001 were taken in the first and second rounds of the National Football League draft.

Sandwiched between those two Alabama assignments, Harbison coached the defensive backfield at LSU in 2001 and ’02. He was a member of the Tiger coaching staff that directed the 2001 LSU team to an SEC Championship Game win over Tennessee. During his two years, LSU finished 18-8 overall and played in the 2002 Sugar and 2003 Cotton Bowls. Corey Webster, who played under Harbison his first two years in Baton Rouge, finished his career second on the school’s all-time pass interception list.

Prior to his first stint at Alabama, Harbison served as the defensive backs coach at Clemson from 1995-97. The Atlantic Coast Conference Tigers posted a 22-14 mark during those three years, ending those seasons in the Gator and back-to-back Peach Bowls.

He also coached the secondary at UTEP (1994) and served twice at his alma mater, Gardner-Webb, coaching wide receivers (1992-93) and defensive backs (1984-85).

In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Harbison worked in both the Arena Football League and the World League of American Football. His professional football coaching resume includes serving as defensive coordinator for the Charlotte Rage (1993).

A native of Shelby, N.C., Harbison graduated from Gardner-Webb College in 1995. A two-sport star in football and track on the college level, he was a free-agent signee of the Buffalo Bills following his senior season.

He and his late wife Gloria, who passed away in early 2003 after battling cancer, have four children Charlie, Stedman, Masai and Msiba; daughter-in-law Caroline and grandsons, Masai II and Amari.


Playing Career
- Played at Gardner-Webb College (1979-82)
- Free agent signee by the Buffalo Bills after his senior season
- Also saw pro action with the Boston/New Orleans Breakers

Coaching Career
- 1984-85: Assistant Coach, Gardner-Webb College
- 1988: East Lincoln Senior High School
- 1990: Charlotte Barons
- 1991: Lincolnton Senior High School
- 1992-93: Assistant Coach, Gardner-Webb College
- 1993: Assistant Coach, Charlotte Rage (AFL)
- 1994: Assistant Coach, University of Texas-El Paso
- 1995-97: Assistant Coach, Clemson University
- 1998-00: Assistant Coach, University of Alabama
- 2001-02: Assistant Coach, Louisiana State University
- 2003-06: Assistant Coach, University of Alabama
- 2007-present: Assistant Coach, Mississippi State University

Notable
Guided FS Derek Pegues to all-conference accolades last season ... Tutored Keith Brown and DJ Hall at Alabama as the duo set school record for combined yards in 2006 ... Coached defensive backs on LSU’s SEC title team in 2001 ... Named one of the top 25 college football recruiters by Rivals.com in 2005.

 

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