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PREPS: Cleveland picks Wayne Harris as football coach

Cleveland High has named Wayne Harris as its new varsity football head coach.

Harris, who has worked at the PIL school for 18 years, replaces Gary Sletmoe, who chose to step down after the 2012 season.

Harris, an aide in Cleveland's special needs program, has coached football, basketball and track and field for the Warriors in past years, including nine previous ears as head track and field coach.

The past two years, he has been coaching defensive backs at Oregon City.

"We're excited about having Wayne step in," Cleveland athletic director Mike Shanahan said.

Harris, 44, is a Putnam graduate who competed in football and track at Portland State, where he set records in the 100 and 200 meters.

Three years ago, Harris coached the freshman football team at Cleveland. He also was on the football staff when the Warriors won the PIL 5A championship in 2006.

"This is my big-time opportunity. I waited a long time," Harris said Wednesday. "I want to thank Mike and (principal) Paul Cook and (vice principal) Kevin Taylor for giving me this opportunity. It's always been a dream goal of mine. And I want to thank the Cleveland community as well."

Harris said that John Percich will be his offensive coordinator. Percich has been coaching running backs at Oregon City. Other Cleveland coaching staff members will be determined soon, Harris said.

"Offensively, we're going to be more of a spread team, possibly with some fly sweep," he said, "and defensively we'll use a 4-3, 3-4, 3-5 — we'll just have to look at the personnel.

"We'll be very young but athletic. We're going to sling the ball, line up and be as aggressive and fundamentally sound as we can.

"My first goal is getting more kids out. if I can get 80 kids out, that's half my battle right there."