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Harrison Arnold photo
Harrison Arnold photo
Harrison Arnold
Hometown: Wheeler, MS
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Coach Harrison Arnold was a farmer, an educator and a coach. Coach Arnold’s first coaching experiences were rooted in the winding traditions of Prentiss County basketball teams. He graduated from Mississippi Heights Academy at Blue Mountain in 1922 and later from Mississippi State University. He also attended Moorhead (now Sunflower) Junior College working as a student assistant coach. After teaching at Bluff School (Tippah County), Bynum, New Site, and New Hope (Prentiss County), he accepted the coaches position at wheeler High School in 1929. In 1929, Wheeler had 73 students in high school, and among those students a team developed that would go down in Mississippi sports history. First, they won every game of the season (62-2 record). Then they took the state championship from the 1928 champs and proceeded to Chicago for the National Interscholastic Basketball Tournament. There, they fought to the semi-finals before being defeated. The captain of that team was Coach Arnold’s younger brother, Bonner. Two new techniques to Mississippi basketball were introduced by Coach Arnold and this team - the freeze (stall) play and the use of a pivot (center) and having a player shoot from that position. Thus began a 44 year span of teaching and coaching in the Hill Country with 27 of those years at Wheeler High School. Coach Arnold had runner up teams to the state champion in 1941 and 1942 from Wheeler, and in 1943 from Jumpertown. His second state championship was taken by Wheeler in 1955. This team was also the Grand Slam winner. His 1962 team from Booneville High School won third place and two other teams posted third place wins. During his career, he took 16 teams to the state championship playoffs. Coach Arnold was selected Coach of the north Mississippi all star team in 1955 and 1962. Upon retirement, he was the Honor Coach of the 1966 Prentiss County Tournament, and later honored at his beloved Wheeler High School Gym by the community. He and his 1929 team were given special recognition at the 1979 State Championship Playoffs (50th anniversary team). The highest honor bestowed on coaches in Mississippi was given to Coach Arnold in 1973 when he was named to the Mississippi Association of Coaches first Hall of Fame class.