Dee Harris was born March 4, 1929, in Sparta, to Hugh and Lula Harris. Coach Dee Harris passed away peacefully, on April 27, 2021, at the age of 92, after a short illness.
Dee attended White County High School, graduating in 1948. During his time there, he was involved in many activities, excelling in football and basketball, earning a football scholarship to Middle Tennessee State University. At MTSU, Dee was introduced to his mentor, Coach Charles Murphy, who helped shape Dee's professional career. In 1951, Dee answered his country's call and proudly served in the United States Army in the Panama Canal until 1953. Dee then returned to Tennessee and earned his Bachelor's and Master's degree in Education from MTSU, in 1954.
Dee began an illustrious coaching career at Pulaski and later at Watertown. When offered the chance to return home and be the head coach of his beloved Warriors, Dee didn't think twice and accepted the role in 1958. The following year, Dee married his love, Rosemary Meadows, on July 24th. Throughout their 45-year marriage, they not only lovingly raised two sons, Mike and Steve Harris, but many other athletes, friends, nieces, and nephews. They treated all of Dee’s players as sons – opening their home countless times for friendship, counseling, food, and fellowship. Coach Harris led the Warriors for two decades as head coach, alongside his childhood friend, Roy Sewell. The 1961 team played for the State Championship. Coach Harris was well-liked and respected throughout the coaching profession.
Coach Harris’ passions were serving God, his family, and his community. Dee was baptized in 1959 and was an active member of the West Sparta Church of Christ for over 60 years. Dee's grandchildren were a great source of pride and joy. He spent much time cheering them on as they played sports growing up. After his retirement, Dee became an avid golfer and enjoyed playing with his morning golf group. Dee became a member of the local YMCA and enjoyed the camaraderie with fellow members.
Dee Harris was preceded in death by his wife, Rosemary; brothers, Hugh, Clarence, and Tillman; and a sister, Maude Ellen Smith.
He is survived by his sons, Mike (Connie) Harris, of Sparta, Steve (Jennifer) Harris, of Murfreesboro; grandchildren, Rachael Hicks, Lee (Tiffany) Hammond, Michael (Brooke) Harris, Chase, Bryce, and Lucas Harris; great-grandson, James Avery Hammond; one sister, Fannie Harris, of Charlotte, North Carolina; and one sister-in-law, Marjorie Sumner, of Peachtree City, Georgia.
Funeral service will be noon, April 30, 2021, at West Sparta Church of Christ. Burial with full military honors by the Veterans’ Honor Guard will follow in Highland Cemetery. The family will receive friends 11 a.m.-noon, April 30, at the church.
Pallbearers are Lee Hammond, Michael Harris, Chase Harris, Bryce Harris, Lucas Harris, Mike Sumner, and Scott Griffith.
Honorary pallbearers will be formers players and morning golf buddies from Sparta Country Club.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Highland Cemetery, where Dee served on the board of directors for over 20 years, in care of Hunter Funeral Home, P.O. Box 90, Sparta, Tennessee 38583.
Hunter Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.