Luttrell steps down as HHS football coach joining Elam at Union
From The Daily Enterprise -
Choosing to move from one alma mater to another, John Luttrell told his Harlan High School football players on Tuesday morning that he wouldn’t be back as coach next season.
“Harlan is my alma mater and will always be special, and I’ll miss the players, but Union is also my alma mater and coach (Andre) Linn had asked me the last two years to join his staff, but I just felt like it was time now,” said Luttrell. “I’m 54 and I’ve always wanted to go back and coach on the next level. I appreciate Harlan for the opportunity and I’m looking forward to the new opportunity with Union. Joining up with coach (Bart) Elam from Pineville, hopefully, we can help coach Linn and Union take the next step.”
“We are thankful for the commitment coach Luttrell has made over the last several years to the Green Dragon football program,” Harlan Independent Schools Supt. C.D. Morton said. “He has invested a great deal of blood, sweat and tears into this program and we are very appreciative for his willingness to step in and take over the helm when he did. Coach Luttrell provided much more than Xs and Os for our students and program. In addition to the Friday night games, he has been a mentor and provided high quality leadership to our students during his tenure. He has also devoted an enormous amount of his personal time to the program in the off-season and worked tirelessly to represent the Green Dragon family at a high level. We wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors.”
Luttrell took over for former teammate J.B. Donahue after the 2016 season when Donahue left for the University of the Cumberlands. Luttrell had been an assistant for several years at Harlan after his long and distinguished military career came to an end.
The Dragons posted a 3-8 record under Luttrell in 2017, then improved to 4-7 in 2018.
Luttrell, a 1982 Harlan graduate who starred on several outstanding Rick McCrary teams in the early 1980s, went on to play at Georgetown College for one year, then to Union College when the sport was reinstated in the 1980s.
He returned home to serve as an assistant at Harlan, then at Cawood under Tim Saylor before taking over as head coach of the Trojans in 1995. He posted a 19-23 record in four years, but the Trojans improved each season, going from 1-9 to 3-7, then 7-4 and then 8-3. After one season away, Luttrell returned to Cawood in 2000 and led the Trojans to a 5-6 mark before his second tour in the military.
Luttrell returned to Harlan after leading the Mountain Warriors during their service in Iraq. He was an assistant one season at Harlan County and several years with Harlan and helped lead the Dragons to a district title in 2015.
“Off-season workouts will continue with school personnel in the interim while (Harlan High School) Principal Britt Lawson and Harlan High begin work to secure coach Luttrell’s successor,” Morton said. “As with all vacancies, we will post the position and begin the process of considering applicants until we find the best possible candidate to lead our Green Dragon football program. We are excited and eager to begin this work and look forward to a successful 2019 football season.”