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Tommy Harmon: A Player's Perspective

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On Wednesday, longtime assistant baseball coach Tommy Harmon was let go by Augie Garrido. Later that evening, Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls wrote a column on Harmon's departure, characterizing Harmon in ways that drew objections from numerous people who knew Tommy Harmon--including a number of former players who wrote 'Letters to the Editor' about it. One of those letters was written by Seth Johnston, Captain of the 2005 National Championship Team, but only a portion of his full letter appeared in the Statesman. Below Seth shares his full response to Bohls on Tommy Harmon

A Player's Perspective

I woke up this morning absolutely stunned.

Not stunned by the content of what I was reading, but stunned because I couldn't believe that Kirk Bohls had crossed the line yet again. I understand Kirk Bohls has a job to do, and I respect that. But in every instance, there is a line that shouldn't be crossed, and Kirk consistently crosses that line. I didn't think he could possibly be as wrong as he was with his articles written in June of 2004, but he was. It is unfortunate that Kirk has the platform that he does. It is a shame that he can write whatever he wants without repercussion. That is the only reason I am writing this letter.

Kirk is the main avenue of information between readers and UT athletics, therefore, all readers have to go on are his opinions. Readers don't hear about Coach Tommy Harmon from a player's perspective, they hear what Kirk says a player's perspective is. Readers don't hear that in my 4 years at UT, I was never "nitpicked", "nagged", or "berated" as Kirk's article suggests. I felt motivated and inspired to gain the respect and approval of the programs father figure, as did all the players from 2002-2005. Readers don't hear voicemails and read the emails that ex-players have been sending since this news broke. Readers can't possibly feel the heartbreak that I'm feeling right now. All readers can do, is read an article written by a man who has made his career off of "nitpicking", "nagging" and "berating" the University of Texas athletic program, all the while, never having stepped foot between the chalk.

You would think that Kirk Bohls would be the first guy in a long line of people stepping up to thank Coach Harmon for his 23 years of service not only to the University of Texas, but the city of Austin, and all the lives that he has influenced in an extremely positive way. You would think that a man, who lives in the comfort of hiding behind a computer screen, would for once, celebrate greatness and loyalty at the end of a 23 year career. But instead, he offers his misguided opinions to readers who don't have the luxury of a former player's perspective, and titles his article "In the end, Harmon is a victim of himself". I am writing this to give people another perspective on things.

Most true Longhorn fans know the contribution that Coach Harmon gave to this University, and more importantly, know the kind of man that he truly is, not the picture that Kirk paints. But readers and Longhorn fans can't possibly know the impact that Coach Harmon had on the players' lives. For us lucky ones, our fathers raised us to become men, as mine did. For me personally, next to my own father, Coach Harmon turned me into a man, and I guarantee the same could be said by all of my former teammates.

I hope that Mr. Bohls puts his ego aside, and thinks long and hard about this. I hope he thinks about what the University of Texas provides for him. I hope he thinks about how he should be the first person defending people like Coach Harmon and the University of Texas.

Seth Johnston
Team Captain of the 2005 National Championship Baseball Team