Lake Taylor takes the field (Photo: Lance Hinton/recruit757)
Bert Harrell made his name at Lake Taylor, leading the Titans to multiple district titles
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
Coach Bert Harrell will forever be a Titan.
On Saturday, Lake Taylor athletic Director Bobby Pannenbacker share the news that the Titans’ legendary coach had passed away at the age of 82.
Harrell finished one win short of 100 (99-58-4) after closing the 1995 season with a 21-18 loss to cross-town rival Maury. He was the first head football coach of the Titans, leading them from 1967 to 1978, then repeating the role from 1992 to 1995. Billy Morrow, still a Titans assistant coach, led the team from 1979 to 1991.
Coach Harrell used the Veer offense that’s still used today by Hank Sawyer. The Veer has led several Titans teams to state championships.
Sawyer express his sorrow over the passing of Coach Harrell saying, “Bert Harrell gave me my first head football coaching job. He mentored me. He told me what to run, why it would work, and he praised me for my success.”
“It’s amazing what can be accomplished when you don’t care who gets the credit. The loss hurts deeply because he cared and he showed he cared constantly. Heaven just got a good one.”
In October 2019, Harrell participated in a press box dedication ceremony at Lake Taylor where he was once again honored for his contributions to Lake Taylor athletics, sports in Norfolk and the VHSL. When he retired from coaching, Harrell took the position as Virginia High School League athletic coordinator for Norfolk Public Schools.
– Andy Hilton