In a statement released on April 22 and accepted by the Albertville School Board on the same night, longtime Albertville boys’ basketball coach Patrick Harding stepped down after leading the Aggies for the past 24 years.
“I want to thank everyone associated with Albertville High School for giving me the opportunity to serve as the boys’ basketball coach for the past 24 years,” he said. “It has been an incredible journey, and I will cherish every moment that I was allowed to represent AHS. It’s my hope that all the players who I have had a privilege to coach know how much they mean to me.”
Coach Harding is a product of DAR, where he played for Hall of Fame coach Bobby Buford from 1982 through 1985.
In addition to stepping down from Albertville, Harding will be moving over to 6A Buckhorn High School. The Bucks were 24-8 last season, including 6-2 in area play.
Following the announcement of his resignation and move to Buckhorn, former players, assistant coaches, and co-workers shared an outpouring of support for him, recognizing the impact he had on the school that went beyond the basketball court.
“It’s hard to put that into words,” Albertville Athletic Director Tyler Reeves said of Harding’s impact. “Just an incredible run of success and stability over multiple decades. I’m not sure that people really understand how rare that is, and how difficult that is, for one coach to lead a program at the same school for as long as he did and experience consistent success.”
Harding began his coaching career at Douglas High School in 1990, then moved over to his high school alma mater, DAR, before finally coming to Albertville in 1997, serving as the JV boys coach until 1999, when he was handed the reigns to the varsity program.
Harding steps down as one of the most decorated coaches in the area, reaching the County Tournament finals 14 times, and capturing the county crown nine times, including the three most recent tournaments in 2018, 2019, and 2020, becoming the first Albertville coach and team to win three-straight county titles.
In addition to their county play, Harding’s teams won six area tournament championship, and went to Regionals in 2003, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2018, and 2020.
Harding is also a member of the prestigious 500-in club, reaching that number back in 2020 during the semifinals of the Marshall County Tournament, where the Aggies rallied from a 6-point halftime deficit for a 44-30 win over Arab.
With the head varsity basketball coach now open, Reeves said that the school will look to move quickly on a hire, hoping to have a coach in place to lead the team through tryouts and summer workouts, and expects that the school will have a number of strong candidates for the opening once the job is officially posted.
“The plan is to move on this quickly,” Reeves said. “With basketball, the month of June is a crucial month. That’s the month that the AHSAA allows them to have play dates, and generally you try to get tryouts done after spring football ends, so we’d like to have somebody in here as soon as possible. But we feel like this will be an attractive job and there will be good candidates for it. But in terms of overall plan, it’s to move quickly, this is not something you want to carry out over the summer, you want somebody in place before that summer stuff begins.”