On Thursday, Santa Fe boys’ basketball coach Elliot Harris announced his retirement after 20 seasons of coaching.
Harris led the Raiders to their first state championship game appearance in school history two weeks ago.
“Not very many people get to say that they were able to live out their dreams,” Harris said. “For the last 20 years, I had the privilege of teaching and coaching at my Alma Mater, Santa Fe High School, including 14 as the head coach. It has been a wonderful journey, and I am forever thankful for the many leaders that I have served under and the teachers and coaches that I have served with.”
Santa Fe (20-6) rallied from a 16-point deficit in the third quarter to force overtime against Pine Crest (Fort Lauderdale) in the Class 4A state championship game.
They led by eight points with a minute to go in the OT period. However, Pine Crest rallied to force a second overtime and handed Santa Fe a heartbreaking 90-83 defeat.
In the state semifinals, the Raiders survived foul trouble from NC State signee Ernest Ross and 33 points from West Nassau’s (Callahan) Deebo Coleman, a Georgia Tech signee, to win the state semifinal game, 64-63, and advance to their first-ever state championship game.
Santa Fe defeated Lake Highland Prep (Orlando), 51-49, in the region final to advance to their first state semifinal appearance since 2002.
The Raiders defeated Eastside (Gainesville) three times this season, including a 41-31 win in the region semifinals.
“We accomplished a lot this year,” Harris said. “We made history at our school while giving our community and county a reason to cheer for the underdog. This was an unbelievable journey.”
Harris said that while he is saddened about “not being able to call plays from the sideline” that he is happy that he will get to spend more time with his family, but he’ll also be one of Santa Fe’s biggest cheerleaders.
“I am not far away,” he said. “I’ll be the loudest coach in the stands. I can truly say that I gave it all that I had, and for that I am proud. Raider Nation, thank you for your support through the years. Until we meet again…”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include more quotes from Coach Harris.