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Litchfield boys hoops coach Jason Harlow headed to Trinity College. By John Nestor
LITCHFIELD - Berkshire League basketball has been a part of Jason Harlow's life since he was a little kid, but Harlow's not a kid anymore and it's now time for a new challenge.
Harlow has resigned as head coach of the Litchfield High School boys basketball team to take a job as an assistant coach at Trinity College.
After nine successful seasons with the Cowboys, Harlow will join coach James Cosgrove's staff with the Bantams. He will leave Litchfield for the college game but not after having quite a run.
In his nine seasons in Litchfield, Harlow led the Cowboys to three regular season Berkshire League titles along with three second-place finishes. Litchfield also won the BL Tournament twice under Harlow while losing in the title game three times.
Even in down years when the wins didn't come easily, Harlow had his teams ready to play. You could argue that no team in the league played tougher defense and BL opponents knew they were in for a battle any time Litchfield was on the schedule.
"I loved it, I absolutely loved it," Harlow said if his time with the Cowboys. "The kids make the program and I had absolutely incredible kids."
It appears that the kids thought highly of Harlow as well. He said he broke the news to his team last week and wanted to tell all of his former players himself. When he finished his final meeting with the current team, Harlow said he had at least 20 messages and texts on his phone.
"I even had some ex-parents call me when they heard and that was pretty neat," Harlow said.
The job came about because Trinity was looking for a coach to round out its staff and Harlow had a few connections that got him a chance to get a foot in the door. A player at Western Connecticut State University, Harlow had a good word put in on his behalf by his coach with the Colonials, Bob Campbell and former teammate Ed Quick, who is an assistant to Campbell at Western.
An initial interview led to a second meeting in August and when cosgrove offered the job to Harlow he took it.
"It took a while over the summer but when he offered I took it," Harlow said. "College coaching was always something in the back of my mind and I thought it was now or never."
Now Harlow is ready for his new role when practice starts for the NESCAC school on November first. He has already been up to the school a few times to meet some of the players and check things out. Come this season Harlow will be involved in all the day-to-day operations, recruiting, practices and game prep.
"I am looking forward to the challenge," Harlow said. "I will have some things to learn, but at the same time, basketball is basketball. It's a good opportunity and I'm excited for it."
And as the new chapter in his coaching career is about to start, Harlow looked back on his days in Litchfield with nothing but fondness. The wins and league titles were great, but the relationships built with coaches and players seem to be what will really stick with him.
"I had great assistants and I enjoyed the Berkshire League," Harlow said. "I played in the BL and had been going to games since I was in middle school. The BL has been a part of my life for 25, 30 years and it was great. In the end I think we accomplished what we set out to, make tough, smart kids. I think we did that."
And now Trinity is getting a tough, smart coach.
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