Gerald Harris II is a man who never stops.
The personable and highly-energetic Harris — who turns 44 next week — ventured into a young man’s sport at the Viking Open in Poteau and not only came away with a win, but also a new group of fans and memories for a lifetime. Making the day extra special was competing alongside his son, Gerald (Boogie) Harris III, a two-time state champion and Cascia Hall junior.
It’s highly unusual to see someone of Gerald’s age compete in a college tournament, but when you do it with your high school aged son you’re talking about very rare air indeed and something that needs to be celebrated.
Watch these interviews (free views):
Harris, a man of many talents, decided that it would be fun to enter the college tournament as a father-son duo. Not only did they compete, they won! Dad was 1-0 with a major decision win, while Boogie went 2-0 with two tech fall wins before the duo withdrew from the tournament as they moved onto their next adventure.
And what is his next adventure? Preparing to host a comedy show, which takes place Sunday as he celebrates turning 44 years young.
Yes, the man that has led the Union girls team to two straight state titles, won a bronze and silver medal at the last two Veterans World Wrestling Championships, completed a successful MMA career (26-8-1 career record), and was a cast member on Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter 7”, does comedy shows on the side.
Add in his teaching duties at Union and that Harris and his wife Nicci run the Hurricane Training Center and you have a man that never stops.
In October, competing in Loutraki, Greece, Harris earned a silver medal at the 2023 Veterans World Championships freestyle competition. Harris’s silver medal helped propel the USA team to the team title. This was Harris’s second World medal, as last year he earned a bronze medal in the Greco completion, once again, helping the USA team win the team title.
Harris’s training partner for both the World Championships and the Viking Open was Union assistant coach, Blake Andrews. Harris was quick to praise Andrews as a great workout partner that provided invaluable help in his preparation for competition. Harris also went through jiu-jitsu training in preparation for the tournaments.
Weighing in at 7:00 am, Gerald quickly began the rehydration process to prepare for his first match. Unfortunately for Gerald and all of the competitors, there was a 90 minute delay in getting the tournament started. Drawing a record 280 entries, with wrestling taking place on four mats, it was going to be a long day for everyone. Gerald’s wait was longer than most as he drew two opening round byes, which meant that he didn’t wrestle his first (and only) match until 3:45.
Prior to his match, Boogie had already wrestled two matches (winning both by tech fall), allowing Dad the opportunity to enjoy the father-son event, by coaching his son.
Finally on deck, Harris paced back-and-forth in anticipation of his match. His opponent was Brooks Schrimsher, a junior from Ouachita Baptist. Schrimsher came into the match with a 45-16 career record, two 5th place NCAA Regional Tournament finishes and 2022 Little Rock Open champion.
With son Boogie in the corner coaching, the match opened with little action from either wrestler. Harris scored the first takedown mid-way through the first period with a throw by before dropping down to a single leg and scoring the three on the edge of the mat. Thinking he heard a whistle, Harris stopped wrestling, which drew quite the comical response from Coach Boogie. A Harris takedown with time running out gave him a 6-1 lead after one period.
In the 2nd period, the pair traded takedowns, giving Harris a 9-5 lead heading into the 3rd period. In the down position, Harris was unable to escape, but two stalling calls against Schrimsher, gave Harris one point and a 10-5 lead. Coach Boogie gets credit for the stall point as at first, no points were awarded, but a conference at the table, not only corrected the stalling calls, but gave Gerald a much needed breather.
Following the conference, Harris escaped with 15 seconds remaining in the match to make the score 11-5. With time running out, Harris finished with a bang, hitting a beautiful duck under which brought a huge roar of approval from the fans, giving Harris the 14-5 major decision win.
Now in the semifinals, but knowing that much needed to be done back in Tulsa, father and son called it a very successful and memory making day and headed home to prepare for the Comedy Show and to find the Taco Truck that Boogie had been craving.
The father-son duo was the reason for the three-hour trip to Poteau and it was well worth it to see the two in action and to see the great bond not only between father and son, but also the bond that Coach Harris has with his former wrestlers that were at the tournament.
Congratulations to Gerald on a job well done and being bold enough to take a chance and setting a great example for his family, friends, and all that are part of the Union Girls Wrestling program. Who knows what comes next…