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Harrison Keller always knew where his heart was truly at when it comes to coaching: With student-athletes at the high school level.

Hence, the former Cal Poly assistant immediately took his latest opportunity at Lompoc High without any hesitation.

Keller, who spent time with the Mustangs as an offensive analyst, emerged as the latest to join the Braves’ coaching staff during the weekend of May 18. Keller will serve as the Braves’ wide receivers coach.

Keller, who starred at Mission Prep in San Luis Obispo before moving into the college ranks, confirmed that the high school game is more up his alley.

After more than two years of fundraising, a planned multimillion-dollar renovation of Lompoc’s Huyck Stadium is closing in on becoming a reality. Leaders within Lompoc Unified School District and the outside Campaign for the Lompoc Community Track and Sports Field, which are jointly funding the planned $3.3 million project, announced this month that they have reached their fundraising goal for the first phase of work and are looking to begin construction as early as this November.

“To be honest, it is,” Keller said during spring football practice on Monday. “I love the development process. I love giving the basics and you can really see a kid progress since day one to when they graduate. I’m super excited.”

Additionally, returning to the high school coaching game puts Keller back in the classroom, as he plans to teach on the LHS campus this coming fall. Keller, athletic director Claudia Terrones and head coach Andrew Jones all confirm that Keller has already been approved by the Lompoc Unified School District to teach on campus at LHS.

Terrones says that Keller is now joining defensive coordinator Dustin Davis, pass game coordinator T.J. Jordan and Jones as the Braves’ varsity on-campus teachers for the upcoming fall semester.

Keller sharpened his football intellect during his time at Doerr Family Field and Spanos Stadium, crediting that experience for helping mold him some more as a football coach.

“It’s a lot of film stuff and breakdown of opponents,” Keller said of his role as offensive analyst. “There were long days including helping coach Dan Ferrigno with the receivers and coach Aristotle Thompson with the slots. I was just trying to be available as possible with coach Jim Craft (offensive coordinator) to get everybody ready for game day.”

Keller says the local university is supportive of his decision to dive back into prep football coaching.

“They were super excited,” Keller said. “They were appreciative of my time at Cal Poly. In the long term, they thought it was a great opportunity for me and my family to stay here on the Central Coast.

“For me being able to stay local and be a part of a winning program (at Lompoc) just super grateful. Obviously, I’m grateful for coach Tim Walsh and coach Jim Craft for the opportunity at Cal Poly. I learned a lot and I’m excited to take that here and continue the winning program here.”  

Jones has only worked with Keller during the Braves’ spring football practices, but he’s already witnessed his impact on the Brave wideouts.

“I’ve been around him for a few days now. The energy, the enthusiasm is there,” Jones said. “Every off-season, you try to figure out a way to get better in the off-season. Not only with getting the players better, but in creating the best atmosphere and the best coaching staff that we can possibly create. I can’t say enough about him. I’m looking forward to the season. To have him working directly with the receivers will have a direct impact on us. He’s not just going to be a great addition to Braves football, but a great addition to the campus.”

The move to return to the prep game also reunites him with Jordan and Davis. The trio worked together at St. Joseph from 2012-14.

“The band is back together. We’re excited to get going,” Keller said.

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