“I was surprised and disappointed,” Long said of the decision to let him go. “We have things going in the right direction, and I was really excited and looking forward to what we were going to be able to do next season. Now, that won’t happen.
“I had a chance this week to talk to a lot of the kids. I guess not everyone feels the same, but all of the kids that I talked to were upset about the move.”
Attempts to reach Harrill during Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ spring break were unsuccessful.
Long said he’s still employed as a physical education teacher at Providence and added that he hasn’t made any decisions about his future in coaching.
“I’ve talked about a lot of things to a lot of different people recently,” Long said. “I don’t know what the future is going to bring for me. Right now, I’m teaching so I’m focusing on that. But we’ll have to see what next year brings.”
In 2012, Long led the Panthers to the Class 4AA state playoffs, but after an opening-round loss to East Forsyth, the team finished with a 5-6 record, marking the third consecutive season it finished below .500. Long was 55-53 overall and 36-25 in the Southwestern 4A conference during his tenure.
Long’s best year came in 2005 when the Panthers went 9-2 overall and finished second with a 5-1 record in the conference. His teams won five league games in each of his first three seasons but had gone 21-20 over the last six years.