Two former TCC assistants join Cabrera on Northwestern State’s staff

Hayden Harkins was lead recruiter for several TCC players who helped lead the team to a share of the Panhandle Conference title this past season.
TCC photo by Andrae Ransom

Two coaches who served different tenures as assistant coaches at Tallahassee Community College will join former head coach Rick Cabrera’s staff at Northwestern State in Louisiana.

Hayden Harkins, who worked under Cabrera before he left TCC at the end of this past season,  accept an assistant coaching role at the NCAA Division I program. TJ Cox, a TCC assistant during the 2020-21 season, was also hired at Northwestern State as an assistant coach last Wednesday. 

At Northwestern State, Harkins will continue to work under  Cabrera, who initially hired him in 2021 when he arrived in Tallahassee. Harkins’ and Cabrera’s coaching ties date back to their days at Arkansas State, when Harkins was a graduate assistant and Cabrera was an assistant coach.  Harkins was responsible for recruiting at TCC along with being responsible for offensive schemes, academic progress, and running the team’s social media account. 

In his first year, the team went 21-10 and reached the FCSAA/NJCAA Region 8 Tournament. Harkins was the lead recruiter for Dericko Williams and Jack Doumbia, who received All-Panhandle Conference honors for the 2021-2022 season. The team went 21-10 and reached the FCSAA/NJCAA Region 8 Tournament. 

Isaiah Cathey and Tibor Palinkas were named to the NJCAA All-Academic second team, which signifies a GPA between 3.80 and 3.99. Williams and Doumbia both graduated from TCC and went on to play for Old Dominion and Norfolk State, respectively. Palinkas graduated as well, and was a preferred-walk on this season at Florida State. 

The Eagles took a giant step forward during the 2022-23 season, in large part due to the recruiting and coaching efforts of Harkins. TCC added 10 wins from the previous season, finishing 31-6. They won a share of the Panhandle Conference, finished as runners-up at the FCSAA/Region 8 Tournament, and reached the semifinals of the NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. 

Harkins served as lead recruiter for Addison Patterson, Malachi Davis, and Okechukwu Okeke, who all received All-Panhandle Conference honors. Patterson also was named to the All-FCSAA team, while Davis had a historic postseason for the Eagles, breaking the school’s postseason scoring record in the Region 8 Championship game, and the school’s single-game scoring record in the second round of the NJCAA Tournament. 

After the conclusion of the season, Davis signed to play for Arizona State, and Okeke signed with FIU. 

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