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Dallas County School system mourns the loss of longtime assistant basketball coach

The Dallas County School System is mourning the loss of its longtime assistant basketball coach.

Christopher Harrell, 56, was fatally shot on Thursday night near Lannie’s BBQ after an attempted robbery.

Harrell is well known as a mentor as a Hornets’ basketball coach. Harrell was an assistant coach on the Hornets’ squad that won the Class 4A championship during the 2013-2014 season.

Dallas County Schools Superintendent Hattie Shelton said Harrell’s death sent shockwaves throughout the community.

“As a school district, we’re in mourning and his death is something that we did not expect,” Shelton said. “He was always willing to do what was needed for the kids.”

Dallas County head basketball coach Cliff Nix and Harrell were longtime friends. Nix said he cherished their friendship.

“Christopher Harrell meant the world to me,” Nix said. “He was my brother from another mother. We played ball together, worked together, cut grass together, fished together, joked together, rapped and sang together and we coached together for over 13 years. My condolences to his family and our Dallas County Hornet family.”

Dallas County Athletic Director and football coach Heath LeVert remembered Harrell for his honesty and sense of humor.

“Coach Harrell was honestly one of the most kind-hearted individuals that I ever had the privilege to work with,” LeVert said. “He was always there with a smile, joke or funny story just when you needed it. His passion for the game of basketball was contagious. He loved the game, but more than that, he loved his athletes and students. You can’t replace a Chris Harrell. He will be missed dearly.”

Former Dallas County football standout Michael Johnson, who played 10 NFL seasons, said Harrell made a huge impact in the community.

“Coaches are usually some of the most respected people in the community,” Johnson said. “It’s definitely a stain on Selma, losing a coach and mentor to a selfish act. My heart goes out to Harrell’s family and the lives he impacted.”