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February 20, 2012

Dave Harris, Class of 73, Head Coach Nebraska, Congrats Kathy and Dave


David Harris
Position:Distance Coach
Alma Mater:Northeast Missouri State University
Graduating Year:1978
Email:dharris@huskers.com
Mailing Address: Nebraska Track & Field
1631 Court Street Lincoln, NE 68588-0637
Phone: (402) 472-6468
Fax: (402) 472-9361
Email: dharris@huskers.com

  • Seven years as an assistant coach
  • 19 years as a head coach
  • 11-time MIAA Coach of the Year
  • Coached 10 Conference Championship Teams
  • Coached 20 runner-up teams
  • USTFCCCA Jimmy Carnes Distinguished Service Award
  • USTFCCA President
  • Division II Executive Council Chairman
David Harris is entering his first season as the Huskers' distance coach. Harris takes over for Jay Dirksen who retired after 28 seasons as Nebraska's distance coach and head cross country coach.
Harris already has ties to Nebraska, as he coached NU's middle distance runners and the men's sprinters and hurdlers for seven years before becoming the head cross country and track and field coach at Emporia State in 1992. While at Nebraska, Harris coached many student-athletes to records that still stand including the women's outdoor 800 meters (Sharon Powell), the men's outdoor 400 meters (Ken Waller), the 1,000 meteres (Dieudonne Kwizera), the 400-meter hurdles (Mark Jackson) and the 4x400-meter relay.
As the Hornets' head coach for 19 years, Harris was named MIAA Coach of the Year 11 times and brought Emporia State to the top of the Division II ranks, as the men's squad finished fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last season.
One of the most respected coaches in the track and field community, Harris was the first non-Division I president in the history of the USTFCCCA. The leadership and direction of Harris was essential in bringing the NCAA Outdoor Championships to the Flint Hills in 1995, 1999 and again in 2006.
Emporia State won 10 MIAA team championships under Harris and had 20 runner-up finishes. In 1999 he became only the third coach to lead both the men's and women's teams to MIAA outdoor titles in the same season. The ESU women earned the school's first top-four finish nationally with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Emporia in 1999. It was the second of three national championship meets at Witten Track/Welch Stadium held under Harris' leadership.
Harris has served in numerous leadership roles within the USTFCCCA and has earned two prestigious awards. He was named the 2001 USTCA Women's NCAA Division II National Outdoor Coach of the Year and was most recently awarded the Jimmy Carnes Distinguished Service Award by the USTFCCCA. He is the former Division II Executive Council Chairman and was the first non-Division I President of the USTFCCCA, serving in that role from 2005-06 and leading the association through its reorganization in 2005.
Harris received his bachelor's degree in physical education/social science and a master's degree in athletic administration from Truman State, formerly Northeast Missouri State University. At TSU, he was a four-year letterman in cross country and track and field and captained the track team for two years.
After college, Harris joined the elite section of the St. Louis Track Club sponsored by adidas. From 1979 to 1981 he ran seven marathons with a personal-best of 2:19.54 in New Orleans. At the 1979 Boston Marathon, he qualified for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials with a time of 2:20.46. Harris retired from competitive road racing in 1981 to concentrate fully on coaching.
Harris is married to the former Kathy Bechhold, and the couple have two sons, John-David and Jared.

Nebraska gets new head coach

Harris leaves Emporia State after 19 successful years  August 10, 2011


ESU
Harris
Emporia State track and field/cross country coach Dave Harris has accepted the position of head cross country coach and assistant track and field coach at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He will be leaving ESU after 19 years as the Hornets head coach. He is the second longest tenured head track and field coach at ESU behind Hall of Famer Fran Welch.
"I appreciate what this university and community has done for my wife Kathy and me over these 19 years," said Harris.  "There are many people in Emporia that have meant so much to our program. I personally have invested myself for almost two decades in running a respected program in the MIAA and NCAA Division II and I feel good about what we have done."
Harris is an 11-time MIAA Coach of the Year. Under his guidance, the Hornets have established themselves as a nationally prominent NCAA Division II power in both track and cross country most recently finishing fourth in the men's competition at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships. His women's track teams have scored at every NCAA Outdoor Championships since 1994 while his men's team's have scored at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 17 of the last 18 seasons. His athletes have earned All-American honors 200 times, including 18 NCAA individual championships since 1995.  
"Since I worked at the University of Nebraska for seven years before coming to ESU I am aware of the challenge it presents.  It is a first class athletic program with high standards but it all still comes down to working hard to recruit quality student athletes and coaching them to be their best," said Harris. "I am appreciative that head track and field coach Gary Pepin and Athletic Director Tom Osborne want me to return to Nebraska."
Harris coached middle distance runners and men's sprinters and hurdlers at UNL from 1985-92 prior to being named head coach at ESU. In his seven-year stint as an assistant coach for the Cornhuskers, Harris coached 31 All-Americans and three Olympians.
"Dr. Bill Quayle gave me the opportunity to become a college head coach and between him and current Athletic Director Kent Weiser they have supported me the best they can," said Harris.  "Many times when funds were tight they helped in other ways to position us in a way to help coach the student athletes in our program and get them to great competitions."
"Coach Harris has proven himself as one of the finest track coaches in the country," said Wesier. "In my nearly 30 years of work in collegiate athletics, Dave Harris is one of the most finest men I have ever met."  
“I feel most proud of all the athletes that intrusted themselves to our program.”
-- Nebraska cross-country coach Dave Harris
ESU won ten MIAA team championships under Harris and had 20 runner-up finishes. In 1999 he became only the third coach to lead both the men’s and women’s teams to MIAA outdoor titles in the same season. The ESU women swept both the indoor and outdoor MIAA championships in 2001 and 2002. The ESU women earned the school's first top four finish nationally with a fourth place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Emporia in 1999.  It was the second of three national championship meets at Witten Track/Welch Stadium held under Harris' leadership.
"Directing the three national championships was a big challenge and really nice events for Emporia and the University.  I think it gave ESU respect within NCAA Division II that we were able to conduct first class championships," said Harris.  "Of course we have had so many great home meets throughout the years that have brought Olympians, national class, collegiate and high school athletes to our facility."
The leadership and direction of Harris was essential in bringing the NCAA Outdoor Championships to the Flint Hills in 1995, 1999 and again in 2006. ESU also served as the host school for the 1998 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan.  In addition to the three national meets, ESU hosted the MIAA Outdoor Track Championships in 1997, 2002, 2006 and 2011 and are scheduled to host again in 2012.  
"I feel most proud of all the athletes that intrusted themselves to our program," said Harris. "I like to refer to our ESU program as a developmental program, and throughout the years it has been so rewarding to see how good high school athletes became stars at the collegiate level.  Most were just trying to perform their best for the team and in the process became conference and national champions."
In addition to the 200 All-American honors and 18 national champions, the ESU program has had seven NCAA Post Graduate Scholars, three NCAA Woman of the Year national nominees, three Ken B. Jones winners as the MIAA Student-Athlete of the Year, and eight CoSIDA Academic All-Americans.  His athletes have won 218 MIAA event championships, including six individual cross country championships.
"As sad and difficult as it is to see Coach Harris leave Emporia State, we are excited for him with this new opportunity at Nebraska,” said Weiser. “His teams have been great representatives of Hornet Athletics, and I'm grateful to have had the chance to work with him for the past 12 years."

Harris leaves ESU for Nebraska

By Jeff Deters (Contact)

Emporia State cross country and track and field head coach Dave Harris is leaving ESU.
Harris, who coached the Hornets for 19 years, is leaving to take the position of head cross country coach and assistant track coach at Division I the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Before coming to ESU, Harris coached middle distance runners and men’s sprinters at UNL from 1985-1992.
“I have all kinds of emotions right now because I put a lot into this program for 19 years,” Harris said. “I gave a lot of my life and career working on it. So that’s hard, and I leave some athletes, and anytime you leave some athletes it’s hard to tell them that you are going. But this is a great opportunity. It’s a challenge. I’ve been there. I know what I’m getting back into.”
During his tenure at ESU, Harris was named the MIAA Coach of the Year 11 times and the Hornets won 10 MIAA team championships. His athletes have won 18 individual championships since 1995. Harris said he will leave with fond memories.
“First is the athletes that came to us and developed into great athletes,” he said. “I’ll never forget the number of national champions that we had that when they came into our program, you could have never said that. You would have never known. But in some cases they got good real quick and other cases it took a little while. But they worked hard and they invested in the program and we invested in them.”
The timing of Harris’ departure may not be the best, with athletes reporting Aug. 15 and the cross country season set to start Sept. 2.
“I hated that, but at the same time I couldn’t tell anybody until it was actually happening that I wasn’t going to be here,” Harris said. “The kids are adjusting. I called all the seniors. They are all going to be great leaders.”
Director of Athletics Kent Weiser said Harris got the most out of his student-athletes.
“He’s a guy that really knows how to bring out the best in young people and really help them reach their potential,” Weiser said. “That’s what he’s done. I’m sad to see him go, but he’s excited about the opportunity to return to Nebraska.”
Weiser said he would look internally first in finding a replacement for Harris. Assistant track coach Steve Blocker and assistant cross country coach Eric Wellman are two possibilities.
“If we can stay internal, I think that will bring some short-term benefits,” Weiser said. “But it also could be the right thing to do for the long term. I would not want to do something just to get us through the next couple months.”


Dave and Kathy, we are so proud of you two for what you have accomplished professionally and personally.  All the best Classes of 1973, Warrensburg High School.

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