His tenure saw the JU basketball team play for the national title, the men’s rowing team win national titles as well as the baseball team finishing ranked in the top 25.
One of Dr. Harris’ enduring qualities was his ability to keep JU moving forward.
With the emergence of conference affiliation in the mid-1970s, Dr. Harris was going to make sure JU was not left behind. He was a driving force behind the creation of the Sun Belt Conference, which JU helped found in 1975 and was a member of until 1998.
He was a part of the administration that moved JU’s home basketball games in 1970 from tiny Swisher Gymnasium to the spacious Jacksonville Coliseum, where the Dolphins became a mainstay in front of sellout crowds.
“Dr. Harris was so important to the success of all the teams at JU,” said JU alumnus and athletics Hall of Fame member Brad Negaard. “He supported the teams, but he also supported the student-athletes. He made sure that we had an enjoyable college experience while letting us know that he was 100 percent behind our efforts.”
The Golden Era of JU Athletics
-An appearance in the 1970 national title game vs. UCLA
-Saw JU win a school-record 27 games in 1970
-Two trips to the NIT Final Four in New York City
-Finished the year ranked in the top 25 four times
-Came up a game short of a trip to the College World Series in 1976
-Saw JU win a school-record 45 games in 1976
HALL OF FAME