THURSDAY, JUNE 03, 2010
Dr. Judson Harris memorial service set for June 12
Dr. Judson Harris, the second director of athletics in the history of Jacksonville University, passed away on Saturday.
A memorial service has been planned for the JU campus on June 12 at the Sam R. Marks Chapel, starting at 11 a.m., with a reception following at the Davis College of Business.
A native of Radford, Va., Harris led the Dolphins from 1967 to 1981, overseeing one of the most successful eras in the history of the program.
“The entire JU family is mourning today at the loss of Dr. Harris,” said JU director of athletics Alan Verlander. “He oversaw an amazing time in the history of JU and has always remained close to the program since retiring. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family in their time of grief.”
His tenure at JU saw the Dolphins reach new heights after moving from NAIA to the NCAA major college division. Under his leadership, JU reached the national title game in men’s basketball in 1970 – moving all of its home games downtown to the Jacksonville Coliseum in the process. During his leadership, JU made six postseason appearances in basketball.
It was also under his leadership that JU had its first black athlete – Chip Dublin.
He also oversaw the baseball team ranked in the top 25 four times, including the school’s highest ever ranking of fifth during the 1976 season, eventually finishing ninth in the AP poll.
A visionary as well, he was a driving force in the creation of the Sun Belt Conference, giving JU its first conference home in the NCAA.
On April 24, he was honored for his hard work and dedication to JU athletics by being inducted into the JU Athletics Hall of Fame.
“I can’t say enough good things about JU,” Harris said during his induction speech. “There were a lot of great athletes that came through JU. I’m not sure if I deserve this honor, but I’m not going to turn it down.”
Funeral arrangements are unknown at this time, but will be updated at JUDolphins.com.