. Division II ADA Announces Jim Harris as 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner :: NACDA :: Official Athletic Site
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Division II ADA Announces Jim Harris as 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Jim Harris

Jan. 18, 2012

CLEVELAND – The Division II Athletics Directors Association (DII ADA) has announced the recipient of the 2012 DII ADA Lifetime Achievement Award – Jim Harris, former director of athletics at the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and DII ADA Board member, who passed away unexpectedly in December 2010.  The Lifetime Achievement Award is given to an athletics director who has exemplified superior achievement during their career at the Division II level. 

“Our Association lost a dear friend and colleague in December 2010 and it is with great honor that we recognize Jim’s memory with the DII ADA Lifetime Achievement Award,” stated DII ADA President Greg Waggoner, director of athletics at Western State College of Colorado.  “Jim was a strong believer in the mission of the DII ADA and we are privileged to recognize his legacy.”

Harris, who served as AD at Alabama Huntsville from 1995 until his sudden passing in 2010, began his administrative career in 1975 at Bowling Green State as the director of athletics development. He also had stops at Ohio State, Rice and Utah State before taking over the reins of the Chargers athletics program.

During his 16 years on the job, the University grew in prominence and support. He was a humble leader who took pride in the accomplishments of the program.

Throughout his tenure, numerous teams qualified for postseason play, while the Charger hockey team captured two NCAA championships and a pair of College Hockey America titles. In addition, four UAH teams won Gulf South titles – baseball, men’s soccer (twice) and men’s cross country. On the women’s side, 12 programs captured conference championships – cross country (four) and softball (eight). Overall, the softball teams advanced to four DII national championships, including two title games, a program which was started when he began at UAH.



From the beginning of his tenure, Harris established a tradition of winning and academic excellence. Regardless of the final score of a game, he stressed to his coaches, staff and student-athletes, the importance of high performance in the classroom as well. The student-athletes all benefited from knowing Harris, who implemented a fifth year senior scholarship program to assist student-athletes in fulfilling their goal to graduate.

Harris was a man that provided fair, consistent and honest leadership during his tenure. He believed that the athletics directors’ role was to lead his/her program and advocate for the student-athletes, while making the tough decisions.

His passion and support for the student-athletes at UAH was apparent up until the end, urging caregivers to hurry up because he had a hockey game to go to.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious award presented by the DII ADA.  To be eligible for this award, a person must be at least 60 years old, or have spent at least 25 years in collegiate athletics, with a majority of those years as an AD.  The honoree may be currently in the profession or retired.  The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an AD who, over the course of his/her career, has made an exemplary contribution to Division II athletics and the student-athlete experience.  

About DII ADA: The DII ADA is the first organization of its kind to provide educational and networking opportunities; enhancement of acceptable operating standards and ethics; and establishment of the overall prestige and understanding of the profession of Division II athletics directors. For more information about the DII ADA, please visit www.div2ada.com. The DII ADA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 47th year. For more information on NACDA and the 11 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.