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Harris Recognized with 2010 McLendon Foundation Pioneer Award


June 29, 2010



Charles Harris, executive vice president at Averett University, received a 2010 Pioneer Award from the McLendon Foundation, part of the National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Harris earned this honor for being one of the first three African-American collegiate athletics directors to take a team to the Rose Bowl, a feat he accomplished in 1987. Harris received the Pioneer Award on June 23 during the 2010 NACDA convention in Anaheim, Calif.

"This is a tremendous honor for Charles and we are extremely proud of his accomplishments," said Averett President Dr. Tiffany Franks. "He is an exemplary role model and mentor for our students as his life experiences reflect what it means to achieve big dreams. We recognize and appreciate the talent and experience that Charles brings to our university and the city of Danville, and we congratulate him on this national recognition."

Harris has established a long, successful career of more than 30 years within college athletics administration. Prior to his current position, he served as director of athletics and vice president for student services at Averett.

Harris has held other prestigious jobs within collegiate athletics, including athletic director positions at the University of Pennsylvania and Arizona State University, where he led the Sun Devils to the aforementioned Rose Bowl. Harris also served as the commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference from 1996-2002, and was a member of the NACDA Board of Directors.

A recipient of numerous national and regional sports-related awards, Harris has been recognized by the All-American Football Foundation as both the Athletic Director of the Year and Administrator of the Year. He has served on numerous NCAA committees, including the Men's Basketball Selection Committee and the Division III Football Committee. He has also served as Chair of the NCAA Management Council - the most senior position not held by a college or university president in the NCAA hierarchy.

Locally, Harris is a member of the Board of American National Bank and the president of the Danville-Pittsylvania Habitat for Humanity.

The McLendon Foundation's Pioneer Award honors minority "firsts" in athletics. For more information on the NACDA and the 2010 recipients of the Pioneer award, visit the NACDA online.