David Harris named UNI director of intercollegiate athletics

David Harris

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – David Harris has been named director of intercollegiate athletics at the University of Northern Iowa. He is currently senior associate athletic director at Iowa State University. In that role, Harris serves as the sports administrator for football, men's basketball and wrestling and also has oversight responsibilities for student-athlete development, compliance, athletic training, and strength and conditioning. Harris will assume his new duties at UNI on March 28.

"I am ecstatic that David and his family are becoming part of the Panther family," said UNI President Bill Ruud. "He has a wealth of experience in athletic department operations at three different Division I universities. I know that his knowledge will not only benefit our student athletes and athletic department staff but the University of Northern Iowa as a whole. David brings strategic thinking, intellect, enthusiasm and passion to the table, which is exactly what we were looking for in our new athletic department leader."

"I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the University of Northern Iowa as the director of athletics," said Harris. "UNI is truly a special place, and my family and I are extremely excited about becoming part of the Panther family. I am very thankful to President Ruud for giving me this opportunity to lead the athletics department. We will work together to strive for excellence in all of our endeavors in the classroom, in competition and in the way we serve and represent the Cedar Valley community."  

Prior to Iowa State, Harris worked in the athletics department at the University of Wisconsin as the associate athletic director – student services from 2002 until 2006. His primary responsibility focused on academics and academic services for more than 800 student athletes. He also worked at his alma mater, the University of Mississippi, where two promotions lifted him to the senior staff in 2002. Harris earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1993 and an MBA in 1995 from the University of Mississippi.

Harris is deeply immersed in NCAA committee work and volunteerism. He has participated in the Division 1A Athletic Directors Association – Fellows Program since 2011. He has also participated in the NACDA Mentoring Institute, NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Conference, NCAA Leadership Institute for Ethnic Minority Males and NCAA CHAMPS/Life Skills Conference. He earned the 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Advancing One Community Award for his commitment to helping establish a multicultural community in Ames.

Harris replaces Troy Dannen, who left UNI in December 2015 to be the athletic director at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Harris and his wife, Felicia, have a daughter, Kaitlyn (14), and a son, Wesley (5). 


Michael Hager, senior vice president for finance and operations and chair of the athletic director search committee, 319-273-2382, michael.hager@uni.edu

Scott Ketelsen, Office of University Relations, 319-273-2761, scott.ketelsen@uni.edu