University of Minnesota director of athletics Joel Maturi announced onJuly 30 that John Harris had been named director of golf for the Golden Gopher golf programs. Harris takes over for Brad James, who was left in July to become the high performance director for Golf Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). James had been with the program since the 1993-94 season.
"We believe that John Harris is a great fit for the University of Minnesota and its golf programs and I am pleased to announce that he has agreed to join the Gopher Athletics family as the director of golf," said Maturi. "John had expressed an interest in the position and it became clear to us that it was a great match. John was born and raised in Minnesota. He went on to compete as a Gopher and has played at the highest levels. John understands Minnesota and is committed to achieving success with both of our golf programs."
A native of Roseau, Minn., and a graduate of the University, Harris excelled on the links while at Minnesota. A four-year letterwinner on the golf team, he played in three NCAA Championships and finished 17th at the 1973 event. He was named an All-American following the 1973 and 1974 seasons and also garnered first team All-Big Ten honors both years.
"I am thrilled with the opportunity and I am really looking forward to the challenge," Harris said. "I want to thank director of athletics Joel Maturi and the selection committee for putting their faith in me and my vision for Gopher golf. Having the opportunity to give back to a university that has been so good to me and also to golf in the state of Minnesota is something very special to me."
A member of the University of Minnesota 'M' Club Hall of Fame and the Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame, Harris was a part of the 1972 Gopher squad that took home the Big Ten title. He went on to finish his career by winning the 1974 Big Ten individual title as well as the Les Bolstad award, given annually to the conference player with the lowest season scoring average.
Harris went on to capture numerous championships within the Minnesota borders as well as national tournaments, including the 1993 U.S. Amateur, the 1995 Sunnehanna Amateur as well as four Minnesota State Mid-Amateur and three Minnesota State Amateur titles.
Harris' next accomplishment came along with his 50th birthday, as he became a member of the PGA's Champions Tour. He played eight seasons on tour and captured his first win in 2006 at the Commerce Bank Championship with a 54-hole score of 11-under par 202.
Harris originally came to the University of Minnesota in the fall of 1971 to play for legendary head coach Herb Brooks on a hockey scholarship. A four-year letterwinner, he played in 110 career games on the ice, tallying 56 points on 21 goals and 35 assists. He finished his senior season as the Gophers' second leading scorer and helped lead the "U" to its first college hockey National Championship with a 4-2 victory over Michigan Tech at the Boston Garden.
JOHN HARRIS GOLF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Big Ten Individual Championship - 1974
Minnesota State Amateur Champion - 1974, 1987, 1989, 2000
Minnesota State Mid-Amateur Champion - 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1999
United States Amateur Champion - 1993
Walker Cup Team Member - 1993, 1995, 1997, 2001
Minnesota State Open Champion - 1994, 1995
Sunnehanna Amateur Champion - 1995
Porter Cup - 1997
Commerce Bank Championship - 2006