New Director of Athletics

Tulane University President Michael A. Fitts announced in November the hiring of David Harris as the Green Wave’s new Director of Athletics and the Ben Weiner Director of Athletics Chair.

Harris, who was named an Athletics Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics in 2021, comes to Tulane after serving as Director of Athletics at the University of Northern Iowa. He will oversee an athletics program enjoying remarkable success both academically and across the 17 sports in which they compete. Tulane’s athletics facilities are also undergoing major expansions and improvements while the Green Wave fan base is growing exponentially.

“Central to David’s long and deep experience in collegiate athletics administration is his passion for the success of student-athletes, the value and integrity of competition and the importance of sports in uniting and inspiring students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff and fans,” Fitts said. “At Tulane, David will oversee an incredibly talented and dedicated group of student-athletes, coaches, administrators and staff who have elevated our athletics program to a high point in its long and storied history. With this hire, the opportunities and potential are limitless.”

With Harris’ arrival in 2016, the University of Northern Iowa continued gaining national recognition for besting Power Five programs across all sports, winning 20 conference championships, having 17 “Coaches of the Year,” 28 “Players of the Year” and earning 11 NCAA tournament bids. He also helped lead record-breaking fundraising efforts and facility development. 

David Harris in a blue suit sitting at a desk
David Harris

Harris holds NCAA leadership roles and serves on national committees related to general athletics oversight, academic enhancement, equity and diversity, student-athlete transfers and more. He is a member of the NCAA’s Division I Council, the NCAA’s Council Coordination Committee and Chair of the NCAA’s Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee.

Under Harris’ leadership, student-athletes have consistently maintained GPAs and graduation rates that exceed the overall student body.

“My career began supporting the academic pursuits of student-athletes, and it has always been important to me to find a place that combines world-class academics with a pursuit of excellence in all of its athletic endeavors,” Harris said. “President Fitts is committed to the well-being, academic achievement and lifelong success of Tulane’s student-athletes and continuing to build an athletics program that matches the university’s nationally renowned research and academics.”

Harris, a Baton Rouge native, said returning home was also a big draw. “I was born and raised in south Louisiana, so I know firsthand that the city of New Orleans is an amazing community. It is the right place for my wife Felicia, who is a native of Natchez, Mississippi, and I to continue to raise our family.”

Harris will serve as a member of the university’s senior leadership team and will serve on the President’s Cabinet. The announcement of Harris’ hiring follows an extensive nationwide search led by Tulane Board Member Doug Hertz and a committee of board members, faculty, athletics staff, students and community members. 

“During our athletic director search, David stood out for his exceptional vision for Tulane athletics and passionate desire to move our program forward to compete at the highest levels of intercollegiate athletics,” said Patrick Norton, Tulane’s senior vice president and chief operating officer. “David’s extensive knowledge, experience and leadership will be invaluable to our athletics program and the development and success of our student-athletes.”