Platteville hires Harris

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PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Director of Athletics, Shannon James Ealy, announced Monday (Dec. 3, 2018) the appointment of Chad Harris as head baseball coach.  Harris has 17 years of collegiate coaching experiencing, most recently served as assistant coach and pitching coach at the University of Dubuque (Dubuque, Iowa). 

"We are pleased to welcome Chad Harris to the Pioneer family.  Coach Harris is a great fit for our department as he has experience building successful baseball programs, recruiting talent from the Tri-State area, knows our community, has established relationships on-campus and brings a much needed vision with excitement and energy to our baseball program," Ealy commented.

Harris returns to UW-Platteville after serving as an Academic Retention Specialist and Academic Coach from 2017-18.

"In my time working at UW-Platteville previously, I grew to love this campus.  It always felt like home, from day one," said Harris.  "When I was on campus for my interview, nothing had changed.  Everyone was welcoming and I knew I wanted to be here.  And now having a chance to come back and lead the baseball program and to be able to honestly share my passion for this school with recruits and their families, it's a true honor."

Harris has spent 17 years coaching baseball at the collegiate level which includes stops as head coach at AIB College of Business in Des Moines, Iowa (2013-15), head coach at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa, (2006-2012), and assistant coach at University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas (2001-2006).  He most recently returned to his passion of coaching full-time in the spring of 2018 and joined the staff at the University of Dubuque after serving as a volunteer assistant coach with the Spartans during the 2017 season.  

"I believe we are all in the business of ensuring our students have a great experience while learning and becoming prepared for life," said Harris when asked about his coaching philosophy. "As coaches, we are fortunate to be in a position to use our passion as a tool to teach.  I'm looking forward to working with our current student-athletes and offering them an environment to grow as a team and as individuals.  I believe winning on the field is a by-product of a lot of different factors, many which take place away from the field." 

During Harris' time as pitching coach with the Spartans, the University of Dubuque baseball team won the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference 2018 Championship (now re-named the American Rivers Conference).  The Spartans went on to win the Iowa Conference Tournament and two games in the Duluth Regional of the NCAA Division III National Tournament. During their 2018 trip into the tournament, two of Harris' pitchers were named ABCA/Rawlings All-Central Region Team.  The 2018 Spartans squad set two new program records with an ERA of 3.58 and 292 strikeouts.

When asked about what drew him to UW-Platteville, Harris said, "Academically, the resources available to students are tremendous.  The students receive a private school education for a state-school cost."  He went on to say, "Throughout the hiring process, Director of Athletics, Shannon Ealy, built confidence with me that this is a team effort.  The administration at UW-Platteville is dedicated to seeing the athletic department continue to grow and evolve at the conference and national level which is very exciting."

Prior to coaching at Dubuque, Harris was named the inaugural head coach at AIB College of Business (NAIA) located in Des Moines, Iowa. In the two years of that program having baseball, Harris' teams won 49 games and led the Midwest Collegiate Conference (MCC) with 30 conference wins over a two year span. The 2015 and final AIB squad won the MCC title. During his two seasons at AIB, the program led NAIA baseball teams in overall team GPA (3.55) while earning the NAIA Scholar Team Award twice, saw 17 players earn all-conference/gold glove awards, had 51 players named Academic All-Conference, and had 14 players earn the NAIA Daktronics Scholar Athlete Award. Both the 2014 and 2015 AIB teams played in the MCC Tournament championship games. Harris recruited and coached both the national Rawlings Gold Glove award for centerfield recipient and a NAIA Honorable Mention All-American. AIB dropped athletics after the 2015 season. 

At Clarke University (Dubuque, Iowa), Harris transitioned a NCAA Division III program to NAIA and had the program finishing as high as second place in their fourth year in the MCC. His teams earned the NAIA Scholar Team Award in 2010 and 2011 (team G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher) highlighted with a conference leading 26 Academic All-Conference honorees over those two years. The 2011 Clarke team also had six players earn all-conference recognition.

A native of Hot Springs, Arkansas, Harris launched his collegiate coaching career as a five-year assistant coach at NCAA Division III University of the Ozarks located in Clarksville, Arkansas. During his time at Ozarks, the program saw the team's most success in more than 10 seasons, having set numerous team records, along with individual hitting and pitching records. As recruiting coordinator at Ozarks, Harris helped guide the Eagles from a four win program in 2001 to 22 wins in 2005.

Harris earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science in 2001 from the University of the Ozarks where he played collegiately for two years with the Eagles and received Academic All-Conference honors in 2000.  Prior to Ozarks, Harris pitched for the nationally ranked North Arkansas College Pioneers in Harrison, Arkansas while earning his associate's degree.

Harris went on to earn his Master of Science degree in Administrative Studies with emphasis in Sport Management from Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri in 2005.

"We are going to put a product on the field that the alums of the Pioneer baseball program will be proud of," said Harris. "Alumni, and all of those who came before us, are important as I want to encourage them to reach out to me and to be a part of our baseball program and know they are a huge piece of the Pioneer family."

Ealy stated, "We had a very strong candidate pool and I would like to thank the search and screen committee members for their commitment and hard work.  I am confident in Chad's abilities to successfully lead our baseball program and I look forward to working with him to support him and our student-athletes to ensure a first-class experience while elevating our baseball program in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference as well as nationally."

 "I am extremely honored that Chancellor Shields and Mr. Ealy have entrusted me to be the next head baseball coach at UW-Platteville," said Harris.  "Our program is going to be built around a strong work ethic, development of character, team chemistry, and an overall blue-collar mentality.  We aren't ever going to get beat because we were outworked."