Bucknell University
Athletics Coaching Staff
Kelly Harris
Student-Athlete Development Assistant

Kelly Harris enters her fourth year at Bucknell University in the Department of Athletics for the 2016-17 season in the newly created role of Student-Athlete Development Assistant. Supporting Lauren Wicklund and the Bucknell Athletics Leadership Institute, Harris helps to develop various areas of the program while also working to improve academic enhancement and student services within the department. 

Harris is no stranger to Bucknell, as she spent the previous three years as an assistant coach with the Bison women's rowing program. In the spring of 2016, Harris led the Second Varsity 8+ to the program’s first Patriot League Championship gold medal since 2011. 

With 23 years of diverse involvement in the sport as a former Division I scholar-athlete along with Division I and Division III assistant and head coaching experience, Harris’ primary role provided invaluable leadership, support and assistance to seven-time Patriot League Champion head coach Stephen Kish regarding all aspects of developing the top end speed in the program. 

“Kelly is a very strong role model for the young athletes on our team,” Kish said. “We were fortunate to have her on staff not only because of the example she sets, but because of her intense drive to help build positive, women-warriors who are ready to tackle any challenge in life.” 

In the 2014-15 campaign at Bucknell, Harris led the first-year program for recruited and novice scholar-athletes with a focus on both retention and success on the water and in the classroom.  Harris developed and implemented the coxswain leadership development program and coordinated all team travel.  Program highlights included first-ever wins for the Varsity 8+ against Dartmouth, Tennessee and Minnesota, as well as four Dad Vail silver medals and a runner-up team finish at the Patriot League Championships.

Harris spent her first season on the Bison staff in the fall of 2013 providing support throughout the novice program, before temporarily moving on to the University of Louisville to serve as an interim assistant for the 2014 spring season. 

While at Louisville, Harris led the novice program while assisting head coach Derek Copeland with the varsity crews in their postseason. Louisville’s Novice 8+ posted a first-time win for the program over No. 1 Ohio State in the regular season, in addition to defeating other established programs such as Indiana, Notre Dame, and Cornell. Harris helped the Cardinals reach a record-breaking season, sweeping all events at the first American Athletic Conference Championship and winning their first team title. This catapulted the team to their first appearance at the 2014 NCAA DI Women’s Rowing Championships, where the team finished 17th overall.

Prior to her initial arrival at Bucknell in the summer of 2013, Harris served as the head women’s rowing coach at Marietta College for six years. Under the leadership of Harris, the 2011 and 2012 spring seasons proved to be Marietta’s most successful to date, with many program firsts to highlight. The varsity eight won back-to-back Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference (MARC) Championships, placing it as the top boat in the conference. The win in 2011 afforded the crew its first bid in 12 years to the NCAA DIII National Rowing Championships held in Sacramento, Calif. (Marietta College attended the championship in 1999 before the split of divisions occurred in 2002).  In 2012, the team won its first championship at the MARC, and a first-ever team bid (Varsity 8+ and 2nd Varsity 8+) to the NCAA Championships, where the Varsity 8+ finished fifth in the nation and the team finished sixth overall. 

The Marietta women also won back-to-back gold medals at the 2011 and 2012 Dad Vail Regatta in the DIII Varsity 8+ event. Harris saw two of her rowers named to the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) Pocock All-America team, one of which was a two-time first team selection. Eighteen CRCA National Scholar-Athlete titles were awarded from 2007-2013 while Harris led the Pioneers. Harris was named three-time Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference Coach of the Year in 2010, 2011, and 2012. She developed the Pioneers’ team motto of O.A.R.S., which stands for Ownership, Accountability, Responsibility and Self-integrity, the qualities the women strive to demonstrate in their daily lives, on the water, and in the classroom.

Prior to Marietta, Harris spent two years at Marist College, a Division I rowing program, in Poughkeepsie, New York, where she oversaw all aspects of the freshman and varsity programs. The two-time Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Coach of the Year led the Red Foxes to back-to-back MAAC championships in 2006 and 2007. Marist's Varsity Lightweight 8+ and Varsity 4+ finished runners-up at the 2006 ECAC Metro Regatta.

Harris began her full-time coaching career as the assistant men’s and women’s rowing coach at Vassar College from 2002-2005, following a one year assistantship at her alma mater in New Hampshire. Under her direction, the Brewer women's Freshmen 8+ placed fifth at the 2005 N.Y. State Championships, the highest ranking at the event in Vassar history. In her first season at Vassar, Harris also led the women’s Second Varsity 8+ to its first-ever qualification and a 10th-place finish in the 2003 ECAC Collegiate Championships.

Harris also coached two seasons of scholastic rowing at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, upon completing her undergraduate degree. This opportunity afforded Harris the invitation to become the first Director of the Rowing Program for the Phillips Exeter Academy Summer School in its inaugural year in 2003, while also serving as an Associate Dean until 2013. 

A 2001 graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Harris was a four-year member and two-year co-captain of the team.  During her rowing career at UNH, Harris rowed to a gold medal in the Varsity 8+ at the 1999 New England Championships and helped UNH win the Women's Points Trophy at the ECAC’s that same year. 

Harris was selected to participate in the 2001 East Coast Lightweight National Team Development Camp at Riverside Boat Club in Boston, Massachusetts, winning gold in the Intermediate LW4x and the Intermediate LW2x with partner Hannah Moore-Godfrey at the 2001 USRowing Club Nationals. In 2000, Harris attended the Mid-West Lightweight Development Camp at the University of Wisconsin where she partnered with now Wisconsin Lightweight Women’s Head Coach, Dusty Darley-Mattison, in the LW2x. At the world-renowned CRASH-B Indoor Rowing Championships in 2001, Harris won the bronze medal in the collegiate lightweight category. She was also named an All-American Athlete in 2001 by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

A 1997 graduate of F.D. Roosevelt High School in Hyde Park, New York, Harris got her start in the sport as a coxswain in eighth grade. She coxed for three years before beginning to row her junior year at FDR under the leadership of Coach Mike Vertullo, where she won the bronze medal in the Junior 8+ event at the Stotesbury Cup Regatta in Philadelphia.

In addition to her passion for the sport of rowing and growing female leaders, Harris is an accomplished ultramarathon distance runner.  Harris placed eighth among all USATF female finishers in a time of 8:13:46 at her first 50-miler at the Tussey Mountainback Ultra in October 2016. 

Position: Student-Athlete Development Assistant
Alma Mater: New Hampshire '01
Email: kah036@bucknell.edu

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