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September 2020
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College AD Podcast: A New GameDay with host Cody Junot interviewing Austin Peay AD Gerald Harrison












Gerald Harrison Austin Peay Athletic Director (17:48)

APSU President Dr. Alisa White introduced Gerald Harrison as Austin Peay State University’s 14th athletics director, July 30, 2018.

Gerald Harrison

Harrison obtained his bachelor’s degree from Tennessee in 2001. Professionally, he is a member of the National Association of College Directors of Athletics, 1A Athletics Director Institute, Duke/Fuqua Leadership Academy and the American Football Coaches Association.

Harrison is married to the former Lisa Addison, a former Austin Peay track and field standout.

Milestone achievements in the classroom, in competition and in fundraising filled Harrison’s first season at Austin Peay. By the time his one-year anniversary arrived in 2019, the Governors enjoyed their best-ever finish in the Ohio Valley Conference’s Commissioners Cup, earned a department-record 3.15 grade-point average and raised a record $3 million through fundraising and corporate sponsorships.

The Governors strong showing in the OVC Commissioner’s Cup included its regular-season championship volleyball and women’s tennis programs. In addition, the Governors baseball team and women’s outdoor track and field teams each posted Top 3 regular-season finishes. Austin Peay also saw Top 5 finishes from men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s golf, softball, women’s indoor track and field and women’s golf.

Those successes carried over into the classroom with the Governors surpassing a 3.0 GPA in both the fall and spring, running its streak of such semesters to a record four straight. Austin Peay also saw record numbers of student-athletes recognized on both the OVC Academic Medal of Honor (32) and OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll (126). Nationally, three Govs student-athletes earned CoSIDA Academic All-American recognition.

Harrison then announced a record fundraising year for Governors athletics. The department generated $2.5 million through its annual giving platforms while the partnership with Peak Sports Management resulted in a record-breaking $1.0 million in asset acquisitions. Harrison also has turned an eye to future fundraising performance with the creation of the Monocle Society to recognize overall giving by Austin Peay donors.

Harrison arrived at Austin Peay after spending 10 years in Durham, North Carolina at Duke University, serving in various capacities. He arrived as the Assistant Director of Athletics for Football Development, which coincided with head coach David Cutcliffe’s arrival at Duke and the Blue Devils ascent from perennial ACC doormat to perennial bowl participant. After not earning a bowl bid since 1994, the Blue Devils broke through with five appearances in six seasons, including a 10-win campaign in 2013 that resulted in Cutcliffe earning the second of back-to-back ACC Coach of the Year honors and myriad National Coach of the Year awards.

By then, Harrison had advanced to the role of Associate Director of Athletics for Human Resources, although he maintained direct sport oversight for football while adding fencing and myriad inner-department staffs including sports medicine, equipment and strength and conditioning. During this time, he spearheaded a major reorganization of staff contracts, including a two-way binding clause for multi-year deals and was part of the Executive Budget Committee.

In addition to budgetary work, Harrison fostered an inclusive environment at Duke, increasing the number or women and minorities in University athletics administration by nearly 20 percent during this time. That earned him Duke’s Diversion Equity and Inclusion Award in Fall 2012. He also served as a member of the ACC’s Conference Committee on Equity.

From 2013 until his departure for Austin Peay, Harrison served as the Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Internal Affairs at Duke. In that role he served as a member of the Director of Athletics’ Executive Leadership team responsible for the oversight of human resources, professional development, equipment, maintaining oversight of football and fencing and the Integrative Performance Excellence Initiative, encompassing a wide array of departments from sports performance to athlete mental health to better serve Duke athletes.

During this stretch, Harrison helped seek and secure funding, planning, design and construction for a multi-year, $100-million renovation project to Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium, which completed its latest phase to the fan amenities area in 2017. He also created the Director of Football Marketing position to increase revenue associated with Duke football and continued his work in the diversity realm by introducing the Open Door Initiative in 2013, giving minority college students a chance to intern at Duke for eight weeks during the summer.

As Duke’s long-time liaison for fencing during his tenure, Harrison served as a member and Chair of the NCAA Fencing Committee and was Chairman of the ACC Fencing Committee upon his departure. On campus, he also served as a member of the Duke Employees’ Retirement Plan Board, managing the pension plan of all Duke employees.

Prior to Duke, Harrison was an integral member of the Tennessee football program during the latter days of College Football Hall of Famer and current Tennessee athletics director Phillip Fulmer’s tenure as head coach. From 2001-04, he served as Director of Community Relations for the Vols, enhancing the student-athletes’ presence in the community through service projects and educational programs; his Go V.O.L.S. (Volunteering Outstanding Leadership and Service) program resulted in over 1,200 hours community service in 2003 and 2004.

From 2005-07, Harrison was Director of High School Relations for the Vols, managing an annual budget of $1 million to provide support to each member of the football coaching staff pertaining to their recruiting efforts. In this role, he implemented cutting-edge recruiting practices involving city, campus and athletic leaders, yielding top-15 recruiting classes each year and increasing participants and revenue to the Phillip Fulmer Football Camps by 15 percent each year.




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