Dan Harris joined the athletic department of Baker University in 1983 as head baseball coach and assistant football coach. Prior to Baker, Coach Harris graduated from North Kansas City High School and then from William Jewell College where he was a member of the Cardinal’s only undefeated football team in 1967. In 1975 he earned a Master’s degree in Education from Drury College. His coaching career began at the high school level at Moberly, Missouri with Charlie Richard. Dan continued coaching at several high schools in Missouri before serving as a graduate assistant in football and as assistant wrestling coach at Central Missouri State University-Warrensburg. Following that coaching experience, he taught and coached at Grandview High School from 1976-1983, and in 1983 he rejoined fellow Jewell graduate Charlie Richard at Baker University.
Coach Harris was a teaching coach and encouraged all of his outstanding football linemen to develop solid technique that provided the offensive backbone for the formation of a near dynasty for the football program during the early 1980’s to mid 1990’s. During that era, the Wildcats went to 11 straight NAIA playoffs. In 1991 he served as the head football coach going 6-2-1 and won the HAAC Championship. Many of his players in both football and baseball went on to receive designation as All-Conference, All-District and All-American NAIA athletes. His 1992 baseball team still holds the school record for win/loss percentage with a 35-10 record for a 77.8% mark. That team recorded a conference and district championship and a 3rd place finish in the Area IV NAIA Baseball Tournament. Coach Harris was twice named the HAAC Baseball Coach of the Year and was the 1992 District 10 Coach of the Year.
When Coach Charlie Richard passed away in 1994, Dan Harris was named Director of Athletics and Chair of the Department of Physical Education and Health. During his tenure as A.D. five new sports were added to Baker’s already impressive list of competitive sports. Additionally, over $6.2 million were spent on improvements and substantial additions to the athletic plant including a new artificial turf surface for Liston Stadium along with a new polyurethane 8-lane track. Dan supervised the construction of the Sauder Baseball Field and the Cavaness Softball Field. He has received numerous honors/awards and accolades for his work in athletic coaching and administration including in 2002 being named the NAIA National Athletic Director of the Year and in 2007 he was inducted into the NAIA Hall-of-Fame. He was twice named the NACDA Athletic Director of the Year in 2003 and 2009.
He is married to Dr. Peggy Harris, Dean of the School of Education at Baker. Together they have two sons, Jay and Kit who are both graduates of Baker, and six grandchildren. In retirement he has continued teaching at both Baker and at the University of Kansas along with a teaching assignment at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England.