Track and Field Coaching Staff
David Harris
Coach Info:
Position: Distance
Alma Mater: Northeast Missouri State University
Graduating Year: 1978

Coaching Honors

  • Four First-Team All-Americans
  • Four Big Ten Champions
  • 11-time MIAA Coach of the Year
  • Coached 10 Conference Championship Teams
  • Coached 21 Runner-Up Teams
  • USTFCCCA Jimmy Carnes Distinguished Service Award
  • USTFCCA President
  • Division II Executive Council Chairman

David Harris is in his eighth season as the Huskers’ distance and middle distance coach in 2019. He is also Nebraska’s cross country head coach. With Harris guiding the Huskers, 46 NU top-10 times have been achieved in his seven years at Nebraska, including school records in the women’s indoor 3,000m (Ashley Miller in 2012) and the women’s distance medley relay (2012).

Additionally, Harris’ athletes have won four Big Ten individual titles since 2012, and the 2012 distance medley relay squad earned first-team All-America honors with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Miller, who was part of that DMR squad, was also a second-team All-American in the outdoor 1,500 meters.

During the 2018 cross country season, George Kusche, Mark Freyhof and Erika Freyhof were all named to the USTFCCCA All-Region team after finishing fourth, 10th and 11th, respectively at the NCAA Midwest Regional. Kusche automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships with his finish and Mark Freyhof received an at-large bid. Kusche placed 55th, while Mark Freyhof placed 103rd at the NCAA Championships. Kusche’s finish was the best finish by a Nebraska male runner since 1997. Kusche also claimed the title of Big Ten Freshman of the Year and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors after finishing third at the Big Ten Championships. His finish at the Big Ten meet was the best finish ever by a Husker at the Big Ten Championships.

In 2017, Wyatt McGuire moved to No. 5 on the indoor 3,000m and outdoor 10,000m charts. He took third at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in the 10,000m, the best conference finish by a Husker male in the race since 2002. McGuire went on to finish 10th at the 2017 Big Ten Cross Country Championships, the highest ever finish by a Husker at the Big Ten meet. For the women, three Huskers cracked the all-time top 10 in the 3,000m steeplechase.

Harris helped guide Anna Peer to a breakout season as a sophomore in 2015, as she ran a personal-best 34:10.58 in the 10,000m to win the Mt. SAC Relays and move to No. 3 all-time in NU outdoor history. Peer also cracked the all-time outdoor top 10 in the 3,000m, winning the Musco Twilight title in 9:40.18. She also moved to No. 10 in the 5,000m with a time of 16:35.34 at the Pac-12 vs. Big Ten Invitational. Shawnice Williams closed out her Husker career with a runner-up finish in the 800m at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships and a third-place 600m finish at the indoor meet.

In 2014, the Husker men’s DMR team posted a time of 9:32.85, the second-best oversized mark in school history. It came one season after the 2013 DMR squad set a school record for an oversized track with a time of 9:31.71 at the Alex Wilson Invitational, better than any DMR run in school history.

Harris also guided the Huskers to more success in 2013. He coached Shawnice Williams and 3,000m steeplechase specialist Jessica Furlan to honorable-mention All-America awards at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Furlan posted a personal-best time of 9:58.52 in the event at the Mt. SAC Relays to cement her spot at No. 2 on the all-time list at Nebraska. Furlan also won the indoor 3,000m title at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. Williams finished second in the 600m at the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships. She advanced to the 2013 NCAA Championships with a personal-best time of 2:05.26 in the 800m at the preliminary round in Austin, Texas.

In 2012, Harris coached the women’s indoor distance medley relay team to a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Boise, Idaho, posting a record time of 11:09.83 for first-team All-America honors. Harris also guided Ashley Miller to a stellar senior season, as she earned second-team All-America honors in the 1,500m at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championship and finished with a personal-best time in the event. Miller also earned three conference titles in 2012, finishing first in the outdoor 800m, the outdoor 1,500m and the indoor 3,000m. She also etched her name into the Husker record books with her time of 9:17.28 in the indoor 3,000m, a school record. In addition, she won the 1,500m and broke the meet record at the Drake Relays in 2012. Later in the summer of 2012, Miller represented Nebraska at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, where she competed in the semifinals in the 800m and 1,500m.

Harris has strong ties to Nebraska, as he coached NU’s middle distance runners and the men’s sprinters and hurdlers for seven years before becoming the head cross country and track and field coach at Emporia State in 1992. In his first stint at Nebraska, Harris coached many student-athletes to records that still stand including the women’s outdoor 800m (Sharon Powell), the men’s outdoor 400m (Ken Waller), the 1,000m (Dieudonne Kwizera), the 400m hurdles (Mark Jackson) and the men’s 4x400m relay.

As the Hornets’ head coach for 19 years, Harris was named MIAA Coach of the Year 11 times and brought Emporia State to the top of the Division II ranks, as the men’s squad finished fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2011. Emporia State won 10 MIAA team championships under Harris and had 20 runner-up finishes. In 1999 he became only the third coach to lead both the men’s and women’s teams to MIAA outdoor titles in the same season. The ESU women earned the school’s first top-four finish nationally with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Emporia in 1999. It was the second of three national championship meets at Witten Track/Welch Stadium held under Harris’ leadership.

One of the most respected coaches in the track and field community, Harris was the first non-Division I president in the history of the USTFCCCA. The leadership and direction of Harris was essential in bringing the NCAA Outdoor Championships to the Flint Hills in 1995, 1999 and again in 2006. Harris has served in numerous leadership roles within the USTFCCCA and has earned two prestigious awards. He was named the 2001 USTCA Women’s NCAA Division II National Outdoor Coach of the Year and was most recently awarded the Jimmy Carnes Distinguished Service Award by the USTFCCCA. He is the former Division II Executive Council Chairman and was the first non-Division I President of the USTFCCCA, serving in that role from 2005-06 and leading the association through its reorganization in 2005.

Harris received his bachelor’s degree in physical education/social science and a master’s degree in athletic administration from Truman State, formerly Northeast Missouri State University. At TSU, he was a four-year letterwinner in cross country and track and field and captained the track team for two years. After college, Harris joined the elite section of the St. Louis Track Club sponsored by adidas. From 1979 to 1981 he ran seven marathons with a personal-best of 2:19.54 in New Orleans. At the 1979 Boston Marathon, he qualified for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials with a time of 2:20.46. Harris retired from competitive road racing in 1981 to concentrate fully on coaching.

Harris is married to the former Kathy Bechhold, and the couple have two sons, John-David and Jared.