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CHARLOTTE -- One of the legends of North Carolina high school athletics has passed away.
Dave Harris of Charlotte died on Tuesday after a period of declining health, just a few days short of his 86th birthday. A graduate of Statesville High School and then of Wake Forest University in 1946, where he played in the first Gator Bowl, Harris is one of only three members of the NCHSAA Hall of Fame's charter class in 1987.
The funeral is scheduled for Friday, July 16, at the First Baptist Church at 301 South Davidson Street in Charlotte, starting at 11 am with a reception to follow.
An outstanding coach and athletic director, he coached at Thomasboro High School in Charlotte for one year after earning his masters' degree at Appalachian State, and then embarked on a highly successful 20-year career as head football coach and athletic director at Harding High in Charlotte. Then from 1967 until 1990 he served as the athletic director for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system, where he was considered one of the state's best athletic directors. The NCHSAA award for Athletic Director of the Year is named in his honor.
Harris coached in the North Carolina Coaches' Association East-West all-star football game and also served as head coach of the North Carolina Shrine Bowl team in 1956. For many years he also served the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas as its athletic director.
A past president of both the North Carolina Coaches Association and the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association, Harris was the NCADA Athletic Director of the Year in 1977. He was a member of the NCHSAA Board of Directors from 1977 to '81.
Harris was selected as a member of the charter class of the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association Hall of Fame and is in the Wake Forest University Hall of Fame.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the NCHSAA Endowment Fund, Box 3216, Chapel Hill, NC 27515. Other opportunities include First Baptist Church Charlotte, Phil Hughston Scholarship Fund, 301 South Davidson Street, Charlotte, NC 28231; to Shriner's Hospitals for Children, 950 West Faris Rd., Greenville, South Carolina 29605; or to David A. Harris, Jr. Athletic Endowment Fund, Wake Forest University Athletic Department, 499 Deacon Blvd., Winston-Salem, NC 27105.