Throw another big name in Kansas Athletics history behind KU alum Mike Harrity as a candidate for the Jayhawks’ open athletic director job.
KU basketball legend Danny Manning, who, himself, has expressed interest in KU’s vacant AD position, has now thrown his support behind Army’s Deputy AD/Chief Operating Officer.
Harrity, you may remember, received a similar endorsement from former KU football coach Mark Mangino last week.
“KU needs a Jayhawk as the new AD who has an elite level of broad experience in college athletics,” Manning tweeted on Turesday. “Mike Harrity is what WE need.”
Manning continued: “As an alum, Mike shares the same pas-sion and will invest the energy to restore Kansas Athletics to what it needs to be – humble/hungry as we strive for excel-lence in all that we do.”
Harrity grew up in Kansas City, Kan., and earned a journalism scholarship to KU, where he became the first person in his entire extended family to graduate from college.
After graduating, Harrity worked in KU’s athletic department for a handful of years and was responsible for developing, co-ordinating and executing the Kansas Athletics staff’s commu-nity involvement, outreach and relationship-building while also heading up relationship-building and outreach to former stu-dent-athletes who have achieved success in professional ath-letics and business. After leaving Kansas, Harrity spent several years as an Asso-ciate AD at Notre Dame, where he started in 2011.
In 2017, Harrity was selected as one of 25 senior-level athlet-ics administrators from across the country to participate in the NCAA Pathway Program.
The year-long program is designed to prepare those currently in senior-level positions to gain insight into every facet of an athletic department, preparing them to become well-rounded leaders who are equipped with the tools an effective athletic director needs.
Hired by Army in February of 2020, Harrity currently oversees several of the day-to-day functions Army’s athletic department, including all external units — fundraising/development, ticket-ing and strategic communication, which includes Army’s ath-letic communications, marketing and fan engagement en-deavors, digital and social strategies and creative video and broadcasting.
He also has been involved with Army’s plans to embark upon a major capital campaign to enhance Michie Stadium and as-sisted with the administration oversight for Army Football in addition to serving as a sport administrator for other varsity sports teams.
Throughout his career, Harrity has worked in college athletics programs in the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and Patriot League.
Here's a quick look at some of the latest chatter I've heard about KU's AD search:
• The Journal-World has learned that well-known search firm, TurnkeyZRG, will assist Kansas in its search for a new athletic director.
• Multiple sources have told me the process is moving fast — perhaps even faster than expected — and that KU Chancellor Douglas Girod's March 10 timeline of making a hire "within the next few weeks" is still in play.
• As of last Sunday, it was still too early to consider any candidate the leader.
• A couple of names worth adding to our original list include: Travis Goff, Deputy AD at Northwestern; Missy Conboy, Senior Deputy AD at Notre Dame; Mike Bohn, a KU graduate who is now the AD at USC; and Mark Alnutt, the current AD at Buffalo.
The last time KU had an opening for an athletic director, I received a handful of calls from a few former KU football players touting Mike Harrity, then at Notre Dame, as a guy that Kansas should consider.
Today, with that job open once again, the man who coached a lot of those players who called me is throwing his support behind Harrity, who is now a Deputy AD and COO at Army.
Former KU football coach Mark Mangino took to Twitter on Thursday afternoon to offer up what he dubbed, “My 2 cents” about Harrity.
“KU should approach Army Deputy Ath. Director/COO, Mike Harrity for their AD position,” wrote Mangino. “Mike is a KU grad. He worked in Ath. Administration there as well as Notre Dame. He’s smart, hardworking & well liked. He was my go to guy as HC. #cantmiss.”
According to his bio, Harrity currently leads Army’s daily operations in the areas of Sports Performance (sports medicine, strength and conditioning, and performance nutrition), Strategic Communication (athletic communications, digital and social strategies, creative and video services, and broadcasting) and Licensing and Branding.
Hired in February of 2020, he also has helped oversee the Development area, as Army West Point Athletics has embarked on a major capital campaign, and assisted with the administration oversight for Army Football in addition to serving as a sport administrator for other varsity sport teams.
His connection to Army Football and Army coach Jeff Monken, who has been named on several lists as a potential successor to Les Miles at KU, no doubt would intrigue Kansas fans. Whether Harrity could deliver Monken — or if Monken would even be interested in the job — remain unknowns at this point.
Harrity grew up in Kansas City, Kan., and earned a journalism scholarship to The University of Kansas, where he was the first person in his entire extended family to graduate from college.
Full disclosure: Harrity and I were classmates at the J School, which puts him somewhere around the age of 42, and I remember him being very well liked by everybody he came in contact with.
In addition to his time at KU, Harrity also earned a Master's degree in Education and served in athletics department roles at the University of Minnesota and The University of Kansas before joining the University Notre Dame in December 2011.
At KU, Harrity was responsible for developing, coordinating and executing the Kansas Athletics staff’s community involvement, outreach and relationship-building while also heading up relationship-building and outreach to former student-athletes who have achieved success in professional athletics and business.
Prior to that, Harrity served as an Associate AD for marketing, revenue development and game-day experience, where he worked with KU’s sales, marketing, promotions and game-day experience departments. Harrity also worked KU’s Assistant AD for student-athlete development and community relations from 2004-10.
A few years back, I talked with Harrity about one of his crowning achievements outside of a college athletic department, his 2012 book titled “Coaching Wisdom,” in which he solicited the help of 13 college coaches who had won a combined 103 championships — including Lou Holtz and John Wooden — to examine the creation of cultures of sustained excellence.
The book is definitely worth checking out. And Harrity might be, as well.
His young age and limited experience with hiring coaches are certainly obstacles that could be tough to overcome. And he's probably a long shot to get involved. But even though it's been more than a decade since Mangino left town, his words still mean a lot to the KU fan base, so it's worth passing along.