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Harris Gets Challenge in Arizona State Post

May 12, 1985|United Press International

TEMPE, Ariz. — Charles Harris knows he's going to be in for some long nights.

"I don't anticipate going home at 5 anytime soon," said Harris, who was named athletic director at Arizona State University last Tuesday, replacing Dick Tamburo, who resigned last March.

"What I've got to go is spend a lot of time evaluating the situation," said Harris. "I don't come with a great set of magical solutions. You don't become a winner overnight, you don't become a loser overnight, you don't get in trouble overnight."

Harris enters an athletic situation that has seen Arizona State football, baseball and track programs placed on Pacific 10 Conference probation within the past five years. In addition, the Sun Devil basketball, wrestling and men's gymnastics programs have lost scholarships and been under close scrutiny.

However, Harris believes that the image of the athletic department can be turned around.

"It serves no purpose to focus on (the past)," he told a press conference. "What we should do is move forward and capitalize on some very positive things that exist here.

"We want to put forward the kind of program that will represent the institution well. Of course, we want to win some games. We will win some games, making sure it keeps within the context of the rules."

Harris also expressed an added emphasis on academics to be placed on Sun Devil student-athletes.

"What I would like to think is that the reason for coming to college is to get a degree," he said. "That's part of us being educators. Is it easy and simple? No. Can we get it done? I would like to think so."

Harris, who will take over July 1, comes to ASU from the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been athletic director since 1979.

During that time, he helped improved the competitive successes of the Quakers from last place in the Ivy League to two consecutive overall first-place finishes in 1983 and 1984. During the 1983-84 academic year, the Quakers won nine Ivy League championships.

With the appointment, Harris becomes the first black to head a major intercollegiate athletic program.

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