Dennis "Coach" Harris grew up in the Harvard-Lee neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, in the 1960s and attended John F. Kennedy High School. When he was younger, he was involved in track and field, and football.
After high school, Dennis was fortunate (and determined enough) to play football for the legendary Woody Hayes at Ohio State University. Dennis attended college there in the late 1970s and later graduated in 1980 with a bachelor of arts degree in history. Under the tutelage of Hayes, he further learned to appreciate the values his parents instilled in him when he was younger.
As it turns out, Case Western Reserve University was the place where Coach Harris decided to apply what he had learned. He currently works as the Director of Youth Programs and Nursing Community Outreach for the university. In 1996 when he took over the youth program here, he also started working as the administrator of NYSP and the state coordinator of each program in Ohio. Within his first few years here, he added an educational component to the program so that campers could participate in sports, as well as classes taught by qualified instructors. In his time here, he has coached both the track and field team and served as an assistant on the football squad.
On the state and national level, Coach Harris has been instrumental in the growth of other programs. He has become somewhat of a regular on Capitol Hill, pushing for government funding of the NYSP, which was cut at the federal level. Also, Coach works to jumpstart other programs at other universities in Ohio and around the country. Each year, he continues to build upon the youth program that has been hosted at Case Western Reserve University for the past 45 years.
Learn more about Coach Harris in Coach Teaches His Love for People.