When we think of the word “Star” in the world of sports, in Wisconsin we think of Aaron Rogers of the Green Bay Packers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. But there was also a “Star” in the world of sports coaching and collegiate administration in Dan Harris. Dan recently passed away and his accomplishments for over 50 years should be revered and saluted. Dan and Barbara, along with their two children, Angela and Mark, grew up in same Shorewood neighborhood that my wife, Bev, and I did. My daughter, Kari, was friends with Angela, so we knew firsthand of Dan’s character, integrity, accomplishments and what he achieved.
Dan was a soft-spoken gentleman who carried a big stick. He laid the groundwork as coach for UWM’s highly successful Men’s Soccer program and served as head coach for approximately ten years (1973-1983), compiling a record of 109-70-15. He led the Panthers to a pair of Division I NCAA tournament firsts. He is credited with the creation of the Milwaukee Cup, LeWang Cup, and the Chancellor’s Cup. His teams have been both regionally and nationally ranked, and he coached twelve future professional soccer players. Dan also served as the Athletic Director for UWM from 1983-1988 after the close of his coaching career. He completed his career in 2015 after serving as Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Director of Athletics for twenty years building an extraordinary athletic program and a point of pride for the student body at MSOE by adding seven varsity teams and winning 47 conference championships during his MSOE tenure.
Harris has received honor seven times by virtue of his inductions into athletic halls of fame, including MSOE, UWM, Concordia-Wisconsin, Nathan Hale Ray High School, the Wisconsin Soccer Association, Milwaukee Kickers, and Wisconsin Soccer Coach’s Association. His achievements are too innumerable to list in this writing.
Harris was instrumental in forming the Midwest Lacrose Conference and served as the Conference’s first Commissioner.
Dan acted as an informal advisor for a group of Milwaukee investors who were trying to bring Major League Soccer to Milwaukee in 2005.
Dan Harris was a gentleman’s gentleman and a revered “Star” whose name will forever live on in Wisconsin Athletics. May he rest in peace and may his memory always be a blessing.