Promoted from special assistant to full-time director position
Colgate has promoted Harlis Meaders to the permanent position of director of track and field and cross country.
Raiders Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Nicki Moore named Meaders to the special assistant and interim position last October and then liked what she saw over the course of the indoor season. Colgate was not able to complete the 2020 outdoor track and field season because of the nationwide COVID-19 shutdown, but Moore already had witnessed enough to promote the longtime track and field professional.
“As a former track and field student-athlete, I know it’s a beautiful and an important sport,” Moore said. “It brings people together from all backgrounds and has such a diversity of events, talent and people. It affords the opportunity for individuals to excel at the highest level and to also be a part of a team, striving for excellence.”
Moore chose Meaders last fall when she was faced with the dilemma of losing her previous head coach at an unusual time in the academic calendar.
“I reached out to Coach Meaders, a former colleague whose insight I valued. I thought, maybe in the back of my mind, I might be able to convince him to come and lead our program at least on an interim basis,” Moore said. “And sure enough, we managed to work through the details and he agreed to come and provide that leadership, even though this was quite a different type of institution than he had been a part of before in quite a different region of the country.”
“We needed stability and we needed someone who I knew could lead in all kinds of situations, someone who I knew I could trust implicitly. And so the coach who we are announcing today has been with us actually since last fall.”
Moore calls Meaders incredibly experienced, having served at four different universities. He has graduated top scholar-athletes throughout his career and coached 57 NCAA All-Americans while also serving on the USA coaching staff at the World University Games.
“This coach knows how to coach; he knows how to lead,” Moore said. “He knows how to care about student-athletes. He embodies our virtues of thoughtful, driven, cohesive, enthusiastic and bold. I am thrilled to announce him as our new director and head coach of track and field and cross-country.”
Much Accomplished in Shortened Season
Meaders in his first season, along with his staff, helped Warren Carter to a record-setting senior year. On his way to Colgate Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors, Carter lowered the program record in the 60-meter hurdles several times during indoor season.
The senior captain went on to finish second at the Patriot League Championships, marking Colgate’s highest finish in any event since 2013. Carter plans to attend medical school this fall after posting a 3.92 GPA for his final semester in molecular biology.
Meaders now earns the chance to continue building the Colgate programs.
“This is the accumulation of over 20 years of being in the sport and having the opportunity to work at fantastic universities under exceptional leadership,” Meaders said. “Nicki’s leadership and the leadership of President Casey were two of the reasons I really chose to return to Colgate. It is a fantastic institution, and I’ve really grown to love the village and love the kids that make up the student body.”
Meaders called his Colgate student-athletes exceptionally talented, driven and motivated to represent the university at the highest level. He also expects them to help elevate the cross-country and track and field programs.
“I truly believe Colgate University has the structure to be an exceptional track and field program, that we can compete at the highest level,” Meaders said. “That’s going to take the continued support of our president, the department and our alumni.
“I’m excited to meet the alumni and excited to get back to Hamilton and embrace our kids as soon as it’s safe to do so. I’m also excited to lend my voice in any way that I can supporting the university as we go through meeting the challenges that we have, whether that’s coronavirus or the social things that are going on in this community and in our nation.”
Tradition of Coaching Excellence
Meaders (pronounced MED-ers) arrived at Colgate last October after seven years as head coach and director of track and field and cross country at the University of North Carolina. In 28 years of collegiate coaching, Meaders has coached 57 All-Americans, 49 ACC Individual Champions, three NCAA Individual Champions, an Olympian and a Rhodes Scholar. He has been a part of 17 league championship teams and three NCAA championship teams in his coaching career.
Meaders returned to coach at his alma mater, UNC, in 2012 after an 18-year stint at Florida State. While with the Seminoles, Meaders rose to the program’s associate head coach in 2004 while coaching the throwers and coordinating recruiting operations.
Among Meaders’ coaching awards through the years are 2019 USATF World University Games Throws Coach, 2014 Southeast Coach of the Year and 2005 Regional Assistant Coach of the Year. He was an integral part of the coaching staffs for NCAA championship teams in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and contributed to 16 ACC title-winning teams.
Meaders is a 1992 UNC graduate in speech communications who competed in the discus, shot put and 35-pound weight throw. He won back-to-back ACC outdoor titles in the discus in 1991 and 1992 as well as an indoor conference crown in the weight throw in 1992.
Meaders was a high school All-American who became an NCAA and Olympic Trials qualifier with the Tar Heels. He set the school record in discus with a throw of 186-10 (56.95 meters), a mark that stood for 23 years and now ranks second on the UNC all-time list. Meaders also was a captain on the 1992 track and field team that won the ACC outdoor title.
The Monroe, North Carolina, native began his coaching career at Western Carolina, where he spent three years as an assistant coach and earned his master’s degree in physical education. While in Cullowhee, Meaders also instructed courses in the physical education department. He coached several Western Carolina track and field athletes to multiple Southern Conference individual titles.
In 2005, Meaders was named the East Regional Assistant Coach of the Year for his success with the Seminoles throwing corps.
Meaders and his wife, Judith, are the parents of sons Ryan and Jeremy, along with many of the kids he has coached over the years who he considers a part of his family.