Bruce Harrison, the 2012 Big South Coach of the Year, is entering his 10th season as the head women’s tennis coach at Radford University.
The 2011-12 Radford women's tennis team enjoyed one of its most successful seasons since 1990, concluding the season with a 17-7 mark and a trip to the Big South Tournament semifinals. In addition to Harrison's best record since taking over the program, a number of accolades came his program's way - Petra Dajevic was named to the Big South's All-Academic Team, Taylor Newman earned ITA Scholar Athlete Honors, freshmen Hannah Crawford (twice) and Gemma Valls earned Freshman of the Week honors in the Big South, and Mia Drobnjak and Dajevic turned in Player of the Week performances.
Along with success on the court, Harrison's program is also defined by off-court recognition. Academically, Harrison's teams and players have stood out. The cumulative program GPA on a yearly basis has been tops among all RU teams and in 2006, Harrison's Highlanders earned team ITA academic honors. Former player Cassandra Price was an Academic All-America pick in 2008, while both Price (2008) and Ally Spector (2009) earned the Big South's prestegious Christenberry Award for academic achievement. His teams have earned the Big South's Team Sportsmanship Award three times, including 2012, which is an honor voted on by league's student-athletes.
In addition to his decade of work with the women's tennis program, much of Harrison's collegiate coaching experience has been with Radford University and its tennis programs. Harrison led the men’s tennis program from 1990-96 before taking the head job at the Virginia Military Institute, where he coached for five years.
Harrison's time with the women's tennis program has produced plenty of highlights.
The Highlanders finished 2010 with an overall record 13-7 and 3-4 in the Big South. This marks the first season over 12 victories since 1995 (14-6). Radford went on a nine-match winning streak, including going undefeated in March. Radford had impressive wins over Appalachian State (7-0), Longwood (6-1) and George Mason (5-2). In 2009, the Highlanders recorded a 12-10 overall record and 2-5 in the Big South. They had a stretch in the month of March where they won seven straight matches. They defeated in-state foe George Mason and Big East opponents Connecticut and Seton Hall. The 2008 season saw the Highlanders finish with a 9-11 overall record and 1-5 mark in the Big South. They had impressive wins over in-state rival James Madison and on the road against Lehigh. In 2007, the Highlanders posted an 11-10 overall record. It was their first time over .500 and the most victories since the 1993 season (11-8). They also posted road wins over in-state rivals James Madison and George Mason.
During his time at VMI, he earned the Athletic Director Coaching Award for his outstanding recruiting at VMI in 2000. In 1998, he was the tournament director of the Division III Women’s National Tournament.
In his first go-around at Radford, he took a men’s team that won just one match in 1990 and turned them around completely. He compiled a 77-59 record in six years at the helm. His 1991 team finished 18-10 and fifth in the Big South. Just a year later, he was named 1992 Big South Co-Coach of the Year. The 1993 season saw his team post what was the most wins in school history when the Highlanders finished 19-7.
He was also responsible for recruiting Radford’s first nationally ranked Division I tennis player and the No. 1 ranked junior players from Morocco and Bangladesh. In 1995, he was the director of the Big South Tournament.
Before his collegiate coaching career, Harrison spent time as head tennis professional at the Sports Racket in Lynchburg, Va. from 1986-89. Prior to that, he was the assistant professional at Hidden Valley Country Club in Roanoke in 1985-86.
He has also worked as a visiting pro with Van De Meer Tennis Center’s World Class Program and the Moroccan Tennis Federation in Casablanca. During that time, he worked with many nationally and world ranked players.
Harrison graduated from Emory and Henry University in 1985 with a degree in business management and economics. Harrison only lost two matches in his first two years of college play. He graduated from Emory and Henry as the top seeded player with a career record of 68-15.
He currently resides in Radford.