Kinesology, athletics department planning student athlete program

Zach Tatar

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Athletic Director Lamel Harris is entering his third semester at San Jose City College and he is working to improve and maintain all sports programs on campus.
Harris plans to bring a formal academic program to SJCC. With this new potential program, he suggested following student athletes on an academic level by communicating with the teachers and guiding students down a road of success.
“If we get the students rooted in early, we’re going to reap success,” Harris said.
Born in Culver, Calif., and raised in San Francisco, Harris’s family moved to San Jose where he attended Pioneer High School and played for the school’s basketball team.
“I tried to recruit him to come to SJCC to play basketball for me when he was 18 years old,” said Percy Carr, head coach for men’s basketball, but Harris chose to go to West Valley. “He was a good player, good athlete, very physical and could shoot the ball.”
Harris attended Carrol College in Helena, Mont. on a basketball scholarship.
After two seasons of basketball, he focused on school and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in social work in 1998.
Harris then spent time employed in social services, where he worked with the state helping foster children.
After three years of working as a social worker, Harris wanted to go back to the game for which he was most passionate about, basketball.
“I got the itch to get back in athletics after three years of working,” Harris said. “I said that was my passion.”
He accepted a basketball assistant coaching job at California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif. After four years of coaching, Harris was offered the assistant to the athletic director position at Dominguez Hills.
“One of my mentors, who was the AD (athletic director) at the time, said he thought I was a good leader and that I should put the coaching aside,” Harris said. “That’s when I went down the administrative track.”
In 2001 Harris was offered the assistant athletic directing job at Dominguez Hills, where he learned the tools of the trade.
“From there I felt I could lead a department,” Harris said.
After six years as assistant athletic director and liaison for athletic facilities, Harris had another job offer.
He accepted an athletic directing job at College of the Sequoias, located in Visalia, Calif., in 2007.
After six years in Visalia, Harris was offered the athletic directing job at SJCC.
Carr said that Harris brought a lot of energy to the department along with a sense of togetherness.
For only 10 athletic teams, Harris said the school has had a lot of success.
“Theres a lot of good history and tradition here at City, I’m inspired to get that successful passion back,” Harris said.
His passion and experience put him in a good position as athletic director.
“He has alignment for the kinesiology program,” Carr said. “He is always keeping us informed of any changes that are going to made and put us in the right direction to follow the said changes.”
For the past 10 years, the athletic directing position has been filled with part-time sports coaches.
One advantage that Carr believes Harris has over previous directors is the fact that he has more time to dedicate to responsibilities beyond coaching.
“He’s been a blessing for us, to have a full-time person in the position he (Harris) is in,” Carr said.
From attending meetings to maintaining and providing for all sports equally, Carr said Harris can fulfill his duties more efficiently than previous directors.
With another semester in the books for Harris, he looks forward to next season and continuing the campus tradition of success in sports.
“There’s a lot of history and a good tradition,” Harris said. “I’m inspired to get that passion back to (San Jose) City.”