Director of Athletics Don Harnum
Under Don Harnum’s guidance over the last 11 years, the Rider department of athletics has achieved unparalleled growth in facility enhancements supported by fundraising efforts, in student-athlete leadership initiatives, and in success on the playing field and in the classroom.
One of his first charges was to restructure the athletic administrative staff to improve role definition, productivity, staff versatility and development. Harnum was also tasked with strengthening the competitive culture amongst the Rider coaching staff and has done so by improving facilities, enhancing resources and by hiring several new head coaches who have gone on to earn coach of the year honors on the conference level.
Since Harnum took over in 2005, Rider has won 18 conference championships and nine regular season conference titles while producing eight All-Americans and five Academic All-Americans.
In the classroom Rider student-athletes are now compiling the highest grade point averages in the University’s history of varsity athletics, in large part due to the recruiting efforts and support of the coaching staff as well as the strengthened academic support policies and procedures implemented by Harnum. Rider student-athletes now regularly perform exceptionally well in the classroom when compared to the general student population and national metrics.
Harnum has provided leadership and fundraising support for numerous capital campaigns that have led to the creation of new and renovated athletic facilities for all 20 varsity teams, including Alumni Gymnasium, the basketball practice facility which opened June 2016, basketball coaches offices and suites, Sonny Pittaro Baseball Field, Herb and Joan Young Softball Field, the baseball and softball indoor practice facility, Ben Cohen Turf Field for soccer and field hockey, the track and field complex and the Anderson Family Strength and Conditioning Center.
Harnum has not only raised the level of competition at Rider both on the playing field and in the classroom but has also helped promote and market the department by initiating and managing the creation of a new athletics logo package and subsequent branding campaign that led to the first athletic licensing agreement at Rider. Additionally, under his guidance, alumni engagement, corporate sponsorships and athletic fundraising have all reached an unprecedented level.
Rider’s reputation in the community and across the country is continuously growing. In the last eight years, the University has served as host of several NCAA Championships, including NCAA Women’s Basketball in 2006 and 2009, NCAA Wrestling in 2011 and NCAA Women’s Rowing in 2012, as well as numerous conference championships (baseball, track & field, wrestling, field hockey).
Harnum’s concern for Rider student-athletes goes even beyond the playing field and the classroom. In the last several years Rider has created student-athlete leadership programs, including the Captain’s Leadership Seminar, the Captain’s Leadership Principles, the Bronc Pledge, Code Cranberry and numerous community service activities.
In addition to his athletic director duties, Harnum served as chair of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Committee on Athletic Administration during the 2012-13 year when the conference was going through realignment. He currently serves on several university wide committees and has served on numerous hiring/search committees outside of athletics.
Harnum’s competitive spirit was formed as a coach. The 2002 MAAC Coach of the Year, Harnum led the Rider men’s basketball team to its first-ever NIT bid in his very first season as the Bronc head coach. He recruited and coached six of the top 10 scorers in program history, including Jason Thompson, the 12th player picked in the 2008 NBA draft. Under his tutelage as head basketball coach from 1997-2005, Rider had a 100 percent graduation rate among basketball seniors.
The son of a coach and athletic director, Harnum is a native of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Susquehanna University where he was an All-American basketball player as well as an Academic All-American. He received his master’s degree from Trenton State College where he was a graduate assistant coach on the team that advanced to the National Championship game.
Harnum and his wife Janet, have two children, Abigayle and Lucas.