Triathon’s national governing body in the U.S. has hired its chief executive, filling a position vacated by Rob Urbach. Rocky Harris leaves the post of Chief Operating Officer of Arizona State University Athletics.
Mr. Harris was instrumental in bringing to ASU the sport of women’s triathlon, and ASU is both the home of the reigning NCAA Women’s Triathlon team, and ASU is hosting the NCAA Championships this upcoming November.
Mr. Harris is an age-group triathlete himself. Not widely understood is just how many triathletes there are in positions of prominence in the Tempe and greater-Phoenix area, and Mr. Harris is one of the more prominent among them.
Mr. Harris is known as a collaborative rather than combative executive, building partnerships and relationships. He’s recognized for his integrity. ASU has a habit of attracting highly accomplished sports executives, one of those its Athletics Director Ray Anderson. Mr. Anderson, himself formerly a top NFL executive, said of Mr. Harris, "“Simply put, Rocky is not only one of the best administrators I have worked with in my career, but he is also one of the most well-rounded individuals I know. He is passionate, genuine, dynamic and strategic, and his unique skill set and perspective will undoubtedly help him flourish in this new role.”
Mr. Harris had formerly worked in the NFL as Director of Communication with the Houston Texans and Media Relations Coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers. He served on the Super Bowl XXXVIII Host Committee, as well as an NFL Media Representative for Super Bowls XXXVII, XXXVIII, and XXXIX. He was awarded the Houston Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award.
He received his master's degree in sport management from the University of San Francisco (USF), where he graduated summa cum laude is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Community Resources and Development at ASU.
The search for USAT’s new CEO seemed to commence late, with the press release announcing USAT’s hiring of search firm Nolan Partners to help fill that position only released a month and 5 days ago. It would have been uniquely quick for the position to have been filled in that time, but sources inside USAT say that the organization started informally fielding and interviewing applicants not long after the departure of Mr. Urbach. Mr. Harris stood out from the other fine applicants, said one source familiar with the process.