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With a career that includes experience ranging from college coach to administrator in both an athletics and university setting, Duquesne Vice President of Athletics Dave Harper made an immediate impact on the Bluff upon his 2015 arrival. Since then, Harper has energized the department, placing an emphasis on performance as well as competitive and academic excellence. 
 
Centered on providing direction as well as support for both coaches and student-athletes, Harper led the creation and launch of Duquesne Athletic’s first comprehensive strategic plan. The blueprint for future success of the department included the development and construction of the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse, a University-wide achievement for which Harper played a leading role. Named after Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and Duquesne alumnus Chuck Cooper, it’s the home of Duquesne basketball and volleyball as well as all DU student athletes.  
 
Harper also initiated the PNC Leadership Academy, founded to promote the pillars of leadership, mentoring and self-awareness with an emphasis on developing career pathways for student-athletes. He charged his staff with placing added emphasis on Duquesne’s Academic Progress Rate, which has experienced immediate results. A school-record six programs were recognized for academic excellence by the NCAA for scoring in the top 10% of their sports in the most recent APR results.  
 
Under Harper’s leadership, four Duquesne programs have made their first NCAA Championship appearances including football (2015 & 2018), women’s soccer (2015), women’s basketball (2016) and women’s bowling (2021). Duquesne has won four Atlantic 10 Championships in Harper’s six seasons on the Bluff, and the football team has won a trio of Northeast Conference titles since his arrival. The women’s swimming program added diving in 2017, enabling them to compete on a level playing field for the A-10 Championships. That same year, Harper secured Keith Dambrot as the 17th head coach of men’s basketball. Dambrot has overseen a steady rise in DU’s basketball fortunes. 
 
Harper’s previous roles include serving as vice president for advancement at the University of Dayton, after serving as UD’s associate vice president for athletics. He began his career in athletics as an assistant football coach at Robert Morris University. 
 
He has a bachelor’s in political science from Wright State University, an MBA from Robert Morris and certificates in leadership and executive development and Aileron management and strategic planning from the University of Dayton. Harper is a member of the A-10 Men’s Basketball Competitiveness Committee and has chaired the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and served on the Women’s Basketball Head Coach Committee and Finance Committee.   

 

 

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