Fran Harris joined the Virginia women’s basketball staff as the director of communications and community engagement in June of 2018. She is responsible for overseeing multi-channel local initiatives with coaches, staff, student-athletes and fans as well as creating and administering personal and professional development, teambuilding and championship culture training programs for student-athletes.
Harris previously spent four years as the coordinator of community engagement at her alma mater, Texas, before coming to UVA.
She is an accomplished businesswoman, author and broadcast personality with more than 20 years of experience in the sales, sports media and sports marketing industries. A former Procter & Gamble sales executive, teambuilding expert and organizational development trainer, she recently hosted Home Rules, a life and home renovation show on HGTV, where her candor and insights reached millions of viewers each week. She has made hundreds of appearances on TV and radio shows including The Today Show, CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox Business, TLC, Comedy Central, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Oprah’s Radio Network and many others.
In 2011, Fran bested over 15,000 candidates to be named Good Morning America’s Advice Guru runner-up. That same year, Harris was one of eleven contestants appearing on the NBC competitive reality television series America’s Next Great Restaurant. Harris is the founder and publisher of The College Athlete magazine, which debuts online in the Fall of 2018. Her most recent book, Bullyproof My Company (May, 2018), is a guide to help organizations and companies eradicate workplace bullying and mayhem.
The Dallas native was a student-athlete for Naismith hall-of-fame coach Jody Conradt from 1982-86 during the most successful era of women’s basketball at Texas. Harris was named Southwest Conference Player of the Year in 1984-85 and was twice voted team MVP, including on the historic 1985-86 squad, which became the NCAA’s first undefeated women’s college basketball championship team. Harris’ 1,798 career points at Texas currently ranks seventh in program history.
After graduating with a communications degree from UT, Harris served as a graduate assistant on Conradt’s coaching staff during the 1988-89 season, earning a master of arts in journalism from The University of Texas in 1991. In May 2018, she graduated from UT’s McCombs School of Business with a master of science in technology commercialization.
Harris played two seasons in the WNBA as a member of the Houston Comets’ WNBA championship team in 1997, and with the Utah Starzz in 1998. Harris also played on several gold medal USA national teams before being named alternate on the 1988 U.S. Olympic team. As a professional she competed in over 30 countries, while leading her Italian and Swiss teams to 2nd and 3rd place finishes.
From 1994 to 2001, Fran Harris served as a sideline reporter, studio analyst and game analyst for women’s and men’s basketball for ESPN. She returned to ESPN in 2011 as women’s college basketball analyst and play-by-play announcer for the ESPN family of networks including ESPN, ESPN U, Longhorn Network and the SEC Network.
She is a member of the UT Athletics Women’s Hall of Honor, and was recently inducted into the Dallas Independent School District’s (DISD) Hall of Fame.