The winner of the 2013 C. Felix Harvey Award will use the money that came with the prize to develop the Bridges 2 Success Scholar Athlete Support Program, a training academy that prepares coaches at middle schools and high schools to support academic success among male athletes of color.
Roberto G. Quercia ’90 (PhD), director of the Center for Community Capital and professor and chair of UNC’s department of city and regional planning, will lead the project. Quercia won the Harvey Award to Advance Institutional Priorities, a campus-based honor that included $75,000 to fund the project.
“Research reveals that middle and high school coaches have an indelible impact on the lives of the student-athletes they work with in organized sports, but few of these coaches have any formal training in youth development,” Quercia said. “Some have not completed college themselves and may not appreciate the value-add of being a ‘scholar’ athlete as opposed to a ‘student’ athlete. Some coaches work on contract and may be only minimally engaged in the academic life of the students they coach.”
Bridges 2 Success aims to offer coaches a model for helping players achieve academic, as well as athletic, success. Quercia and Mark McDaniel, the center’s senior research associate for community development outreach, plan to use the Harvey Award funds to develop the curriculum and pilot the first coaches’ academy in several North Carolina counties this fall. Other project partners include scholars at UNC and N.C. Central University and officials at the NCAA.
The academy plans to offer workshops, conferences, online courses and face-to-face instruction focused on athletes’ physical health, psychological development and academic readiness. The program aims to develop these coaches as holistic youth development workers, capable of providing athletes with the “protection, affection, correction and connections” that research indicates they need to excel on and off the field.
As the NCAA tightens its requirements for college athletes, researchers envision an academy, sanctioned and supported by the NCAA, that could prove transformative for athletes and education.
The academy is part of Bridges 2 Success — bridges2success.org — a comprehensive early childhood-to-career research and education initiative focused on helping males of color achieve academic and life success. It is led by Jim Johnson, director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and a William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of strategy and entrepreneurship. The center provides research and program management support for Bridges 2 Success.
The Harvey Award is an annual award recognizing exemplary faculty scholarship that reflects one of UNC’s top priorities and addresses a real-world challenge. A selection committee led by the UNC provost’s office chooses the winner from a pool of faculty applications.
The award’s namesake is C. Felix Harvey III ’43, chair of Harvey Enterprises & Affiliates and founder of the Little Bank Inc., both in Kinston. Harvey died in early January at age 93; an extended obituary is planned for the March/April 2014 issue of the Carolina Alumni Review.
In 2007, along with his family, Harvey made a $2 million commitment endowing the award to acknowledge UNC’s significance to them and the important role Carolina has played in their lives. Five generations of Harveys have earned UNC degrees.
Harvey also served as a member of the UNC Board of Trustees, its Board of Visitors and the Bicentennial Steering Committee and as president of the Educational Foundation. The GAA awarded him its Distinguished Service Medal in 1995.