USF Athletics Administration BIO
Mark Harlan
Player Profile:
Mark Harlan 1820537
Position: Director of Athletics
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Alma Mater: Arizona
Graduating Year: 1992

- Member of NCAA Division I Competition Oversight Committee (2015-)

Since assuming the helm of USF Athletics in March of 2014, Mark Harlan has energized Bulls Nation, implemented a five-year strategic plan, and established a “winning” mentality that emphasizes achievement in competition, the classroom and the community across USF’s 19 sports programs.

A Los Angeles native with more than 20 years of athletics administration experience at four universities, Harlan’s has focused on providing an extraordinary experience for all USF student-athletes and pushing the department beyond its limits.  Harlan has streamlined the Athletic Department’s structure and operations, while implementing five key values– commitment, community, excellence, innovation and integrity – to elevate every sports program.

Since arriving in Tampa, Harlan has overseen USF’s implementation of NCAA cost of attendance measures as well as additional nutrition opportunities for student-athletes that keep the USF Athletics experience competitive on a national level.  In 2016, his five-year strategic plan – focused on academic excellence, competitive greatness, brand enhancement, expanded revenue sources and facility improvements – was approved by the University’s Board of Trustees.

In the 2016 Learfield Sports Director’s Cup, the across-the-board measurement of athletic department performance, the Bulls earned a record 350 points, well above the mark set in 2001.  In 2015, Harlan helped guide the Bulls to the highest Learfield finish among American Athletic Conference schools.  USF has logged eight conference titles since Harlan’s arrival in the spring of 2014 and six programs have achieved Top 25 recognition. The men’s golf and men’s tennis teams posted the program’s best-ever NCAA Championship finishes, reaching the final eight and Sweet 16, respectively, in 2015. The women’s basketball program achieved its first-ever national ranking while making back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time ever. The football program began a surge that saw it post an 8-5 record in 2015 and return to a bowl game for the first time since 2010, while setting the groundwork for a team that returns 93 percent of its offense in 2016.

Off the field, USF student-athletes posted a best-ever combined grade-point average of 3.085 for the 2015-16 academic period with 249 student-athletes earning a 3.0 GPA or higher during spring 2016.  The student-athlete academic achievement in 2016 follows the best-ever 83 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR) in 2014 and 2015.

USF student-athletes and staff have also had an increased presence in the Tampa Bay region, through charity and outreach events. Working with more than fifty community partners, USF student-athletes logged a record 3,946 hours of service over the 2015-16 academic period.

Harlan also oversaw a broad repositioning of the Bulls Athletic brand.  USF launched a redesigned and mobile optimized in 2015 and committed to top-level social media engagement, which has been recognized among the best in collegiate athletics. USF also invested in the production of cutting edge coaches’ television shows that were named finalists for SVG/NACDA College Sports Media Awards and engaged in a partnership with the University’s Communications and Marketing department that has produced a nationally recognized, compelling and cohesive brand projection across multiple platforms.

“Mark’s experience, enthusiasm and proven leadership make him a perfect fit to further elevate the success of USF Athletics and our talented student-athletes," USF System President Judy Genshaft said when she introduced Harlan in March of 2014.  Less than two years into his tenure, he was already proving those words true.

Harlan is responsible for a USF Athletics Department with 19 men’s and women’s varsity teams, 18 of which compete in the American Athletic Conference, and boasts nearly 500 student-athletes and an annual budget of approximately $46 million. He was appointed to serve on the NCAA Division I Competition Oversight Committee in April of 2015. In that capacity, he serves on one of seven national committees reporting directly to the NCAA Division I Council in the NCAA's new governance structure. The committees are tasked with addressing challenges and enhancing opportunities for the 175,000 student-athletes participating at the Division I level. He also serves as the Vice President the America Athletic Conference Athletic Directors as well as playing a key role in the conference’s strategic plan development.

Harlan came to USF after previously serving as Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Relations at UCLA, were he played a key role in successes on the field and in the classroom.

In his role at UCLA, Harlan helped guide a 25-sport athletic department with more than 700 student-athletes and a budget of approximately $80 million. With oversight that included the men’s basketball program, athletic department development, communications, marketing, ticket sales, sponsorships, multimedia rights and alumni affairs, Harlan also played an integral role in all major initiatives and coaching hires, including the recent high-profile additions of men’s basketball coach Steve Alford and football coach Jim Mora.

Harlan’s accomplishments at UCLA, which he joined in 2010, included assisting with raising more than $125 million in annual fund and campaign gifts. Successfully managing a 2012 completion to the $137 million campaign to renovate iconic Pauley Pavilion, he also reorganized the structure of the major giving program and annual fund, leading to a record number of donors and dollars raised in 2013.

Heavily involved in the negotiations with the City of Pasadena to enable a $200 million renovation of the Rose Bowl Stadium, in his four years at UCLA, the Bruins won 11 Pac-12 Conference championships and four national championships. In addition, UCLA’s student-athlete graduation rate stood at 87 percent, second in the Pac-12 Conference behind only Stanford, upon his departure.

Prior to his time at UCLA, Harlan also achieved great success at another Pac-12 institution, serving as the Senior Vice President for Central Development at the University of Arizona Foundation.  While there, the Foundation recorded two record years in dollars raised and number of gifts on behalf of the university.

Harlan has also served in Associate Athletic Director roles at San Jose State and Northern Colorado. At SJSU, he successfully negotiated a comprehensive television rights deal.  While working closely with football coach Dick Tomey, Harlan helped nearly double ticket sales in 2005 and 2006. At Northern Colorado, he played a key part in the school’s transition to Division I and the Big Sky Conference. 

Harlan earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Education from Arizona.  He and his wife, Carolyn, and their two children, Savannah, 11, and Austin, 7, reside in south Tampa.


American Athletic Championships: 7

Men’s Tennis (2014, 2015, 2016), Men’s Golf (2015, 2016),

Women’s Tennis (2014), Softball (2016), Men's Soccer (2016)

Programs achieving Top 25 Nationally Rankings: 6

Women’s Basketball, Men’s Tennis, Men’s Golf, Softball, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer

Programs Reaching NCAA Post-season Competition:

 2014-15: (8) : Women’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball, Men’s Indoor Track (O’Neal), Men’s Outdoor Track, Women’s Outdoor Track, Men’s Tennis (team & singles), Men’s Golf, Baseball

2015-16: (9): Football, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball, Men’s Indoor Track & Field, Men’s Outdoor Track, Softball, Men’s Tennis, Men’s Golf



March 11, 2014 –             Named University of South Florida Director of Athletics

May, 2014 –                     Men’s & Women’s Tennis teams claim conference titles

October, 2015 –               USF posts program record 83% Graduation Success Rate

March, 2015 –                  Women’s basketball achieves first-ever national Top 25 ranking

May, 2015 –                      USF men’s tennis claims conference crown and reaches first-ever NCAA Sweet 16

                                         USF men’s golf claims conference crown and reaches first-ever NCAA final eight

June, 2015 –                     USF leads ALL American Athletic Conference programs in the final

                                          2015 Learfield Director’s Cup Standings (first time leading a conference in program history)

                                         USF baseball returns to NCAA regional for first time in 13 years

November, 2015 –          Women’s basketball achieves first-ever preseason national Top 25 ranking

                                        USF Football team defeats a ranked team for first time five seasons

December, 2015 –           USF Football reaches first bowl game in five seasons, posts 8-5 record

March, 2016 –                  Women’s basketball receives No. 6 seed in NCAA Tournament, the program’s highest ever

May, 2016 –                     Men’s Tennis, Men’s Golf & Softball earn conference titles

                                         Five-year Athletics Strategic Plan approved by USF BOT

                                         Athletics posts highest combined GPA (3.085) in program history for yearly academic period

                                         Athletics posts record 3,945.5 community service hours

June, 2016 –                    USF posts highest point total ever (350) in Learfield Sports Director’s Cup

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