Skip to main content

The winner of the 2013 C. Felix Harvey Award will use the money that came with the prize to develop the Bridges2Success Scholar Athlete Support Program, a training academy that prepares middle and high school coaches to support academic success among male athletes of color.

Leading the team to develop the academy will be Roberto G. Quercia, director of the Center for Community Capital and professor and chair of the department of city and regional planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 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.”

Bridges2Success will offer middle and high school coaches a model for helping their players achieve academic, as well as athletic, success. Quercia and Mark McDaniel, the center’s senior research associate for community development outreach, will use the Harvey Award funds to develop the curriculum and pilot the first coaches’ academy in several North Carolina counties in the fall of 2014. Other project partners include scholars at UNC and N.C. Central University and officials at the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The academy will 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 middle- and high-school coaches as holistic youth development workers, capable of providing student 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 a NCAA-sanctioned and supported academy in the future that could prove transformative for athletes and education.

The academy is part of Bridges2Success (, 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 James H. Johnson Jr., 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 Bridges2Success.

The C. Felix Harvey Award to Advance Institutional Priorities 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 UNC’s Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost chooses the winner from a pool of faculty applications.

The award’s namesake is C. Felix Harvey, chairman of Harvey Enterprises & Affiliates and founder of the Little Bank Inc., both in Kinston. He graduated from UNC with a degree in commerce in 1943 and went to the Navy midshipman school, then served on a PT boat in the southwest Pacific theater during World War II.

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, including Felix and Margaret Harvey’s daughters Leigh Harvey McNairy and Sunny Harvey Burrows, sons-in-law John McNairy and Lee Burrows and several grandchildren.

UNC News Services

Published Feb. 24, 2014