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November 16, 2012

Update: Harrison to join Hyman at Texas A&M

In a move announced by Texas A&M athletic director Eric Hyman on Thursday, South Carolina Associate Athletic Director Raymond Harrison will be leaving Columbia to take over the position of Senior Associate Director of Athletics for the Aggies.

On Friday, Harrison spoke to GamecockCentral.com about the move and offered exclusive remarks as a way to thank those who supported him through his successful years in Columbia.

"I have been working in academics for athletics for more than 15 years," Harrison wrote. "The landscape of college athletics has changed dramatically with the advent of APR. As much as people are passionate about college athletics and the ultimate competition that happens on the field of play, more people are understanding of what COLLEGE athletics should look like.

"Athletics and academics are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I have declared over the years that there is a significant correlation between success in the two arenas. I am so proud of what the University of South Carolina has been able to accomplish over the past decade in terms of the competitive successes, but I am overjoyed to know that our student-athletes have been at the forefront of academic rankings during that same time frame.

"As I move on to my new position at Texas A&M, I would like to thank Ms. Dodie Anderson for her fantastic gift to our student-athletes; our staff at the Dodie Academic Center for their selfless dedication and commitment of demanding the best of our student-athletes; the coaches for buying in to our plan and holding their students accountable; the administration for their tremendous leadership; the faculty for their ability to educate and engage all students; and most importantly our Gamecock student-athletes for understanding the importance of a quality education and the discipline and work ethic required to be successful in all of their endeavors. I wish Gamecock Nation well and it has been very gratifying to be able to wear the Garnet and Black for the past seven years. The best is yet to come. It is truly great to be a Gamecock!"

Read the profile Ron Aiken recently wrote of Harrison here:

The release from Texas A&M announcing Harrison's hire:

Harrison Named Senior Associate Athletics Director At Texas A&M

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M Athletics Director Eric Hyman announced today the hiring of Raymond M. Harrison Jr. as Senior Associate Director of athletics. Harrison will oversee the athletics department's student-athlete services division, including academic support, Life Skills and community outreach. Harrison will serve as the athletics department's liaison to the faculty and admissions' office.

Additionally, Harrison will oversee the strength and conditioning and sports medicine programs, the football program, and the men's and women's track and field, and cross country programs. Many of Harrison's responsibilities were formerly held by Dr. John Thornton who retired in August.

"We are very pleased to have Raymond Harrison and his family join our athletics department team" stated Eric Hyman. "Raymond has had quite a successful career, highlighted by the unparalleled academic success the South Carolina student-athletes have had under his tutelage. Having been a former athlete and coach, Raymond understands the challenges student-athletes face today."

Harrison has served the University of South Carolina student-athletes as Director of Academics, Associate Athletics Director for Academics and Life Skills, and Senior Associate Athletics Director for Academics and Student Support since 2006.

During his tenure at South Carolina, Harrison developed one of the most academically accomplished athletics departments in the Southeastern Conference. Gamecock student-athletes maintained a department grade point average of above 3.0 for 11 consecutive semesters and led the SEC Honor Roll for six consecutive years under Harrison's leadership. APR scores steadily improved including an impressive 950 APR for all 19 teams in the 2010-11 academic year.

As the administrative supervisor of academics and student support, Harrison hired and evaluated over 200 full- and part-time staff, and maintained daily responsibility of the 40,000 square foot Dodie Anderson Academic Support Center.

Beyond oversight of the academic and student development programs, Harrison served as liaison to University legal counsel, University office of student conduct and academic integrity, and University law enforcement. Harrison worked with University advising and admissions, as well as numerous faculty committees.

Harrison supervised three sports programs, comprising over 150 student-athletes, including softball, equestrian and men's and women's swimming and diving. Prior to his stint at the University of South Carolina, Harrison spent six years at the University of Louisville. He served as Assistant Director of Academics for the men's basketball and volleyball programs. Louisville reached the NCAA Final Four in 2005 while Harrison served as Assistant Strength Coach for the men's basketball program.

Harrison was a football student-athlete at the University of Cincinnati where he graduated with a bachelor's and a master's degree.

"I have great respect for Eric Hyman, his values and leadership. He has articulated his vision for Texas A&M and I am anxious to join him and the team on the journey," stated Harrison. "There are so many things that attracted our family to Texas A&M University," stated Harrison. "We are very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such a fine institution of tradition, values and higher learning. We want to thank the University of South Carolina for allowing us to make an impact during our seven years there."

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