Dr. Carlton Keith Harrison, associate director and professor of the DeVos Sport Business Management, has been playing a silent, yet crucial role in the University of Central Florida sports community for the past 11 years.

When Harrison came to UCF, he couldn't grasp why the minor didn’t stick during its first run in 2005.

“I noticed the students had Dolphins stickers and Jaguar stickers on their laptops, and [students said] the minor 'didn’t work'," Harrison said. 

With the help of some marketing techniques, Harrison and Dr. Richard Lapchick, the chair director of the DeVos Sport Business Management Program, attempted to give the minor another go.

Harrison has now successfully grown the program from 10 all-male students in the summer of 2007, to over 400 diverse students enrolled in classes during the current spring semester.

“I was shocked when I heard the first class was all male," said Casey Greenberg, a junior in the program. "Now when I walk into class, more than half of the seats are occupied by females. It’s awesome to know how more females are getting involved in this type of industry."

Harrison, better known by his students as Doc, teaches the minor alongside professor Scott Bukstein, whom he met at the University of Michigan in January 2001.

The DeVos Sport Business Management Program has been ranked as one of the top five programs in America by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and ESPN the Magazine. In 2015, the program was named the No. 2 program in the world by SportsBusiness International, according to the sports Business Management website.

The DeVos Sport Business Management Program has graduated over 350 alumni, which are located all over the world, according to the DeVos Sport Business Management Program website.

Joe Cuomo, who graduated from UCF with the minor in 2009, is now working with the Brooklyn Nets as the equipment manager. Michael Elliott, who graduated in 2013, currently holds title as the Athletic Facilities Maintenance Manager at Arizona State University.

Ashlee Winn, a junior student within the sport business minor, said her favorite thing about the minor is how she has formed a family within UCF.

“Doc is the most genuine, candid person I have ever met, and I strive every day to be like him and to love everyone the same," Winn said. "If I could have just a slither of the heart that Doc has then I will be a better person than I was yesterday."

Harrison attributes his success on race and diversity to many but especially to the quote of Nas: “I’m like all races combined in one man."

Harrison said he can relate to many people in the industry and he would like to prepare the next generation of leaders.

"My main focus is on the future," Harrison said.

Originally published March 31

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