Harlis Meaders enters his sixth season as the head coach of the track and field and cross country programs. Meaders returned to coach at his alma mater in 2012 after an 18-year stint at Florida State that saw him rise to the program’s associate head coach in 2004 while coaching the throwers and coordinating recruiting operations.
“I’m extremely delighted to have the opportunity to reunite with the Carolina family,” said Meaders in the summer of 2012, “I’m a product of North Carolina track and field. I was born and raised in this state and had the privilege to compete at the University of North Carolina. If you’ve ever worn the Carolina Blue and White, you know how I feel. Carolina is an extremely special place and it’s an honor to give back to the university and the community that has given so much to me.”
During the 2015-2016 season, the track and field program performed well in the ACC and at the national level under the guidance of Meaders. Kenny Selmon earned First Team All-America honors, while Javonte Lipsey was named to the second team. The team garnered 17 All-ACC honors, including four during the indoor season and four at the outdoor championships. The 4x400 relay (Javonte Lipsey, Kenny Selmon, Cory Nicholls and Ceo Ways) highlighted the Tar Heels’ performance at the ACC Outdoor Championships, as the team won the title for the fourth consecutive year. Five student-athletes were named to the All-ACC Academic Team (Tory Kemp, Avana Story, Nicole Greene, Houston Summers and Javonte Lipsey) and 24 were on the 2015-16 ACC Academic honor roll.
In the throws for 2015-16, Meaders led Houston Summers, Avana Story and Zach Gray to All-ACC outdoor honors and Sarah Howard to All-ACC indoor honors. AJ Hicks qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships where he took First Team All-America honors after finishing sixth in the weight throw with a mark of 70-7 ¾. During the Wolfpack Last Chance meet, three UNC throwers recorded lifetime best marks in the hammer throw. AJ Hicks had a throw of 218-10, which increased his No. 3 all-time mark in UNC history. Story notched a 200-9 to take over second place in the UNC record book, while Alex Cooke threw a 181-8 to increase her No. 5 all-time mark. Cooke also threw a lifetime best of 58-8 ¾ in the weight throw at the ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships.
The track and field teams experienced success on the national level in the 2014-15 season with eight First Team All-Americas (Lizzy Whelan, Sean Sutton, Xenia Rahn [twice], Javonte Lipsey, Ceo Ways [twice], and Kenny Selmon). Additionally, AJ Hicks, Kenny Selmon, Javonte Lipsey and Sarah Howard earned Second Team All-America honors. The team earned 26 All-ACC honorees including ACC champions Xenia Rahn (pentathlon and heptathlon), Paul Haley (heptathlon), and the men's 4x400 relay (RJ Alowonle, Javonte Lipsey, Kenny Selmon and Ceo Ways). The team excelled in the classroom with 46 individuals making the 2014-15 ACC Academic honor roll.
In the throws for 2014-15, Meaders coached AJ Hicks and Sarah Howard to Second Team All-America honors. Hicks set personal bests in the weight throw in four consecutive weeks and eclipsed the second place mark on the school's all-time list in the event. He earned All-ACC honors for finishing third in the event and took 10th at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Howard earned Second Team All-America honors in the shot put during the outdoor season. She set a career best mark at 16.99 meters and still ranks second all-time in UNC's history.
During the 2013-14 track and field seasons Meaders led the Tar Heel program to a “better blue” through four ACC Champions and a 4x400 relay ACC Championship, 19 All-ACC honorees, a relay and 26 individual NCAA First Round qualifiers, three relays and 10 NCAA National Championships qualifiers, five First Team All-Americas in RJ Alowonle (4x400, 400-hurdles), Sean Sutton (4x400), Javonte Lipsey (4x400), Ceo Ways (4x400) and Xenia Rahn (Heptathlon), and seven Second Team All-Americas in Isaac Presson (mile and 5,00), Lizzy Whelan (1,500), Annie LeHardy (mile and DMR), Cori Floyd (DMR), Lianne Farber (DMR), Javonte Lipsey (400-hurdles), and Sarah Howard (shot put), and 22 All-ACC Academic honorees. Additionally, 40 of his student-athletes were named to the 2013-14 ACC Academic Honor Roll.
In the throws for 2013-14, Meaders coached the unit to several personal records and a few top-five school marks. Meaders guided AJ Hicks to an ACC Championship in the weight throw as well as earning ACC Indoor Field Event MVP. Sarah Howard threw a new personal record under his direction that ranks second in UNC’s history and ranked 10th among all NCAA athletes in 2014.
Meaders is a 1992 graduate who competed in the discus, shot put, and 35-pound weight throw. While competing, he won back-to-back ACC outdoor titles in the discus in 1991 and 1992 as well as an indoor conference crown in the weight throw in 1992. Meaders was a high school All-America who became an NCAA and Olympic Trials qualifier while at UNC in addition to his three individual conference championships. He set the school record in discus, a mark that stood for 23 years. Meaders ranks second on the UNC all-time list with a discus throw of 186-10 (56.95 meters). Meaders was also a captain on the 1992 track team that won the ACC Outdoor title in the same year.
The Monroe, N.C., native began his coaching at Western Carolina where he spent three years as an assistant coach while earning his master’s degree in physical education. While there Meaders also instructed courses in the physical education department. He coached several Western Carolina track and field athletes to multiple Southern Conference individual titles.
During his tenure at Florida State, Meaders helped the Seminoles win the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s NCAA Division I men’s program of the year award for two consecutive years in 2011-12. The Seminole men’s and women’s programs have both finished among the top five nationally in each of the four years the honor has been awarded by the governing body. As the throws coach, Meaders guided 11 different Florida State throwers to a total of 22 All-America honors and compiled 22 ACC indoor and outdoor titles. The male and female athletes he coached there hold more than three-quarters of the top-10 all-time school bests in the discus, javelin, shot put and weight throws. In 2005, Meaders was named the East Regional Assistant Coach of the Year for his success with the Seminoles throwing corps.
At Florida State, Meaders coached two-time NCAA Champion Garrett Johnson who is widely considered the greatest student-athlete in Florida State school history. In the fall of 2005, Johnson was honored as the second Rhodes Scholar in school history as well as the first for a student-athlete. In the spring of 2005 Johnson claimed NCAA Indoor and Outdoor titles in the shot put for the Seminoles’ first national championships in that event. Johnson also set school, conference and NCAA East Regional records that year. Johnson went on to compete in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, earning a ranking of 14th in the world.
Meaders coached Olympian Dorian Scott, a stand-out at Florida State and native of Jamaica, to the 2012 London Olympics. Scott was the first Jamaican to ever reach the final of the men’s shot put at an Olympics, throwing 66-6 (20.31 meters) to qualify, and ultimately finished 10th with a throw of 67-6 (20.61 meters). Scott has an all-time best shot throw of 70-4 ½ (21.45 meters) which he set in March 2008 in Tallahassee, Fla.
Among producing top athletes, Meaders has also taught student-athletes who have gone on to become successful coaches: Gregg Jack is the throws coach at Virginia Tech, Cathy Erickson is the head coach at Northeastern University, David Price is at East Carolina, B.J. Linnenbrink is at Duke, and Dorian Scott is an assistant coach at Florida State. Karen Rademeyer and Makiba Batten are also former Meaders’ pupils who went on to coach.
In addition to the coaching and athletic successes to his name, Meaders brings with him a deep commitment to academic success. From 2007 to 2012, his student-athletes earned 19 Academic All-America honors. He was also the co-founder of R.E.A.L. Men (Reliable, Educated, Approachable Leaders), a leadership program at Florida State for male student-athletes. Along with his coaching duties at FSU, Meaders oversaw daily operations, including team travel and budget, as well as acting as the program’s liaison with athletic department administration, compliance, facilities, admission, financial aid and the business office.
|Position:||Head Coach, Director of Track & Field/Cross Country (Throws)|