Minnesota's Harris resigns as director of golf

John Harris (left) and Minnesota's Teresa Puga during the 2011 UCF Challenge

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John Harris has resigned as director of golf at the University of Minnesota, director of athletics Joel Maturi announced Friday.

“My wife and I are looking forward to spending more time on travels and pursuits that are not so focused on golf,” Harris said. “I feel that it is best for the University of Minnesota and the golf program for another coach to move forward to build on the current positive performance momentum in the program.”

Former Minnesota women’s coach Katie Brenny has a pending lawsuit against the university, claiming that as a lesbian she faced discrimination from Harris.

Harris has played four Champions Tour events this year, making three cuts and $20,120 in earnings.

Harris, 59, is a legendary figure in Twin Cities sports. He was a two-time All-American in golf in the early 1970s at Minnesota and starred in hockey for Gophers coach Herb Brooks, the architect of the 1980 U.S. Olympic “Miracle on Ice.’’ Harris has won just about every golf title worth winning in Minnesota - foremost, four State Amateurs, five State Mid-Amateurs and consecutive State Opens. At age 41, he won the 1993 U.S. Amateur before playing on four Walker Cup teams - all as a fortysomething.

Minnesota’s women’s team advanced to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 1989 this year, tying for third place at the NCAA Central Regional. The Gophers placed 19th at the NCAA Championship and ended the year ranked No. 39 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. The men finished the year ranked No. 74.

Harris replaced Brad James last summer as head of the UM golf program when James left Minnesota to become high-performance director for Golf Australia and the Australia Institute of Sport in his homeland.

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