ECAC Named Harper, Muller Administrators of the Year

ECAC Named Harper, Muller Administrators of the Year

CENTERVILLE, Mass. -- The Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) today announced the female and male administrator of the year for the 2010-11 academic year.  This year’s awards go to John Harper, Director of Athletics and Recreation at Bridgewater State University, and Julie Muller, commissioner of the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) as well as the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC).

Harper and Muller will be honored at the ECAC Convention and Trade Show on Sunday, October 2nd.

John Harper has been synonymous with the athletics scene at Bridgewater State for the last 20 years. Harper has seen the program grow in many areas. He was integral in the design and construction of the Adrian Tinsley Center, which opened in 2002 as one of the finest Division III indoor facilities in New England. He also was involved in the building of Alumni Park, home to the Bears’ baseball and softball teams since 1996, and the $4.7 million 2010 renovation of the Swenson Field Complex, which serves the football, soccer, field hockey and track & field squads. 

Harper oversees a department that operates two divisions of programming in 21 intercollegiate sports and campus recreation which provides opportunities in intramural sports, club sports and fitness/wellness for the college community.

During Harper’s tenure, BSU student-athletes have experienced success both in the arena of play and in the classroom. The athletics department has won or shared the prestigious Howard C. Smith Cup, awarded by the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) for maintaining athletics excellence, ten times since John arrived at Bridgewater State.  The Bears also have led the way on numerous occasions with the most representatives on the MASCAC All-Academic Team.

Widely respected among his peers, Harper has served on numerous NCAA committees, including the Division III Management Council and NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee, and ECAC sports championship committees. 

Harper was named the Division III “Athletic Director of the Year” for 2002-2003 in the Northeast Region by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).  Additionally, his long-time involvement with Special Olympics Massachusetts earned him the Massachusetts Outstanding Co-Games Director of the Year Award in 1999, the Hanlon Award for Volunteerism in 2003 and, along with the rest of the Bridgewater State University Management Team, induction into the Massachusetts Special Olympics Hall of Fame in 2004.  He also received the Commonwealth’s Citation for Outstanding Performance in 1999.

A 1971 graduate of Ithaca College, Harper has also held posts at Southwest Missouri State University, George Washington University and Wichita State University. He also earned a Master’s degree from Indiana University in 1974.

“The ECAC has served an important function in the landscape of New England intercollegiate athletics for many years and to be included on the list of outstanding individuals who have previously won this award is indeed an honor,” said Harper.

“Because many of the previous award winners are long-time friends and colleagues of mine, it makes this recognition especially meaningful,” noted Harper.  “It is wonderful to be recognized in such a special way for merely doing your job but it points out the real reason why we are in this profession.”

“If it were not for the thousands of student-athletes who have participated in our program over the years, there would be no Bridgewater State University Athletics,” Harper added.  “I am indebted to them and to the administrators and coaches who have given selflessly of their time and talents over the past 20 years to make BSU Athletics successful.”

Julie Muller was the NAC’s first full-time lead administrator when she was hired in 2005 and also oversaw the formation of the ECFC as well.

Muller played an integral role in keeping the NAC stable during a state of flux, when the conference went from 13 members to its current 10-school alignment. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations for 15 conference sports, including the responsibilities of scheduling, administration of conference grant and awards programs, working with the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), and conference initiatives such as membership.

Over the past four years, Muller worked with eight institutions on the creation of the ECFC, a single-sport coalition which began its first season of competition in 2009. She coordinated the creation of league bylaws, website and logo branding, and a competitive inaugural season that culminated in the first football championship.

Muller got her start in intercollegiate athletics as a field hockey student-athlete at Farleigh Dickinson University – Florham. She also worked at the Division III institution as field hockey assistant coach before being elevated to the head coaching position. She also held the job title of Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Services at Division I Stony Brook University from 2000-04.

She currently serves on several NCAA committees: Division III Interpretations and Legislation, Division III Commissioners Executive, Division III Commissioners Association Diversity and Well Being (chair) and National Association of Collegiate Woman Athletics Administrators Nominating.

For a past list of ECAC administrator of the year award recipients, please go to