- Business Management
Harnish graduated in Business Management last spring with a 3.65 GPA. He then enrolled in the university’s MBA program and began taking classes in the summer. Harnish is a three-time academic All-MAC selection who has also been honored as the MAC’s Scholar-Athlete of the Week (top male scholar-athlete among all sports in the league) on two occasions. He is a Victory Scholar in NIU’s Academic Excellence program. The NIU College of Business chose to use him in an ad promoting their program and as part of his undergraduate work, he completed an internship in the Huskies’ Athletics Marketing Office.
Harnish has overcome adversity, dealt with challenges that at times seemed insurmountable and has approached it all with a positive attitude and a team-first mentality. The fifth-year senior is now playing for his third head coach and fourth different quarterbacks coach since arriving at NIU. He was thrown into the starting quarterback role as a redshirt freshman on a team that had experienced a 2-10 season the previous year. Harnish was injured in both 2008 (foot) and 2009 (knee), but managed to work his way back for the team. In January 2010, Harnish was told that knee injury would require surgery that very well could end his career. After exhaustive rehab, Harnish elected not to have surgery doctors still do not completely understand how the knee healed itself. However, the injury did force him to miss spring practice and lose his starting job. He remained upbeat, supporting the other quarterbacks. By the second game of 2010 he was back as the starter and enters his senior season as the unquestioned leader of the team.
Harnish is one of the Huskies’ team leaders in community service. As NIU’s quarterback, he is one of the most high-profile individuals in the community and as such, fields a constant stream of requests from schools, youth teams and organizations. Despite a limited amount of free time, he fulfills as many requests as possible. He has spoken to numerous youth football and school groups and this summer he conducted a football camp at a local school. He visits with groups of underprivileged children who come to NIU’s practices and goes to local retirement homes, where he plays bingo with residents. Harnish was named NIU’s winner of the uDrove Humanitarian Award at last year’s Humanitarian Bowl. He has assisted with set-up for the University Women’s Club citywide yard sale and took part in NIU Athletics’ Adopt-a-Family program last holiday season. He also took part in the “Huskie Pride” initiative, where student-athletes gave NIU students sweatshirts in return for sweatshirts of other schools. The sweatshirts were then donated to a local charity that assists battered women.
As a junior, Harnish led NIU to its best offensive season ever and a school-record 11 victories, becoming the first Huskie quarterback to be named to the All-MAC first team in the process. He led the conference and ranked 11th in the nation in passing efficiency and his 3,366 yards of total offense set a new school record. Harnish helped the team set new school records for points, points per game, total offense, yards per game and touchdowns. He was named the MAC’s Player of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus. Entering his senior season, Harnish already owns the NIU record for most yards of total offense and is in the top five in career passing yards, touchdowns, attempts and completions and ranks in the top 25 on the Huskies’ all-time rushing charts.