Nov. 9, 2011
By Anya Villanueva-Forte
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Former Lobo great, Larry Harrison, was one of the more consistent baseball players to ever don a UNM uniform. The speedster from Albuquerque, N.M., played for the Lobos from 1979-83.
Today, he is perfecting his craft as a successful businessman. He still resides in Albuquerque, N.M., where he works for Harrison Contracting Co., a construction company he helped start upon graduation almost 30 years ago.
When reflecting on his time as a student-athlete at UNM, he says it is impossible to choose a favorite moment.
"There's no one special memory," said Harrison. "It would be a compilation of every day that I actually spent on the baseball field and in the classroom. Those four years would be a major part of who I am today."
Harrison, who graduated from Sandia High School in Albuquerque, says being recruited by the local university was an appealing idea. At that time, he knew he wanted to pursue a business degree. The Anderson School of Management was highly ranked nationally, which also interested Harrison when he was considering attending UNM. After his four years in college, Harrison came to the realization that playing baseball professionally, despite his incredible career as a Lobo, might be a stretch.
"I was one of those over-achieving baseball players, who didn't have the size or the skills set to make a career out of playing baseball," Harrison said. "I had no false hopes that I would be playing professional baseball."
Harrison's assessment of himself as a ballplayer may have been a tad humble. The four-time letterwinner holds the record for most career games played at UNM with 244. He's fifth place all-time in runs scored with 204, and he is the all-time leader in career triples with 31. His 31 triples are also the third best mark all-time in NCAA history.
"Larry Harrison is that fierce competitor," said Lobo head baseball coach Ray Birmingham. "He is what I want my athletes to be. He is a winner and he carries himself the right way in every shape, form and fashion."
After he discarded the notion of being a pro ballplayer, Harrison decided to go start up Harrison Contracting Co. In retrospect, he thinks the decision of not pursuing a baseball dream was probably the correct choice for him.
"We [the company] have been very fortunate to have the success that we've had as a business to be here 30 years later," Harrison said.
Harrison has been a season ticket holder for football and basketball since 1986. He has also been a member of the Lobo Club since 1985. He has had a presence in the Alumni Letterman Association for the past 21 years, having held the title of president in 1994 and 1995. He also served two terms as director of the Lobo Club. Harrison has been deeply involved with UNM athletics, taking a lot of interest in all of the programs at the university, especially the baseball program.
Harrison believes that the baseball program has had great success despite lacking some of the resources that the collegiate juggernauts have at their disposal. He is thrilled about the culture coach Birmingham is instilling at UNM.
"Coach Birmingham has done an outstanding job," Harrison said. "He has an energy level unlike any other coach I've been around."