Harry Fouke

From Main High School in San Antonio, Texas, the fifth winner of the Bob Quin Award was Harry Fouke. An excellent student at Rice, Harry went on to earn his Masters degree at Columbia University. He ultimately served as the University of Houston’s first director of athletics from 1945-1978. During that time, he helped build one of the top athletics programs in the Southwest and the nation.

     He was a star halfback at Rice from 1932 to 1934, helping to lead the Owls to their first Southwest Conference championship in 1934. Following his graduation from Rice, Harry was the head football and track coach at San Antonio Tech from 1935-40. He also served in that capacity for San Antonio’s Thomas Jefferson High School one year before being named the director of athletics for the San Antonio Public Schools System. A year later, he accepted the same post for the Houston Independent School District.

     When the University of Houston announced plans to enter intercollegiate athletics three years later, the Board of Regents sought Harry Fouke’s leadership. In addition to his duties as athletics director, he also was a professor and chairman of the Physical Education Department for 30 years. He also was member of the University Council, the Administrative Cabinet of the College of Education and served as president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics,

     His keen direction was recognized by the entire Houston sports community in 1968 when he was named “Mr. Sportsman” for the city of Houston and honored at a city-wide banquet. Harry was also honored by the UH Alumni Organization in 1971, when he received the Alumni President’s Award, which is given annually to an outstanding non-alumnus. He was honored again in 1976 by Rice University when he was named the outstanding ex-letterman of the school. He added still another honor in 1977 when the Houston Touchdown Club named him the recipient of the prestigious “Morris Frank Touchdowner of the Year” award.

     Harry Fouke was a member of Phi Delta Kappa and Kappa Pi fraternities and in his spare time, he played tennis and golf and was an avid fisherman. He accomplished two of his long-time goals as UH athletic director in 1971, when he signed the first contracts for football and basketball games between Houston and Rice, and accepted the invitation of membership into the Southwest Conference on behalf of the University of Houston.

     The qualities of leadership, scholarship and service that defined Harry's life were recognized early and he was duly honored with the Bob Quin Award at Rice as he went on during his life to live all of the attributes required of a Quin winner in his excellence of achievement.

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