Nan Harvey loses her battle with cancer
By SUE WUETCHER
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday in Infant of Prague Church, 921 Cleveland Drive, Cheektowaga, for Nan Harvey, associate athletic director and senior women's administrator who died on Tuesday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital after a three-year battle with ovarian cancer. She would have been 47 on Wednesday.
Harvey had served the Bulls for almost 30 yearsfirst as a student, then as a coach and administrator. Appointed to her current position of senior women's administrator in August 1996, she was responsible for the day-to-day management of UB's intercollegiate athletic program and represented the university on all issues regarding women's athletics.
UB's softball field was renamed Nan Harvey Field in May during a special ceremony held in recognition of a minimum $200,000 gift from Harvey. At that time, former athletic director Bob Arkeilpane said he had never been more touched by a gesture in his life. "For someone who has already given so much of her time, energy and enthusiasm to the University at Buffalo, this is the ultimate gift commitment," he said. "I don't know of anyone who is more committed to the success of UB athletics than Nan Harvey."
Harvey had continued to play a role in UB Athletics, despite undergoing regular chemotherapy treatments.
"Nan battled ovarian cancer bravely for over three years, and throughout it all, showed us a level of perseverance that was remarkable," said Bill Maher, interim director of athletics who had worked with Harvey since 1998. "Never one to complain, Nan simply put her efforts into making an impact in the lives of others through her work and friendship. For that, we all have benefited."
A Cheektowaga native, Harvey's affiliation with UB dates back to 1974, when she first put on a blue-and-white uniform as a member of the volleyball team. Harvey played volleyball as a freshman and a sophomore, and also was a member of the basketball team for three seasons, captaining the 1976-77 squad to a 7-9 record.
After graduating cum laude from UB in 1978 with a degree in physical education, Harvey returned to her alma mater in 1983 to head its softball program. Although softball was her first love, she had been unable to participate in the sport as an undergraduate because the university at that time didn't offer it at the varsity level.
She recorded 38 wins over the next three years as head coach, and earned 1985 SUNYAC Coach of the Year honors after guiding UB to its best record ever (19-9), a national ranking of 12th in the country and an appearance in the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament.
Harvey also coached the women's basketball team from 1985-90, including its first two seasons competing at the Division II level. She guided UB to winning records and postseason berths in each of those two seasons, and she led her team to a first-place finish in the SUNYAC West Division in 1986-87. Harvey had served as an assistant coach for two years before taking over the head coaching reins.
In addition to her duties at UB, Harvey was active in the Western New York softball scene, both as a player and as an umpire. In 1991, she was inducted into the WNY Softball Hall of Fame as a player and in 1996 was named the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Metro Buffalo Umpire of the Year. Harvey received one of the most prestigious honors that can be bestowed upon an ASA umpire when she was inducted into the National Indicator Fraternity of the Amateur Softball Hall of Fame in 1996.
Her name appears on a plaque in the National Softball Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.
She umpired in various national tournaments, including the 1992 Men's Major Industrial Slow Pitch, the 1995 and 1996 Women's Major Slow Pitch and the 1995, 1996 and 1997 NCAA Division III National Championships.
She received her International Softball Federation Umpire Certification for slow-pitch competition in 1996, which made her eligible to officiate international slow-pitch contests as a representative of the United States.
Most recently, Harvey was inducted into the Metro Buffalo ASA Hall of Fame in March. She was to begin serving a four-year term on the NCAA Division I softball committee this month.
During her career at UB, Harvey also served as strength and conditioning coach, as aquatics coordinator for the Department of Recreation and Intramurals, as race director for the Linda Yalem Memorial 5K Run and as an assistant professor in the Division of Athletics.
She earned a master's degree in exercise science from UB in 1987 and had been a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the Amateur Softball Association.
Visiting hours will be held from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. today and tomorrow at Amigone Funeral Home, 569 Cleveland Drive, Cheektowaga.
Flowers are gratefully declined. Contributions may be made to the UB Division of Athletics, UB Women's Athletics or the UB Athletic Scholarship Fund.