Russell Harwood has been Chess Program Director since November, 2005.
From 1996 to 2005, Harwood was a teacher in the Brownsville Independent School District. His involvement with scholastic chess began in 1997 when co-founded and coached the chess team at Morningside Elementary. At the 2000 State Scholastic Chess Championships, Morningside won the primary and elementary state titles, still the only school to win both sections in the same year. Morningside’s success in chess got the attention of Hispanic Magazine, and Morningside was named one of their “Schools of Excellence” for the year, one of only five in the nation. Harwood was invited to Washington, D.C., with Principal Jay Harris to accept the award. In 2001, Harwood moved with his principal to help open a new BISD school, Dr. Americo Paredes Elementary. A chess team was formed, and Paredes Elementary began experiencing immediate success, highlighted by second place individual and team finishes at nationals the first year. During Harwood’s time at Paredes Elementary, they won numerous state championships and national championships in chess.
Since becoming Chess Program Director at UTB, Russell Harwood has served as a member of the United States Chess Federation’s (USCF) College Chess Committee (CCC). He has been Chairman of the CCC since December, 2010. He also serves on the USCF’s Scholastic Chess Committee and the USCF’s Women’s Chess Committee. In 2008, Harwood was honored by the USCF for his “Special Services” after serving as Head of the Delegation from the United States at the North American Youth Chess Championships, held in Aguascalientes, Mexico, in the fall of 2007. In 2009, Harwood was honored for his”dedication and contribution that has made a lasting impact to students in the chess community” by the State Scholastic Championship Organizing Committee, only the second person to be so recognized.
Harwood, a native of Brownsville, received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State) in 1981. He also attended Texas Southmost College.