Del Harris is in his sixth full season as an assistant coach for the Mavericks after joining the franchise during the last two months of the 1999-2000 season. During his time with the Mavericks, the team has posted an impressive 295-135 (.686) record.
Harris is one of the most experienced coaches in the NBA, becoming the 20th coach to record over 500 wins. With 13-plus years as a head coach, he has compiled a 556-457 overall record with three different teams. In his last eight full seasons, Harris’ clubs won over 400 games. After being named head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers prior to the 1994-95 season, Harris compiled an impressive 218-110 record (.665), highlighted by the 1997-98 season’s 61-21 mark, the best record ever for a Harris-led club. He joined Pat Riley as the only coach in L.A. franchise history to register three consecutive 50-plus wins in a season, including the 61-win season.
In 1994-95, during Harris’ first season with the Lakers, Los Angeles went from a lottery team the season before to a 48-win team that beat Seattle, the division winner, in the first round of the playoffs. That year Harris received the NBA Coach of the Year award. In his last three seasons with Los Angeles, the Lakers scored the most total points in the league. Also in 1997-98, the Lakers became only the third team in NBA history to lead the league in scoring while holding the opponents below 100 points per game for the season.
Prior to joining the Lakers, Harris coached in Milwaukee, where he guided the Bucks to four consecutive playoff appearances and compiled a 191-154 overall record (.554) in his four-plus seasons as the head coach (from 1987-88 through the first part of 1991-92). During his tenure at Milwaukee, the Bucks established several franchise records, including longest home-winning streak (18), free throw percentage (.820, a then-NBA record) and steals (894). Before assuming Milwaukee’s head coaching position in June of 1987, Harris served as the Bucks scout and assistant coach under then-head coach Don Nelson (1983-1987).
Del landed his initial NBA job with the Houston Rockets in 1976, spending three years as an assistant coach under Tom Nissalke. The Rockets promoted Harris following Nissalke’s departure prior to the 1979-80 campaign. He led the Rockets to playoff berths his first three seasons, highlighted by a trip to the 1981 NBA Finals where Houston lost to the Boston Celtics in six games. The Rockets established a then-NBA record during their march to the Western Conference Championship that season, winning eight games on the road during the playoffs, including the decisive game over the defending champion Lakers at the Forum in the first round.
The 67-year-old Plainfield, Ind. native has flourished at virtually every level in 45 years of coaching, including the NBA, collegiate, overseas and high school ranks. As the head coach for Earlham College (Indiana), he led the team to a school-record 176 victories and the first three conference championships in the school’s history during his nine-year stint there. Harris also gained international experience as he coached seven seasons in Puerto Rico (1969-75), posting a 176-61 record and winning three national championships. He also was an advisor to the Canada National Team in 1993-94 for the 1994 World Games.
Harris has also developed many young players into All-Stars in the NBA. In four years at Los Angeles, he had five different players make the All-Star Team, four for the first time (Cedric Ceballos, Eddie Jones, Nick Van Exel and Kobe Bryant). He had three players make the All-Rookie Team, including Jones, Bryant and Travis Knight. He also worked with three-time NBA MVP Moses Malone at the Utah Stars and Houston Rockets in Malone’s developmental years. In the summer of 1998, Del served as one of the assistant coaches for the bronze medal-winning Team USA at the World Championship of Basketball in Athens, Greece. This past summer he coached the the Chinese National Team and led them out of the preliminaries to an eighth place finish at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Their win against defending World Champion Serbia was China’s first ever over a world class recognized team. Harris attended Milligan College in Tennessee, where he graduated cum laude in 1959 with a degree in religion. He earned a master’s degree in history from Indiana University in 1965.
Del and his wife, Anne, have one son, Nik, who is a sophomore in high school. He has four children from a previous marriage, sons Larry, Alex and Stan, and daughter Carey. He is also the grandfather of five.
The Phil Jackson Effect
Del Harris, while not a coach of Collins' stature, had acquitted himself well in stops with the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks. Moreover, he had guided the Lakers to a 61-win campaign in 1997-98, the last full season before his firing. Yes, his ...
NBA Coaches of the Year
1995 — Del Harris, L.A. Lakers. 1994 — Lenny Wilkens, Atlanta. 1993 — Pat Riley, New York. 1992 — Don Nelson, Golden State. 1991 — Don Chaney, Houston. 1990 — Pat Riley, L.A. Lakers. 1989 — Cotton Fitzsimmons, Phoenix. 1988 — Doug Moe ...
Suns GM McDonough: Focus is on hiring best head coach available
Valley of the Suns
It surely hasn't been that kind to Del Harris which is a serious shame. 14 CoachJ // May 10, 2013 (2 weeks ago) at 10:41 am. I think they made a mistake in hiring this GM. The bold aggressive move would have been to go to Phil Jackson and give him the ...
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