Del Harris: Retiring


According to Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald: “Bulls assistant Del Harris will announce plans to retire from coaching today. Harris, 71, worked one season on the Bulls bench after spending the previous eight seasons as an assistant with Dallas. The Indiana native was a head coach for 14 seasons with Milwaukee, Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers. He was NBA coach of the year in 1995 with the Lakers and led the Rockets to the 1981 NBA Finals.”

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune got a few words out of Harris regarding his looooong career: “I’m proud of the 50 years. I didn’t want to quit after 49. And though I never won that title, I don’t think that’s a failure. I’ve impacted people. I still have players I coached in high school and college who call me. That means more to me than wins.”

And here’s the “but” statement on the relative finality of his retirement: “Like Michael Jordan, Brett Favre and Muhammad Ali, I reserve the right to change my mind.”

My enduring memory of Del — other than his amazing turn as Lieutenant Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun movies — is of his Coach of the Year performance in 1994-95, when he coaxed 48 wins and a first-round upset of the Seattle Sonics out of a Lakers squad that featured a starting lineup of Nick Van Exel, Cedric Ceballos, Anthony Peeler, Vlade Divac and Elden Campbell. (And mind you, that Sonics team would make it all the way to the NBA Finals the next season…where they lost to the Bulls.)

Meanwhile, Vinny Del Negro now has an empty spot next to him on the bench. Who’s going to fill it? According to the Johnson: “[the vacancy] could be filled by holdover Pete Myers or another candidate. League sources said former Bulls guard and current Sacramento Kings assistant Randy Brown interviewed with Del Negro here at this week’s NBA predraft camp, although indications are Brown could be hired in a player development role rather than coaching. Myers, whose contract ends after June, had been relegated to a behind-the-bench role with little input last season. Still, sources indicate Myers remains in good standing with the organization and that attempts to have Del Negro expand his role could be made.”

More Del: profile
Wikipedia entry
Basketball-reference page

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