Del Harris Rumors
“John Wooden was the guy that was the epitome of basketball for me and a lot of others when we were kids,” Harris said. “So when I started coaching, he was on top, and I went wherever I could to listen to his clinics. “I was a poor representation of John Wooden, I’m sure. But when I was in Los Angeles, I was able to spend time with him. I sat at the UCLA practices to watch his team practice. I took him to lunch; I sat in his apartment an entire afternoon just talking about basketball and life.”
Texas Legends assistant general manager Del Harris will receive the John Wooden “Keys to Life” Award during ceremonies held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington next month at the NCAA Final Four. The award is given to a professional or college basketball coach or player who models the characteristics of Wooden, the late, legendary coach who led UCLA to 10 national titles from 1964-75.
Said Harris on Sunday: “Rick will be known by his friends and those players who followed him closely by one short sentence: He cared. “Regardless of how demanding he was, Rick proved his love for friends and players past and present in a myriad of ways. I have recorded and saved voicemails he has sent me and my son Dominic has saved encouraging letters Rick sent him from years past. Obviously I could go on and on. “He had tons of friends (in the game). He was totally dedicated to his family, particularly caring for his mother after his father died. He called me the brother he never had and I suspect he used that expression a lot.”
Rick Majerus’ solitary season on an NBA bench in 1986-87 was spent as a Milwaukee Bucks assistant to head coach Don Nelson and sidekick to then-Bucks assistant Del Harris. Nelson and Harris quickly became two of Majerus’ closest friends in the game. The longtime college basketball coach’s passing Saturday was thus felt deeply in Dallas, where the Nelson-and-Harris tag team remains firmly entrenched after they reunited with the Mavericks from 2000 through 2007 alongside current Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson.