Del Harris
Harris at the White House in February 2009 while a Chicago Bulls assistant coach
Texas Legends
PositionVice president
LeagueNBA G League
Personal information
Born (1937-06-18) June 18, 1937 (age 87)
Dale, Indiana, U.S.
Listed height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Listed weight205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High schoolPlainfield (Plainfield, Indiana)
CollegeMilligan (1955–1959)
Coaching career1965–2012
Career history
As coach:
1973–1975Vaqueros de Bayamón
1975Iberia Superstars
1975–1976Utah Stars (assistant)
19761979Houston Rockets (assistant)
19791983Houston Rockets
1986–1987Milwaukee Bucks (assistant)
19871991Milwaukee Bucks
19941999Los Angeles Lakers
20002007Dallas Mavericks (assistant)
2008–2009Chicago Bulls (assistant)
2009–2010New Jersey Nets (assistant)
2011–2012Texas Legends
Career highlights and awards
As coach:
Career coaching record
NBA556–457 (.549)
Basketball Hall of Fame
Representing  United States
FIBA World Championship
Bronze medal – third place 1998 Greece National team

Delmer William Harris (born June 18, 1937) is an American basketball coach who is currently the vice president of the Texas Legends, the NBA G League affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks. He served as a head coach for the NBA's Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Los Angeles Lakers, as well as the Legends. He was also an assistant coach for the National Basketball Association's New Jersey Nets, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks, and the Houston Rockets.

Early life and college career

Harris is a 1955 graduate of Plainfield High School in Plainfield, Indiana. He was inducted into the first class of Plainfield High School's Hall of Fame.

Harris graduated from Milligan College in 1959 cum laude with a bachelor's degree in religious studies. He was a 3-time All-Conference basketball player for Coach Duard Walker, in addition to the Honorable Mention Little All-American recognition while at Milligan. In 1965, Harris earned a master's degree in history from Indiana University.[1]

High school coach

He began his coaching career at the Junior High School level in Johnson City, Tennessee but is best known for his tenure in his native Indiana; in four years in the Indiana ranks he built a record of 54–15 over his last three seasons, winning two Conference titles and a Sectional title.

He coached at three different high schools in Indiana; the Roachdale Hawks, the Dale Golden Aces and the Spencer Cops; his greatest success came at Dale, as he led the Golden Aces to a 2-year record of 35–9 and a Pocket Athletic Conference title. He also coached the Dale baseball team to a PAC title and a record of 26–7; his success built using players such as Roger Kaiser and Bob Reinhart. He moved to Spencer for the 1964–65 season where they had a 19–6 record, winning another Conference title and an IHSAA Sectional title but lost in the Regional finals to Bloomington. The following year, he was hired by Earlham College.

College coach

Harris was coach at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana for nine seasons, building a record of 175–70 (.714) as he led the Quakers to three Conference (2 Hoosier Collegiate Conf. & 1 Hoosier-Buckeye Collegiate Conf) titles and two Top-12 rankings. His best seasons were 1967–68 when they were ranked 6th in the NAIA final polls with a 25–3 record, making him a finalist for NAIA national coach of the year, and in 1970–71, when the Quakers achieved a record of 24–5. In that year they won the HBCC and reached the National tournament, losing in the 2nd round. He remains, today, as the Earlham coaching leader in wins and winning percentage. He led the Quakers to 15 conference or tournament titles during his tenure.[2]

Professional coach

Harris coached seven summers in the Superior League of Puerto Rico while at Earlham, winning three national titles while coaching against various ABA, NBA and NCAA coaches. He coached the Iberia Superstars of the European Professional Basketball League in early 1975.[3]

After becoming acquainted with Utah Stars head coach Tom Nissalke, he was invited into the professional ranks in 1975 as an assistant coach for Nissalke at the Utah Stars of the American Basketball Association (ABA). When that franchise folded, Nissalke and Harris were hired as head and assistant coach, respectively, for the NBA's Houston Rockets at the start of the 1976–77 season. They won the Central Division that year, Nissalke earning Coach of the Year honors.

When Nissalke was let go by the club after the 1979 season, Harris was asked to take over head coaching duties for the 1979–80 season. Harris led the Rockets to the NBA Finals in the 1981 season, where they were defeated by the Boston Celtics four games to two in Larry Bird's first championship. Hall of Famer Moses Malone made Harris the Rockets' winningest coach in the first three years with 128 wins and three trips to the playoffs, but when Philadelphia acquired Malone in free agency, the Rockets sacrificed the season to get Ralph Sampson in the draft. Not signing any of their own free agents, the Rockets finished last and Harris was replaced with Bill Fitch.

Don Nelson hired Harris for the Milwaukee Bucks team, where he became head coach four years later when Nelson left for Golden State after experiencing a rift with Bucks owner Herb Kohl.[4] A year later Harris was also named Vice President of Basketball Operations. Harris would resign from his coaching position near the beginning of the 1991–92 season, and then a few months later step down as Vice President.[5]

After his stint with the Bucks, Harris became head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, winning NBA Coach of the Year honors in 1994–95, winning 48 games a year removed from being in the NBA lottery. In his four full seasons the Lakers won more each successive season, following 48 wins with 53, 56 and 61. In his third season the Lakers acquired 18-year-old Kobe Bryant and 24-year-old Shaquille O'Neal. Despite being the youngest team in the league and O'Neal missing 53 games due to injuries those two seasons, the Lakers eliminated the 61-win Seattle SuperSonics in the playoffs before being eliminated by the Utah Jazz with Karl Malone and John Stockton in the 1997–98 season. The Lakers fired Harris after leading them to a 6–6 start at the beginning of the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season.

Harris was an assistant coach for the Dallas Mavericks from 2000 to 2007.[6]

On July 3, 2008, the Chicago Tribune reported that Harris agreed to become an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls along with former Charlotte Bobcats head coach Bernie Bickerstaff and longtime NBA assistant Bob Ociepka. Along with Bickerstaff and Ociepka, Harris was expected to help establish a veteran presence on the coaching staff and help rookie head coach Vinny Del Negro.[7] In June 2009, it was reported that Harris would step down as assistant coach to the Bulls, and retire after a career spanning 50 years.[8]

On November 30, 2009, after the New Jersey Nets had lost their first 18 games and removed coach Lawrence Frank, GM Kiki VanDeWeghe asked Harris to come help him as he took over the coaching reins. Harris stayed until the week before the All-Star game and announced he would not continue on the rest of the season. He returned to his home in the Dallas area to be the General Manager of the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League, the Mavericks minor league affiliate.

On October 3, 2011, it was announced that Harris would take over as the head coach for the Dallas Mavericks' NBA Development League affiliate the Texas Legends. At age 74 he was the oldest head coach in the history of the NBA system. The following year, he returned to being GM and Eduardo Najera was named head coach. Currently Harris is the Vice President of the Legends.[9]

Starting with the 2017–2018 season, he is serving as a pregame and postgame analyst on Mavs Live on Fox Sports Southwest.


Harris coached seven seasons in Puerto Rico's National Superior League (1969–75), posting a 176–61 record and winning three national championships (1973–75). His club team, the Bayamón Vaqueros, won bronze in the FIBA Will Jones Cup in 1972 in São Paulo Brazil, the championships for World Club team. He also served as head coach of the National Team for the CentroBasket games in El Salvador in 1974, winning the first international gold in Puerto Rico's history. He also coached the team to a silver in the FIBA Copa do America X Europa in São Paulo, Brazil in 1974.

In 1994, he served as consultant for Canada and assisted head coach, Ken Shields, in the World Games in Toronto.

He was an assistant coach under Rudy Tomjanovich with the US national team in the 1998 FIBA World Championship, winning the bronze medal. The team was handicapped by only using college players as there was a lockout in the NBA.[10]

Harris also served as the first foreigner to become coach of the Chinese national men's team, where he coached NBA All-Star center Yao Ming and led China to a surprising upset victory over Serbia and Montenegro in the 2004 Athens Olympic basketball tournament.

In the fall of 2011, Harris assisted coach John Calipari with the Dominican Republic national team. They won bronze in 2011 FIBA Americas Championship in Mar del Plata, Argentina (the first major basketball medal in the Dominic Republic's history). In winning the bronze medal they qualified for the 2012 World Olympic qualifier in Caracas, Venezuela. They finished fourth, thus missing to qualify for the Olympics by one game in both years. They did win the gold medal at the CentroBasket Games held in Puerto Rico prior to the World Qualifier, beating the host time for the first time ever on their home court.

In 2010, he was awarded the Jerry Colangelo Award for Leadership and character on and off the court at the NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. In 2014, he received the Coach John Wooden "Keys to Excellence" Award the NCAA Final Four in Dallas.

He is a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, the NAIA Basketball Hall of Fame as well as those of Milligan College and Earlham College.

Personal life

Harris is the father of five children including Golden State Warriors Assistant General manager Larry Harris.[11]

Harris is a devout Christian and is involved in several Christian organizations, among those organizations is the Del and Ann Harris Foundation, which promotes Christian education and missions.[12]


On February 15, 2019, Harris was named as one of two 2019 recipients of the John Bunn Award (with Harry Glickman), awarded by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a lifetime achievement honor for those "whose outstanding accomplishments have impacted the high school, college, professional and/or the international game."[13]

On April 2, 2022, Harris was announced as one of sixteen members to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for the Class of 2022 and inducted September 10, 2022.[14]


Harris appeared in some minor roles in Space Jam, Over the Top, In the House, and Diagnosis Murder.[15]

Head coaching record


Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Earlham Quakers (NAIA independent) (1965–1966)
1965–66 Earlham 14–8
Earlham Quakers (Hoosier College Conference / Hoosier–Buckeye Conference) (1966–1975)
1966–67 Earlham 15–9 6–6 4th
1967–68 Earlham 25–3 11–1 1st NAIA District 21 Playoffs
1968–69 Earlham 18–8 9–3 2nd NAIA District 21 Playoffs
1969–70 Earlham 22–8 10–2 2nd NAIA District 21 Playoffs
1970–71 Earlham 24–5 7–1 1st NAIA Second Round
1971–72 Earlham 21–9 7–1 1st NAIA District 21 Playoffs
1972–73 Earlham 17–11 10–6 3rd NAIA District 21 Playoffs
1973–74 Earlham 19–9 10–6 3rd NAIA District 21 Playoffs
Earlham: 175–70 70–26
Total: 175–70

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
Houston 1979–80 82 41 41 .500 2nd in Central 7 2 5 .286 Lost in Conference semifinals
Houston 1980–81 82 40 42 .488 2nd in Midwest 21 12 9 .571 Lost in NBA Finals
Houston 1981–82 82 46 36 .561 2nd in Midwest 3 1 2 .333 Lost in First round
Houston 1982–83 82 14 68 .171 6th in Midwest Missed Playoffs
Milwaukee 1987–88 82 42 40 .512 4th in Central 5 2 3 .400 Lost in First round
Milwaukee 1988–89 82 49 33 .598 4th in Central 9 3 6 .333 Lost in Conference semifinals
Milwaukee 1989–90 82 44 38 .537 3rd in Central 4 1 3 .250 Lost in First round
Milwaukee 1990–91 82 48 34 .585 3rd in Central 3 0 3 .000 Lost in First round
Milwaukee 1991–92 17 8 9 .471 (resigned)
L.A. Lakers 1994–95 82 48 34 .585 3rd in Pacific 10 5 5 .500 Lost in Conference semifinals
L.A. Lakers 1995–96 82 53 29 .646 2nd in Pacific 4 1 3 .250 Lost in First round
L.A. Lakers 1996–97 82 56 26 .683 2nd in Pacific 9 4 5 .444 Lost in Conference semifinals
L.A. Lakers 1997–98 82 61 21 .744 1st in Pacific 13 7 6 .538 Lost in Conference finals
L.A. Lakers 1998–99 12 6 6 .500 (fired)
Career 1,013 556 457 .549 88 38 50 .432


Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
Texas Legends 2011–12 50 24 26 .480 4th in Western Missed Playoffs
Career 50 24 26 .480


Harris has been inducted into the Plainfield High School Hall of Fame, the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame,[16] the Milligan College Hall of Fame, and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.[6] On April 2, 2022, he was elected to the National Basketball Hall of Fame.[17]


  1. ^ "Del Harris". NBA. Archived from the original on January 31, 2015. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  2. ^ "Del Harris | Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  3. ^ "Asi es el "Iberia Superstars" que mañana llega a Barcelona" [This is how the "Iberia Superstars", who arrive in Barcelona tomorrow, are [organised]] (in Spanish). La Vanguardia. January 26, 1975. p. 55. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  4. ^ "Don Nelson resigned as coach of the Milwaukee Bucks".
  5. ^ "Harris bails out".
  6. ^ a b " Del Harris". Archived from the original on November 19, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  7. ^ K. C. Johnson (July 3, 2008). "Bulls focus on own". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on July 3, 2008.
  8. ^ "NBA's Harris retires after 50 seasons on bench". June 1, 2009. Archived from the original on April 25, 2018. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  9. ^ Eddie Sefko (October 3, 2011). "Former Mavericks assistant Del Harris to coach Texas Legends". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on October 6, 2011.
  10. ^ 1998 USA Basketball Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "NBA playoffs: Larry & del Harris have mutual rooting interest in Warriors-Rockets series". May 28, 2018.
  12. ^ "NBA Legends AC Green, del Harris Honored at All-Star Breakfast". February 21, 2011.
  13. ^ "Del Harris & Harry Glickman to Receive Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's 2019 John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award". February 15, 2019. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  14. ^ "Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announces 13 members for the Class of 2022".
  15. ^ "Del Harris". IMDb. Archived from the original on April 15, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  16. ^ "Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame » Delmar Harris". Archived from the original on November 25, 2010. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
  17. ^ "Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announces 13 members for the Class of 2022".