EC basketball coaching great Del Harris to receive lifetime achievement award | Earlham College Skip to Content

EC basketball coaching great Del Harris to receive lifetime achievement award

February 25, 2019

Former Earlham basketball coaching great Del Harris will receive the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame later this year.

Harris’ latest recognition, which came earlier this month during the NBA All Star Weekend, is considered the most prestigious award outside of being enshrined into the Hall of Fame. Previous recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award include such basketball luminaries as John Wooden, Red Auerbach and the Harlem Globetrotters.

“Del Harris is an outstanding coach and made a lasting impact on me as a student-athlete,” says Earlham Interim President Avis Stewart ’74, who played for Harris from 1970-74. “He was focused not only on making us better players, but better people off the court as well. I’m thrilled that he continues to be recognized for his many contributions to the game of basketball.”

Harris coached at Earlham from 1965 to 1974 and led the Quakers to several conference and tournament titles. With a record of 175-70, he is the winningest basketball coach in the College’s history. 

In 2014, after being announced as the recipient of the Coach Wooden “Keys to Life” Award, Harris said he was indebted to Earlham for being hired after only having five years of experience coaching at the junior and high school level.

“Without Earlham College and then President Landrum Bolling taking a chance on a 27-year-old coach who was just beginning to learn, there is little chance that I would have had the time to have had all of these experiences,” Harris said. “And without the truly outstanding players who took a chance on Earlham College and me, it would not have happened regardless.” 

In a 54-year coaching career, and more than 60 years of involvement in the game, Harris has found success at virtually every level of basketball.

At Earlham, Harris’ best seasons were in 1967-68 when he was a national finalist for NAIA Coach of the Year after the Quakers went 25-3 and ranked 6th in the nation. During the 1970-71 season, the Quakers went 24-5, were ranked 12th in the final polls, won the Hoosier Collegiate Conference championship, and earned the school’s only berth into the NAIA National Tournament. 

He is considered one of the NBA’s most successful coaches, making it to the NBA Finals in 1981 and earning the title of NBA Coach of the Year in 1995 as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. He is currently vice president of the Texas Legends, an affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA’s G-League.

— EC —

Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. We rank 7th nationally by Princeton Review for Best Classroom Experience and 22nd by U.S. News and World Report for commitment to undergraduate teaching.

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and


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