James R. “Jim” Harrick (born July 25, 1938) is an American former basketball coach who coached at UCLA, Pepperdine University, the University of Rhode Island and the University of Georgia over a combined total of 23 seasons.
Born in Charleston, West Virginia, Harrick graduated in 1960 from Morris Harvey College, now known as the University of Charleston. He is of Lebanese ancestry. On November 20, 2009 Sally Lee Harrick, his wife of 49 years, died aged 70 from complications of scleroderma.
College coaching career
Harrick’s coaching career began at Morningside High School in Inglewood, California where he served as an assistant coach from 1964–1969 and as head coach from 1970–1973. He was then hired as an assistant coach at Utah State from 1974–1977. Harrick then spent two seasons as an assistant coach at UCLA from 1978–1979. His first collegiate head coaching job was at Pepperdine University in 1979, where he led the school to four NCAA Tournament appearances and was a conference coach of the year four times.
In 1988, he returned to UCLA to assume head coaching duties after the firing of Walt Hazzard. During the recruiting period before his first season, he recruited Don MacLean which was the most significant recruit to commit to UCLA in several years and helped start a revival of the basketball program. During the 1994–1995 season, he led UCLA to a 31–2 record (a loss to California was subsequently forfeited to the Bruins) and the school’s eleventh national championship, its first since the 1974–75 season. The 31 wins would stand as a school record until the 2005–06 season. A year later, Harrick’s Bruins were upset in the first round by Princeton.
As it turned out, this would be the last game Harrick would coach in Westwood. Shortly before the start of the 1996–97 season, he was accused of falsifying receipts at a student-athlete recruiting dinner when two current players, Cameron Dollar and Charles O’Bannon, joined the table. Since Harrick paid for the entire meal, it amounted to an improper extra benefit for Dollar and O’Bannon. To cover up their presence, Harrick included the names of his wife and the wife of newly hired assistant Michael Holton on the expense report. When the school investigated, Harrick told Holton to tell athletic director Peter Dalis that Holton’s wife was at the meal. However, a day later, Holton confessed that this wasn’t true. On November 6, 1996, Dalis and school chancellor Chuck Young gave Harrick an ultimatum—resign by the next morning or be fired. Harrick opted to take the firing. Although picking up the tab for Dollar and O’Bannon was a secondary violation at best, Young and Dalis felt Harrick’s attempted cover-up was unforgivable. However, Harrick claims that the NCAA has cleared him of wrongdoing.
After a one-year hiatus, Harrick returned to coaching by accepting the head coach position at Rhode Island. He coached the Rams for two seasons (from 1997–99), where in both years they qualified for the NCAA Tournament. During the 1998 tournament, the Rams upset Kansas in the second round and reached the Midwest Regional finals but were defeated by Stanford 79–77. In his second season, he managed to recruit Lamar Odom and led the Rams to their first Atlantic 10 Conferencetournament title.
After the season, he left URI to become the head coach at the University of Georgia. He served there for four seasons (1999–00 through 2002–03), leading the Bulldogsto the NCAA tournament twice following a losing record.
His tenure at Georgia ended in controversy in the spring of 2003. His son, Jim Harrick, Jr., a Georgia assistant, got into trouble for paying $300 in expenses for one of his players, Tony Cole. He also gave an “A” to Cole, Rashad Wright and Chris Daniels for a basketball strategy class even though they never attended the class. After the story broke, Georgia pulled out of the 2003 SEC Tournament and withdrew from postseason consideration. The school suspended Harrick, Jr. on February 28, 2003 and fired him five days later. Harrick, Sr. was suspended on March 10 and resigned on March 27 after being told his contract wouldn’t be renewed.
An NCAA investigation confirmed the violations and also found that six players didn’t pay for over $1,500 of long-distance telephone calls in December 2001. The telephone charges in question were due to hotel error and ultimately never charged to the program. Since they weren’t valid charges, Georgia didn’t self-report the violations until an internal investigation into the program in July 2003. In 2004 the NCAA placed Georgia on four years’ probation for the violations. It also forced the Bulldogs to vacate half of their wins from 2001–02 and all of their wins from 2002–03—30 games in all. Harrick, Jr. was given a seven-year show-cause penalty order for his role in the academic fraud, as well as telling two of the players involved to lie to the NCAA. The “show-cause” effectively blackballed him from the college ranks until 2011 at the earliest.
On June 13, 2006, Harrick accepted the head coaching position for the recently created Bakersfield Jam, a NBA Development League expansion team. Harrick resigned for personal reasons in December 2007, after the Jam struggled to a 2–14 record.
Head coaching record
|Pepperdine (West Coast Athletic Conference) (1979–1988)|
|1981–82||Pepperdine||22–7||14–0||1st||NCAA Second Round|
|1982–83||Pepperdine||20–9||10–2||1st||NCAA First Round|
|1984–85||Pepperdine||23–9||11–1||1st||NCAA First Round|
|1985–86||Pepperrdine||25–5||13–1||1st||NCAA First Round|
|UCLA (Pacific-10 Conference) (1988–1996)|
|1988–89||UCLA||21–10||13–5||3rd||NCAA Second Round|
|1989–90||UCLA||22–11||11–7||4th||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1990–91||UCLA||23–9||11–7||2nd||NCAA First Round|
|1991–92||UCLA||28–5||16–2||1st||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1992–93||UCLA||22–11||11–7||3rd||NCAA Second Round|
|1993–94||UCLA||21–7||13–5||2nd||NCAA First Round|
|1995–96||UCLA||23–8||16–2||1st||NCAA First Round|
|Rhode Island (Atlantic 10 Conference) (1997–1999)|
|1997–98||Rhode Island||25–9||12–4||2nd (East)||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1998–99||Rhode Island||20–13||10–6||2nd (East)||NCAA First Round|
|Georgia (Southeastern Conference) (1999–2003)|
|2000–01||Georgia||16–15||9–7||3rd (East)||NCAA First Round|
|2001–02||Georgia||22–10*||10–6*||T-1st (East)*||NCAA Second Round*|
| 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
*Georgia vacated 11 wins in 2001–02 and all of its wins in 2002–03, as well as its share of the 2002 SEC East title and its 2002 NCAA Tournament appearance, due to an academic fraud scandal. Official record for 2001–02 is 11–10 (0–6 SEC), official record for 2002–03 is 0–8 (0–5 SEC).
**Record at Georgia is 37–53 (3–30 SEC) without vacated games.
- 1999: Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship (Rhode Island)
- 1995: NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship (UCLA)
- 1995: National Coach of the Year (Naismith, NABC)
- 1992, 1995–1996: Pac-10 Conference Championship (UCLA)
- 1992, 1995–1996: Pac-10 Coach of the Year (UCLA)
- 1990: Morris Harvey College-University of Charleston Golden Eagle Sports Hall of Fame
- 1981–1983, 1985–1986: West Coast Athletic Conference Championship (Pepperdine)
- 1982–1983, 1985–1986: West Coast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year (Pepperdine)
- 14-Time NCAA Division I Tournament
- Winning Percentage: 451–227 (.665)