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Coaching icon Marv Harshman dies at 95

Post by Todd Dybas / The News Tribune on April 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm with 1 Comment »
April 12, 2013 3:03 pm
Former Washington, Washington State and PLU coach Marv Harshman died Friday. He was 95. / Bruce Kellman, The News Tribune
Former Washington, Washington State and PLU coach Marv Harshman died Friday. He was 95. / Bruce Kellman, The News Tribune

Former Pacific Lutheran, Washington State and Washington head coach Marv Harshman died in his sleep Friday morning. He was 95.

In 13 years at PLU, Harshman was 235-136. He went on to Washington State and compiled a 155-181 record before coming to Washington, where he led the Huskies to a 246-146 record, plus three NCAA Tournament records from 1972-85.

He led Washington to three 20-win seasons and one of the practice courts in Hec Edmundson Pavilion is named for him.

Harshman was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1985. His 246 wins at Washington are second all-time to Hec Edmundson’s 488.

He was national coach of the year in 1984, leading UW to the Sweet 16. He was also conference coach of the year in ’82 and ’84.

Harshman coached the Huskies to 20 or more wins four times in 14 seasons, and led them to the NCAA tournament three times.

He was on the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1975 to ’82 and coached the United States to a gold medal in the ’75 Pan American Games.

One of Harshman’s former players is current Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar. Romar flew back home to Los Angeles following his recruiting trip to Washington in the late 1970s, and in the L.A. airport he spotted UCLA head coach John Wooden. They hadn’t met prior.

Romar approached Wooden, explained who he was and his recruiting situation. Wooden told him, “If you have a chance, to play for Marv Harshman, I’d say it’d be hard to turn that down.”

So, he did. That was a start of a 30-plus year relationship between Romar and Harshman.

When he first decided to enter coaching, Romar called Harshman for advice. When his team had trouble scoring against a certain opponent a few years back, Romar showed Harshman the tape and asked how he wold attack it. The Huskies would bring Harshman into practice and he often watched their games from a second-level perch behind the home basket while Romar was coach.

“He was a mentor; he was an inspiration; he was my coach,” Romar said by phone Friday.

Harshman challenged his players with a stern approach and expected them to adapt to him, not the other way around.

“He was very hard-nosed,” Romar said. “He had a certain way he wanted it done and he didn’t tolerate it any other way. He wasn’t going to change for you. You better figured out what he wanted and figure out how to do it, if you wanted to play.”

Yet, one of the lingering memories of Harshman for Romar was how he treated his parents during a home visit.

“They weren’t big-time celebrities like he was,” Romar said. “But, he treated them with a very genuine spirit.”

Current Washington assistant coaches Paul Fortier and Brad Jackson also played for Harshman.

More to come.

Head coaching record
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Pacific Lutheran (Independents/Evergreen Intercollegegiate Conference) (1945–1958)
1945-1946 Pacific Lutheran 6-14
1946-1947 Pacific Lutheran 8-13
1947-1948 Pacific Lutheran 17-14
1948-1949 Pacific Lutheran 24-7
1949-1950 Pacific Lutheran 19-8 8-6 4th
1950-1951 Pacific Lutheran 20-11 10-4 T-2nd
1951-1952 Pacific Lutheran 16-10 7-5 3rd
1952-1953 Pacific Lutheran 16-10 8-4 T-2nd
1953-1954 Pacific Lutheran 18-10 8-4 2nd
1954-1955 Pacific Lutheran 17-6 10-2 T-1st
1955-1956 Pacific Lutheran 25-6 15-3 1st
1956-1957 Pacific Lutheran 28-1 12-0 1st
1957-1958 Pacific Lutheran 21-6 12-0 1st
Pacific Lutheran: 235-136 90-28

Washington State Cougars (Pacific Coast Conference/Independents/AAWU/Pac-8) (1958–1971)
1958-1959 Washington St 10-16 3-13 T-8th
1959-1960 Washington St 13-13
1960-1961 Washington St 10-16
1961-1962 Washington St 8-18
1962-1963 Washington St 5-20
1963-1964 Washington St 5-21 2-13 6th
1964-1965 Washington St 9-17 6-8 5th
1965-1966 Washington St 15-11 6-8 T-4th
1966-1967 Washington St 15-11 8-6 2nd
1967-1968 Washington St 16-9 8-6 3rd
1968-1969 Washington St 18-6 11-3 2nd
1969-1970 Washington St 19-7 9-5 2nd
1970-1971 Washington St 12-14 2-14 T-8th
Washington St: 155-181 55-76

Washington Huskies (Pac-8/Pac-10) (1971–1985)
1971-1972 Washington 20-8 10-4 2nd
1972-1973 Washington 16-11 6-8 T-5th
1973-1974 Washington 16-10 7-7 4th
1974-1975 Washington 16-10 6-8 T-5th
1975-1976 Washington 23-5 9-5 3rd NCAA 1st Round
1976-1977 Washington 17-10 8-6 T-3rd
1977-1978 Washington 14-13 6-8 T-5th
1978-1979 Washington 11-16 6-12 T-8th
1979-1980 Washington 18-10 9-9 5th
1980-1981 Washington 14-13 8-10 T-5th
1981-1982 Washington 19-10 11-7 4th NIT 2nd Round
1982-1983 Washington 16-15 7-11 T-6th
1983-1984 Washington 24-7 15-3 T-1st NCAA Sweet 16
1984-1985 Washington 22-10 13-5 T-1st NCAA 1st Round
Washington: 246-146 121-103

Leave a comment Comments → 1
  1. guiltybystander says:

    Wow, what a sad day for Northwest sports with both Frosty and Harsh passing away. Two PLU legends gone. Sadness for WSU and UW fans with Marv’s passing. The string of five winning seasons he put together in Pullman with no future NBA players (nor potential NBA players, frankly) is simply remarkable.

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