September 12, 2010
Yesterday we had a visit from Del Harris, 35 years an NBA coach and also coach of four different international teams (Canada, China Puerto Rico and the United States). Years ago he started as a high school coach, but then moved on to college coaching at Earlham College in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Yesterday afternoon I invited all the players for our current men’s and women’s teams, their coaches, our athletic director and a few faculty members to a 90 minute discussion of “what we can we do to make this the best year possible in Earlham basketball.” We talked about their preparation and their attitudes, but we also talked about ways to build enthusiasm among Earlham students and faculty and those in the surrounding Richmond community for our teams.
After the discussion we had dinner together and that’s when Del joined us. He comes back to visit from time to time. He’s been a marvellous friend to Earlham. One of his Earlham players, Avis Stewart (’74), now our Vice President for Community Relations, introduced Del to the current players.
Del reminisced about his years at Earlham, years in which he coached teams to the best records we have ever enjoyed in basketball. (Note: good coaching, like good teaching, does make a difference.) He especially talked about “teammanship:” what it means to be a good teammate on and off the court.
Del is also an ordained minister, and he talked, too, about how encouragement and support from players to one another and from coaches to players goes much farther than criticism or confrontation.
The season starts just after fall break in October, the practices and then the games. We’ll see what we learned together last evening.