The Chicago Bulls announced today, that after 50 years of coaching, assistant coach Del Harris has elected to retire from basketball.
“I would like to thank Del Harris for all of his hard work and dedication this past season,” said Gar Forman, Chicago Bulls General Manager. “He has had a terrific career and we wish him the best in his retirement.”
Harris, 71, just completed his first season with the Bulls as an assistant on head coach Vinny Del Negro’s staff. He enjoyed success at every level in 50 years of coaching, including the NBA, collegiate, international and high school ranks.
Harris began his NBA coaching career as an assistant with the Houston Rockets in 1976, and was a coach or scout/consultant in the NBA for 29 seasons – including 27 trips to the NBA Playoffs. His stints include: Houston (1976-83), Milwaukee (1983-91), L.A. Lakers (1994-98), Dallas (2000-08) and Chicago (2008-09). In 12 full seasons as a head coach, Harris compiled a 556-457 (.549) overall record with three different teams (L.A. Lakers – 1994-98, Milwaukee – 1987-91, Houston – 1979-83).
Overall, he coached in 202 career playoff games (88 as a head coach), including an NBA Finals appearance in 1981 with the Rockets.
Harris was the recipient of the 1995 NBA Coach of the Year Award with the Lakers, and joins Pat Riley and Phil Jackson as the only coaches in Los Angeles franchise history to register three consecutive 50-plus win seasons.
“I was very fortunate to have Del by my side this past season. His knowledge and understanding of the game were an incredible benefit and help,” said Vinny Del Negro, Chicago Bulls Head Coach. “He has had a tremendous and successful coaching career that is quite remarkable. In his 50 years of coaching, he has had such a positive impact on so many people’s lives on and off the court. I was truly thankful for his support and encouragement throughout last season. I can only wish Del and his family all the best.”
Prior to coaching in the NBA, Harris spent seven seasons in Puerto Rico (1969-75), posting a 176-61 record. He guided Puerto Rico to a gold medal at the 1974 Central American Games, and a silver and bronze medal at the 1973 and 1974 World Club Championships with Club Bayamon (Puerto Rico). Collegiately, Harris spent nine years at Earlham College (Indiana) where he led the team to a school-record 176 victories, and the first three conference championships in school history. The Plainfield, Ind. native is a member of both the state of Indiana Hall of Fame and the NAIA Hall of Fame.