Dick Harter, who died Monday at his Hilton Head, S.C. home, was the first coach the Charlotte Hornets hired. Most of us had not experienced the NBA when the Hornets played their first game in 1988. We looked to Harter for guidance.

On the court, he was so rigid he should have been wearing a whistle.

“He was old school, he demanded a lot, and you always knew where you stood,” says Dell Curry, the Charlotte Bobcats’ broadcaster who played for the first Hornets’ teams. “People either wanted to play for him or they didn’t.”

Off the court, Harter was candid and funny and interested in almost everything. I can say with some certainty that he is the only head coach of a major Charlotte team to ride through Myers Park on a two-seat bike with his wife, Mary, in back and their pet rabbit in a basket in front.

– Reported by the Charlotte Observer