Former Pacific Lutheran, Washington State and Washington head coach Marv Harshman died Friday morning, April 12. 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 Edmundsons 488.
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 would 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."