Seattle • Marv Harshman, who spent 40 years coaching college basketball in the state of Washington and was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1985, died Friday at 95.
The University of Washington, where Harshman concluded his coaching career in 1985, confirmed Harshman's death. Current Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar who played for Harshman at Washington said he spoke with Harshman's son, Dave, Friday morning after his former coach passed away.
"We obviously lost a legend. I learned so much from Coach. He is one of the main reasons I'm here at the University of Washington," Romar said in a statement. "I went to Washington expecting to play with a legendary coach; I didn't know I would get the bonus of playing for a legendary person. He will be missed by all of us."
Harshman was a basketball fixture in the state for nearly half a century. He started his coaching career at his alma mater, Pacific Lutheran, where he led the then-NAIA school to a spot in the national championship game in 1959.
From the NAIA level he moved across the state to Pullman, where he coached at Washington State for 13 seasons. He went 155-181 coaching on the Palouse, and then moved to Seattle for his final coaching job at Washington.
Harshman spent 14 seasons on Montlake before retiring in 1985 and had his most success there. He won 20 or more games with the Huskies four times and went to the NCAA tournament three times. He coached Romar from 1978-80, and called Detlef Schrempf the best player he ever coached. Harshman went 246-146 at Washington, the second-most victories all time at the school behind Hec Edmundson. He retired with more than 600 victories at the college level.
Additionally, he served on the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1975-1981 and was the head coach of the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the Pan-Am Games in 1975.
Even as his health declined, Harshman remained a fixture at Washington games, attending a few per season until a couple of years ago.
"I've gone to many banquets and award shows where he was being honored and he just was revered by so many people; everyone from Bobby Knight to Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) and on and on and on," Romar said. "I could always say I played for Marv Harshman and right away those great ones know who he is not just in the state of Washington."