Dick Harter

Richard Alvin Harter (October 14, 1930 – March 12, 2012) was an American basketball coach who served as both a head and assistant coach in both the NBA and NCAA.[1]

Dick Harter
Dick Harter.jpg
As a Pacers assistant in 2009
Personal information
Born(1930-10-14)October 14, 1930
Pottstown, Pennsylvania
DiedMarch 12, 2012(2012-03-12) (aged 81)
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Career information
High schoolThe Hill School
(Pottstown, Pennsylvania)
CollegePenn (1950–1953)
Coaching career1955–2010
Career history
As coach:
1955–1956Penn (freshmen)
1956–1958Germantown Academy
1958–1965Penn (assistant)
1978–1983Penn State
19831986Detroit Pistons (assistant)
19861988Indiana Pacers (assistant)
19881990Charlotte Hornets
19911994New York Knicks (assistant)
19941997Portland Trail Blazers (assistant)
19972000Indiana Pacers (assistant)
20012004Boston Celtics (assistant)
20042007Philadelphia 76ers (assistant)
20072010Indiana Pacers (assistant)
Career highlights and awards

Early lifeEdit

Born in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, Harter attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia,[2] where he played basketball for the Quakers and graduated in 1953. He served two years as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, and then was an assistant freshman coach back at Penn for a year. He then coached at Germantown Academy for three years, then back to Penn in 1959 as an assistant coach.[3]

College head coachEdit

Harter left Penn in 1965 to become head coach at Rider University, then returned to Penn as its head coach.[2] After success at Penn, with just one regular season defeat in his final two seasons, Harter was hired in April 1971 at the University of Oregon in Eugene.[3] He succeeded Steve Belko, who stepped down after fifteen years and consecutive 17–9 seasons to become assistant athletic director.

Harter was regarded as one of the top defensive coaches in the 1970s, where his "Kamikaze Kids" at Oregon in the Pac-8 were known for a swarming defense. Many basketball notables came from Harter's Duck program, including Stu Jackson and former Oregon head coach Ernie Kent.[4] After seven seasons in Eugene, Harter left Oregon in 1978, at a salary of $38,000 annually, for Penn State and $41,000,[5] where he stayed for five seasons.[2]

NBA coachEdit

Harter's first job in the NBA was as an assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons in the 1982–83 season. He left in 1986 to become an assistant for the Indiana Pacers. In 1988, he was hired into his first head coaching position, with the expansion Charlotte Hornets; he was the franchise's first ever head coach.[6] In the team's second season Harter was fired in 1990 during mid-season when the Hornets' record was 8–32.[7] Harter went on to be an assistant coach for the New York Knicks under Pat Riley (1991-1994), Portland Trail Blazers under P. J. Carlesimo (1994-1997), Indiana Pacers under Larry Bird (1997-2000), and Boston Celtics under Jim O'Brien.[8][9] Harter joined the Philadelphia 76ers' coaching staff on May 5, 2004.[6] On June 13, 2007, Harter joined the Indiana Pacers for the third time, as an assistant coach under O'Brien.[10]


Harter died on March 12, 2012, at the age of 81.[2][11][12] The cause of death was cancer, said Penn athletic director Steve Bilsky, a co-captain on the 1971 team. Harter died at a hospital at Hilton Head, South Carolina, where he had a residence. [13]

Head coaching recordEdit


Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Rider Broncs (NCAA University Division independent) (1965–1966)
1965–66 Rider 16–9
Rider: 16–9
Penn Quakers (Ivy League) (1966–1971)
1966–67 Penn 11–14 7–7 4th
1967–68 Penn 9–17 4–10 T–6th
1968–69 Penn 15–10 10–4 3rd
1969–70 Penn 25–2 14–0 1st NCAA University Division First Round
1970–71 Penn 28–1 14–0 1st NCAA University Division Elite Eight
Penn: 88–44 49–21
Oregon Ducks (Pacific-8 Conference) (1971–1978)
1971–72 Oregon 6–20 0–14 8th
1972–73 Oregon 16–10 8–6 3rd
1973–74 Oregon 15–11 9–5 3rd
1974–75 Oregon 21–9 6–8 T–5th NIT Third Place
1975–76 Oregon 19–11 10–4 T–2nd NIT Quarterfinal
1976–77 Oregon 19–10 9–5 2nd NIT Quarterfinal
1977–78 Oregon 16–11 6–8 T–5th
Oregon: 112–82 48–50
Penn State Nittany Lions (Eastern Athletic Association) (1978–1979)
1978–79 Penn State 12–18 4–6 6th
Penn State Nittany Lions (NCAA Division I independent) (1979–1982)
1979–80 Penn State 18–10 NIT First Round
1980–81 Penn State 17–10
1981–82 Penn State 15–12
Penn State Nittany Lions (Atlantic 10 Conference) (1982–1983)
1982–83 Penn State 17–11 9–5 4th
Penn State: 79–61 13–11
Total: 295–196

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
Charlotte 1988–89 82 20 62 .244 6th in Atlantic Missed Playoffs
Charlotte 1989–90 40 8 32 .262 (fired)
Career 122 28 94 .230


  1. ^ "Obituary: Richard A. Harter". Burlington Free Press. August 12, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Fentress, Aaron (March 12, 2012). "Former Oregon Ducks basketball coach Dick Harter dies at 81". The Oregonian. Portland. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Cawood, Neil (April 21, 1971). "'Long, drawn out, tough decision,' says new Duck coach". Eugene Register-Guard. p. 1D.
  4. ^ Clark, Bob (March 12, 2012). "'Kamikaze Kids' coach Dick Harter, who led standout Oregon teams, dies at 81". Eugene Register-Guard. Archived from the original on February 16, 2013. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  5. ^ Newnham, Blaine (March 14, 1978). "Harter picks Penn State after all". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. p. 1C.
  6. ^ a b Harter joins O'Brien's staff - NBA - ESPN
  7. ^ Dick Harter NBA & ABA Basketball Coaching Record | Basketball-Reference.com
  8. ^ Celtics find winning combination on defense - NBA - ESPN
  9. ^ "Philadelphia 76ers Names Penn Alumnus Dick Harter Assistant Coach". Penn Athletics. May 6, 2004. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  10. ^ "76-year-old Harter returning for third stint with Pacers". San Diego Union-Tribune. June 14, 2007. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  11. ^ "Sugar-Former Charlotte Hornets coach Dick Harter dies". Indiavision news. March 13, 2012. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  12. ^ "Ex-NBA assistant Dick Harter dies". ESPN. Associated Press. March 13, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  13. ^ http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/colleges/penn/20120313_Dick_Harter__former_Penn__NBA_coach__dies_at_81.html

External linksEdit