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April 12, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Northwest icon Marv Harshman passes away

Photo credit: Seattle Times - Harley Soltes

Photo credit: Seattle Times – Harley Soltes

Legendary college basketball coach Marv Harshman died early Friday morning. He was 95.

Here’s our story.

Harshman coached in 1,090 collegiate games, which is the ninth highest in Division I history.

He coached 13 years at Pacific Lutheran (1945-58) and 13 years at Washington State (1958-71) before arriving at Washington in 1972.

In 14 years with the Huskies, Harshman led them to four 20-win seasons and five postseason appearances, including three NCAA tournaments berths (1976, ‘84 and ‘85) and two National Invitation Tournament berths (1980 and ’82). He recorded a 246-146 mark at the UW, which is second on the school’s all-time wins list.

Harshman completed 40 years of coaching in 1985 as seventh-winningest coach in college basketball with a 642-448 record.

He coached the U.S. team to a gold medal in men’s basketball at the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City

Harshman was also enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach in April 1985.

Born Marvel K. Harshman on Oct. 4, 1917 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, he went to high school in Lake Stevens. He starred at Pacific Lutheran where he lettered in four sports.

After a stint in the Navy, Harshman took over at PLU where he led the Lutes to four NAIA District I titles and four national tournament appearances. He was 241-121 at PLU.

Harshman moved on to Washington State where he compiled a 151-185 record during a 13-year tenure. His best teams finished second in the conference three times.

At Washington, Harshman had his greatest success as coach. His best players included: Steve Hawes, Louie Nelson and James Edwards, who were All-Americans. Harshman said Detlef Schrempf was the best player he ever coached. He also coached UW standouts Chris Welp, Lorenzo Romar and Paul Fortier.

Harshman was one of the legends of college basketball on the west coast that included: UCLA’s John Wooden, California’s Pete Newell, Oregon State’s Ralph Miller and Slats Gill.

A practice court at Alaska Airlines Arena is named after Harshman, however, his exit at Washington was somewhat controversial. He led the Huskies to the NCAA tournament Sweet 16 in 1984 and the Huskies returned to the NCAA tourney in 1985 when former UW President William Gerberding pushed Harshman, then 67, into retirement.

Harshman had a 46-17 record and was 28-5 in the Pac-10 during his last two years.

The Huskies fell into a tailspin without Harshman. It took three coaches and 13 years before UW made consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.

Harshman was a frequent visitor at UW home games before he was unable to attend due to health issues. Reportedly, he’s been in an assisted-living facility in Tacoma in recent months.

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