Seeger Chapel steeple against an orange sunset

Del Harris (’59) inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (September 10, 2022) – Milligan University basketball legend Del Harris was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday evening. Hall of Fame Coverage | Del Harris Enshrinement Speech

The hall of fame enshrinement ceremony was televised on NBA TV from Springfield Symphony Hall. Harris was presented by hall of famers Nancy Lieberman, John Calipari and Sidney Moncrief.

As a player at Milligan, Harris earned six all-conference designations as he was named to the Volunteer State Athletic Conference and Smokey Mountain Athletic Conference all-league teams three times each. In his senior season, Harris earned Associated Press All-America laurels. Harris graduated in 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts in religion.

After graduating from Milligan, Harris began his coaching journey at King Springs Elementary in Johnson City, where he coached seventh and eighth graders. He went on to coach at the high school level, at Earlham College, internationally, in the American Basketball Association and ultimately, the NBA.

Harris spent over three decades in the NBA as an assistant and head coach with the Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls, and New Jersey Nets. He led the Rockets to the NBA finals in 1981 and was named the NBA Coach of the Year in 1995 while coaching the Lakers.

Harris became the 19th head coach in NBA history to win 500 games and ranks 29th in league history with 556 career wins. His international career includes three Superior League (Puerto Rico) championships, an Olympic bronze medal with the United States national team in 1998 and was the head coach of the Chinese national team for the 2004 Olympics.

In 2010, Harris was bestowed with the Jerry Colangelo Award for Leadership and Character. Four years later, he was awarded the Coach John Wooden “Keys to Excellence” Award and in 2019 received the Basketball Hall of Fame’s John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2020, he was honored with the Chuck Daly Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Basketball Coaches Association.


MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts institution in Johnson City, Tennessee, whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant-leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs. To learn more , visit or call 423.461.8700

Posted by Chase McGlamery on September 16, 2022.