Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Harrick Named Head Coach of NBDL Bakersfield Team

By the Associated Press

Jim Harrick has returned to the basketball coaching ranks, hired Tuesday to run the new Bakersfield Jam entry in the NBA Development League.

Harrick, 67, resumes his career three years after resigning at the University of Georgia and 10 years after being fired at UCLA.

"I've been sitting around doing nothing," he told The (Bakersfield) Californian. "I think my wife wanted it more than I did. Get me out of the house. It'll hurt my [golf] handicap, but that's what I do. That's all I've done my whole life."

Harrick had spent the last three years scouting for the NBA's Denver Nuggets and traveling to China to help develop basketball there.

Jam co-owner Steve Chase said he believes that Harrick can be the difference that makes Bakersfield successful in the 12-team league.

"We searched around and we feel like we've found probably the best coach that wasn't already under contract somewhere else in America," he said.

Harrick's 470-235 career record includes guiding UCLA to the 1995 national championship. He was fired the following season over a false expense report. He said he has a letter from the NCAA exonerating him from any wrongdoing.

"I've never done anything that I needed to have that," he said. "I got it in case I have to show it to someone."

Harrick said his son, Jim Jr., would not be on his staff in Bakersfield. The younger Harrick was fired from Georgia because of alleged money given to a recruit and preferred academic treatment.

Harrick took the new job because he lives in Orange County and remain close to his family, including eight grandchildren.

"When I started years ago, I only asked to have a team to coach," he said. "That's all I ever wanted. To have that again, to me, is really exciting."



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