Harshman, who spent 13 seasons coaching the Cougars before the move to Seattle, died this morning at age 95.
“He’s one of those guys who had a lot of influence on many coaches, including me. But more important, he had a tremendous influence on people of all walks,” Bone told CF.C in a brief telephone interview Friday between recruiting-related activities.
“One the basketball court, his numbers speak for themselves, he’s in the Hall of Fame, but the way he touched the lives of so many people is what stands out, and the way he carried himself – he was one of the most humble people I’ve ever met.”
And his influence on the sport of basketball in the state of Washington is unmatched.
“Most people know of his time at Washington and Washington State, but he also did an outstanding job at PLU for many years. He loved his time at all three places,” Bone said.
When Bone was in graduate school and decided he wanted to coach for a living, Bone said Harshman was one of the first people he talked with about the idea. They continued to meet and talk periodically over the next three decades, the last time being just prior to the start of the just-concluded season.
When Bone came to Seattle for "A Night with Cougar Basketball" dinner just before the start of his first season at WSU, Harshman was on hand. He was 91 years old and in a wheelchair.
"Wouldn't miss it," Harshman said a couple of weeks before the event when asked if he was going to venture out for it.
Bone nearly came to to tears when he took the podium and gave a special salute to Harshman. The crowd gave Harshman a standing ovation.
Bone said one thing he especially admired about Harshman was his family life, and the ability to reach professional success without forsaking the home front.
“He had a lot of influence on me as a young coach, and seeing how much he appreciated and loved his wife Dorothy and his family made a big impression,” Bone said.
Harshman coached at WSU from 1958-59 to 1970-71. It took time to rebuild the program, but once he did the results were outstanding. Three of his last four Cougar squads finished second in the conference behind John Wooden’s dynastic UCLA teams.
Some of the greatest names in WSU basketball history played under Harshman, including Charlie Sells, Terry Ball, Jim McKean, Rick Erickson, Ted Wierman, Gary Elliot, Ted Werner, Ray Stein, Dan Steward, Jim Meredith, Randy Stoll and Dennis Hogg.
For more insight on Harshman, click to this 2008 story from the CF.C archives:
A vivid walk down memory lane with Marv Harshman.