Marv Harshman, who had left Washington State to coach at Washington, called June Daugherty after she took a job at WSU after being fired by the Huskies. "Junie, you're doing things backwards!" Harshman told Daugherty. "I did it the opposite way, but that's OK. I just called to wish you all the best."
Strategically placed in June Daugherty’s Washington State women’s basketball office, between pictures of her twins, sits an equally important item — a basketball signed by famed coach Marv Harshman.
Daugherty kept her gaze on the ball as she spoke by phone about Harshman, who died Friday at the age of 95. Daugherty, a former coach at Washington, knew Harshman for more than 30 years, visiting him last fall at his assisted living home.
“He always called me ‘Junie,’ ” Daugherty said. “And I’ll never forget, one of the first phone calls I got in my new (WSU) office was from him. ‘Junie, you’re doing things backwards! I did it the opposite way, but that’s OK. I just called to wish you all the best.’ I was just like, ‘Wow, he still loved the Cougs.’ “
Harshman’s 40-year coaching career ended in 1985 after 14 years at UW. He had coached for 13 seasons at WSU before that.
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Before his health declined, Harshman also would drop by Huskies women’s basketball practices to critique the team and coaching staff at the request of Daugherty.
“He had such an eagerness to coach, and how important it was that the game be played a certain way,” Daugherty said. “And he was so humble.”
Daugherty still was learning from the Hall of Fame coach during her last visit.
She described his room at the assisted living facility as a museum laced with memorabilia from Harshman’s career. He still was knowledgeable about the state’s teams, including the WSU women. He also continued to offer coaching tips mixed into stories about basketball’s past.
“We’ve lost the Big Three, if you think about it,” Daugherty said of John Wooden, Pete Newell and now Harshman. “They were the best people and basketball minds that really influenced so much about what we do, whether it’s women’s basketball or men’s basketball on the collegiate level. I’m so blessed to have known coach Harshman.”
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org