Harp_Dick1
Dick Harp

  • Lettered three years at KU as a player from 1938-40 and was a starting guard on the Jayhawks’ 1940 team, which finished second in the NCAA Tournament
  • Was KU’s head coach from 1956-64 and posted a 121-82 record
  • Served as the director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for 13 years after leaving the Jayhawks
Harp, Dick
Inducted 2011

Born: March 28, 1918 – Kansas City, KS

Died: March 18, 2000 – Lawrence, KS

Graduated: Rosedale H.S., 1936; University of Kansas, 1940

Overview

According to Dean Smith, Kansas Sports Hall of Fame inductee and one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history, “Dick [Harp] is one of the most brilliant basketball minds I have ever known.” Harp, who remains one of a handful of men to both coach and play in an NCAA basketball tournament championship game, spent nearly three decades of his life connected to the tradition-rich basketball program at KU.

Playing Career and Early Coaching Career

Harp lettered three years at KU as a player from 1938-40 and was a starting guard on the Jayhawks’ 1940 team, which finished second in the NCAA Tournament. He then served over four years as a master sergeant in the Army during World War II and was coaching basketball at William Jewell College when Phog Allen asked him to return to KU as an assistant coach.

Career at KU

Harp was the KU’s head coach from 1956-64 and posted a 121-82 record. Harp’s 1957 team finished second to North Carolina, losing in triple overtime to the Tar Heels in the championship game of the NCAA Tournament.  In 1960, the Jayhawks won the Big Eight title, but lost to Cincinnati and Oscar Robertson in the NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Regional. Harp was an assistant coach under Phog Allen at KU from 1948-56 and was credited with helping the Jayhawks win the NCAA title in 1952 and finish second in 1953, losing by one point to Indiana.

Career after KU

Harp served as the director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for 13 years after leaving the Jayhawks. He later was an assistant coach under Smith at North Carolina from 1986-89.  It was at North Carolina where Harp first met Roy Williams, a coach he later helped persuade to take the KU coaching position.