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Harter Ready to Help Pacers, Again

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The Pacers officially hired all of the assistant coaches we expected. Most prominent among the assistants is NBA lifer and multi-time Pacers assistant, Dick Harter. Bruno catches up with Harter in his latest Caught in the Web feature. Man, you gotta love Harter. At 76, he couldn't be more excited about coaching again.

"Basically, I never wanted to retire," said Harter, who officially began his third coaching stint with the Pacers Wednesday when Jim O'Brien's staff was finalized. "When we suddenly got terminated in Philadelphia (after the 2004-05 season), obviously I was at the stage where I could afford to retire. We had a great house on Hilton Head and a house in Vermont for the summertime and all those things.

"It's very hard not to be coaching - very hard. This last year was better because Donnie (Walsh) and Larry (Bird) let me scout pro personnel so I went to about 40 games in Charlotte and Atlanta, and I'd write up the players that I saw. So I felt like I was tied into the league a little bit.

"But that year I didn't do anything, two years ago, that was awful."
That's great and all, but did Harter see how bad the Pacers defense was last year? All of his years of experience will be put to the test.
The roster, at least as presently constructed, isn't exactly bursting at the seams with long-armed, quick-footed, tough-minded stoppers.

"I think if you asked if I could make them great defenders, I'd say that might be hard," Harter said. "But can you make a good team defense? Yes. It makes sense that if five guys make up their mind they're going to stop the ball and stop the other team from scoring, one guy can't beat five.

"I used to always use Larry's old Celtics teams in my summer-camp lectures. No, you can't stop Kevin McHale in the post, you can't stop Larry Bird shooting the ball, you can't stop Danny Ainge shooting bombs - but five of us can stop any one of them at any one time. Your job is to be tied together and have five guys ready to do the job."
In case you didn't know, Harter was born in Pottstown, PA, which is also the birthplace of Mrs. Smith's Pies. Mmmm, pie.