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Former Pacers Assistant Coach Dick Harter Dies At 81

Sad news tonight as former Indiana Pacers assistant coach Dick Harter passed away on Monday at age 81. Harter had been suffering from cancer and reportedly died in his Hilton Head, SC home.

Coach Harter was best known his defensive influence on any team he coached, starting in the early '70's when he was the head coach for the Oregon Ducks. Harter spent most of his coaching career as an assistant coach at the NBA level, including on the bench for the Pacers under coaches Jack Ramsay, Larry Bird and Jim O'Brien.

Among his many years on the bench with the Pacers, the 2000 team that played the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals had the most success. On that team Harter was part of a unique and talented coaching staff the was among the best in the NBA. Larry Bird was the head coach overseeing everything while Harter acted as the "defensive coordinator" directing the team's strong defensive effort, while Rick Carlisle (a pretty good coach in his own right) handled the "offensive coordinator" duties.

I recall seeing Harter in his latter years with the Pacers sitting up in the stands, often with his wife, observing the players go through individual workouts a couple of hours before the game. I used to wonder just how many hours and days he'd spent observing such workouts. It was clear there was no where he would rather be than in the gym.

Rest in peace, Coach Harter.