Basketball coach Sports coach

Dick Harp

Quick Facts

IntroAmerican basketball player-coach
Was Sports coach
Basketball coach
From United States of America
Type Sports
Birth28 March 1918
Death 18 March 2000
(aged 82 years)


Richard F. “Dick” Harp (March 28, 1918 – March 18, 2000) became the Kansas Jayhawks’ fourth men’s basketball coach in 1956. He coached for eight years until 1964. Harp’s overall Kansas record was 121-82 (.596) and conference record was 53-45 (.583).
After gaining a wealth of knowledge as a player and assistant under Phog Allen, Harp became the Kansas Jayhawks’ head coach himself from 1956-1964. Harp compiled a 121-82 record in those eight seasons and led the Jayhawks to two conference titles (one Big Seven, one Big Eight Conference) and two NCAA tournament berths. In 1957, the Jayhawks captured the Midwest Regional and made it to the finals, only to be stopped by the University of North Carolina in a memorable 54-53 loss in triple overtime in Kansas City, Mo. Under his guidance, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Bridges achieved All-American status.
Harp had served as Phog Allen’s assistant for eight seasons before taking over for Allen in 1956. Prior to that Harp was head coach for two seasons at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. Harp played basketball at KU, lettering from 1938–1940 and was one of the starting guards on the 1940 team that lost to Indiana University in the NCAA finals. Harp served as the director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for 13 years after leaving the Jayhawks. Harp is one of only five people to have played and coached in an NCAA title game. He served as an assistant coach from 1986-1989 at North Carolina for Dean Smith – whom he coached as a player at Kansas when he was Allen’s assistant.
Coach Harp lived in Lawrence, Kansas until his death in March 2000. Harp’s health had been failing for several years and he had recently fractured a hip. He died at his residence at Lawrence’s Presbyterian Manor. He was survived by his wife of 56 years, Martha Sue (d. 2009), and a son, Richard Layne Harp, of Las Vegas.