Harried Follows In Footsteps Of His Legendary Mentor
It’s been more than 30 years since Herman Harried played basketball for legendary coach Bob Wade at Baltimore’s Dunbar High School, yet he still remains accountable to him. Literally.
Harried is in his 18th year as boys basketball coach at Lake Clifton Campus High School in Baltimore, Maryland. Wade, who currently serves as coordinator of athletics for Baltimore City Public Schools, is essentially Harried’s boss.
“We still have a strong relationship,“ said Harried, who went on from Dunbar to play for Jim Boeheim at Syracuse University in the mid-1980s. Just last week, in fact, Dunbar held a ceremony to name the basketball court in Wade’s honor, and Harried was one of three former players chosen to speak.
“I spoke about the impact he’s made on my life, as a man and as a head coach,” said Harried, who’s been involved with USA Basketball for several years as both a coach and committee member. “He had a huge impact on my career and he still has an impact right now.”
Harried considers Wade “a second father,” and praised his ability to instill a strong work ethic in his players.
“His best advice was that the best skills you can have are discipline and respect and listening,” Harried said. “He was big on discipline and hard work. You may not always agree with the process, but once you become a man you appreciate the value. It has a lot to do with the man you are today.”
Harried said being involved with USA Basketball is “probably one of the biggest honors I’ve had in my basketball career.”
Prior to being named to USA Basketball’s Developmental National Team Committee in 2013, Harried spent several years as an assistant coach for the organization, for the men’s U16 and U17 teams and at the Nike Hoop Summit. He was head coach of the 2006 USA Junior National Select Team that defeated a World Select Team to win the Nike Hoop Summit.
As part of the committee, Harried likes the fact that he can make an impact both on and off the court.
“It’s been great,” he said. “The committee members are all former players and coaches. So when we have training camps, we are still involved as coaches. We still do instruction, we still assist with practice, we’re involved as a coaching staff. Then after training, we sit down as a group and evaluate, try to select the best 12 that we can get out of that talented group of young kids.”
Becoming a coach wasn’t on Harried’s radar when he first left college. He played professionally in Europe for five years. During that time, he met Brian Ellerbe, who would become the head coach at Loyola-Maryland. When an opening came up on Ellerbe’s staff, he gave Harried a call. Looking to take the next step in his basketball career, Harried took the offer. He ended up at Lake Clifton a year later and has been there ever since.
“Getting into coaching, I didn’t really understand the depth of it when I first got into it,” said Harried. “Not as much as I know now. But it was a great opportunity to teach life lessons as well as just basketball. That was the most attractive thing to me, in addition to be coaching a game that I have such a passion for.”
What Harried has learned about coaching has so much to do with what he observed from Wade as a coach – and what he still sees from Wade today as his boss.
“I’ve always admired that he knows how to draw a line between business and personal.” Translated to basketball: Be a coach first, friend second.
“As much as you would like for your players to like you, first they have to respect you,” said Harried. “The liking part will come later. When we played for him at Dunbar, he was so demanding, so persistent, so tough. We may not have always liked him, but we respected him. And years later, we love him.
“I have the same approach in my coaching. I don’t coach for my players to like me. I coach for my players to respect me and hopefully understand the life skills that I’m trying to implement in their lives to be successful and productive men.”
One of the most important pieces of advice Harried has for today’s young athletes is simply to listen.
“Learn how to listen and try to develop a great work ethic along with listening,” he said. “A lot of young people now, they don’t listen. They think they know it all. And while they think they know it all, other people get better than them.
“Just listen. Try to be one of the best listeners you can be, and you’ll probably end up learning a lot more than others.”
Have a question for Coach Harried? Submit your question in the Comments section below, or go to Facebook or Twitter now to submit your questions and he’ll answer them in a feature that will run on USAB.com. Be sure to use #AskCoachHerman.