Johnny Orr, president of the National Assn. of Basketball Coaches, said Tuesday that his group had been concerned this season about the future of Jim Harrick, UCLA basketball coach.
"We knew he was on the border," said Orr, Iowa State's coach. "If he hadn't finished strong, the word was he was going to go. We were very concerned about Jimmy, because he has won a lot of games."
UCLA won seven of its last 10 games and gained an NCAA tournament berth as the Pacific 10 Conference's third-place team. Harrick, whose Bruins will face Iowa State on Friday in the first round of the NCAA West Regional in Tucson, was given a three-year contract extension last week through the 1996-97 season.
Although Harrick has guided UCLA to five consecutive NCAA appearances and five 20-victory seasons, he was under pressure by boosters who believed his teams were underachievers.
"To me, the expectations are not logical," Orr said. "I think Harrick is a good coach, a good recruiter and a good guy. UCLA won't be happy until someone takes them back and wins the national tournament."
As president of the group, Orr has been a staunch supporter of coaches' rights. He blames television for putting too much emphasis on his profession.
"To get to the (NCAA tournament) is almost a must now in a lot of places," Orr said. "That's wrong."
Orr, who led a national outcry against the firing of California's Lou Campanelli with 10 regular-season games left, believes demands are unrealistic.
"Take a guy like Mike (Krzyzewski) at Duke," Orr said. "He'll see (criticism) unless he goes back (to the Final Four). If there (are) two or three years now that he does not return, the pressure will be unbearable."