Mailbag: Harris reached top through hard work

Coach Jim Harris began to leave his legacy in my life when we were teammates at what was then known as Long Beach State. A couple of years behind me, he came onto Coach Perry's team with eager eyes and well-honed skills — hoops were his world.

After I graduated and took my first coaching job in Orange County, Jim and I reconnected. We now had wives and families, who also became acquainted at summer league basketball games in the Huntington Beach High School gymnasium with Jim as a referee and me as a coach. It wasn't long until the subject of teaching and coaching came up and the legacy of Jim Harris the basketball coach began. He became intent on completing his education in order to teach and coach, and that is exactly what he did. Gunning for the goal, he pounded headlong down the court of college to obtain his degree, and it worked.

With his degree in hand, it was time for student teaching, there was no time to waste. Coach Harris' growing family required a teaching position — fast! Coach Harris' legacy took the first shot at Fountain Valley High School, where he was offered a "this-never-happens" summer school student-teaching position. Doing this, he would be ready to launch into his first paid teaching assignment in the fall, accompanied by a basketball coaching position, of course.

The first quarter of Coach Harris' basketball coaching career came quickly. I was not only his college teammate but was now the head basketball coach at Fountain Valley High School, and Jim was the perfect coach for our freshman team. His transition into what was to become nearly 700 career wins took off at the first buzzer and mushroomed into winning 60-plus games in his first three years coaching. It was magic. We shared coaching techniques, family interests, faith practices and a friendship that would transcend a career of competition. His impact on young men, who are now grandfathers, has left the mark of love for family and basketball on their lives. I know, they have told me.

Through the years, our teams met on the courts of Orange County, with most of the wins going to Coach Harris. But our families met on the courts of our backyards, of ski and snow trips and of celebrations in our homes. The legacy he leaves began on a court but ends in my heart and the hearts of all those players, coaches, parents and friends that he touched with his kind smile.

The final buzzer rang for my friend, Jim Harris, on the court of this life. But his legacy lingers through the lives of all he touched, leaving behind a life of love and entering heaven's eternal place of love.

Thank you, Jim. I love you.

Dave Brown

Tigard, Ore.

The writer is the boys' varsity basketball coach at Horizon Christian High School and was the head basketball coach at Fountain Valley High School from 1969 to 1989.


Story missed point on mobile homes

While I normally read and appreciate Mona Shadia's reporting, I must take issue with the tenor of her article regarding the Pacific Mobile Home Park controversy ("Mobile home dispute goes to the courts," Oct. 27). She refers to a "denied attempt to allow residents to buy the land under their coaches...". The word "allow" is misleading and incorrect. This subdivision scheme is being forced upon largely unwilling mobile home owners who have been alternately cajoled and intimidated by the park owners' legal representatives into the uncomfortable situation they find themselves.

The city is entirely correct in pursuing its right-of-way interests, and it is up to the park owners, who have opened the door to this controversy, to clean up their mess. Putting the onus on the residents who are the subject of the city's cross complaint is simply wrong. These park owner subdivision schemes are simply a way to extort money from fearful residents who can neither sell their mobile homes and move away nor withstand the relentless raising of space rents that is a strategy to break them economically.

The pro forma threat to evict encroaching mobile home residents is simply a necessary step that will probably never be taken. Park owner legal representatives are trying to curry favor with the public by using the same tired tactic of "protecting private property rights" to mask their predatory policies. The residential property rights of the mobile home owners come way down their list if they make it at all.

It is important that the Huntington Beach citizenry realizes exactly what is going on with the broad assault on the residential property rights of our mobile home residents. It is time we realize that thousands of our seniors and economically vulnerable home owners are in peril of losing everything. Thus, it is important that local reporting accurately reflects the dilemma these residents face.

Tim Geddes

Huntington Beach

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