EDWARDSVILLE – Edwardsville native Jon Harris has been selected as the new head men's basketball coach at SIUE.
SIUE Director of Athletics Dr. Brad Hewitt said an agreement has been reached to make Harris the eighth head coach in the history of the program. SIUE will formally introduce Harris in a 10 a.m. press conference Monday at the Vadalabene Center's Lukas Athletics Annex.
"I want to thank the campus screening and search committee for a tremendous job in bringing us two outstanding finalists," said Hewitt. "They both did an excellent job. In the end, I feel that Jon Harris is the best fit for our institution at this point in time and has the greatest potential to move our program to the upper levels of the Ohio Valley Conference."
Harris comes to SIUE having most recently been an assistant coach at the University of California-Berkeley under Cuonzo Martin.
"I am extremely humbled and excited for the opportunity to become the next head men's basketball coach at SIUE," said Harris. "I feel this is a tremendous institution where students receive an impactful degree. When you couple that with great leadership, a warm community, and a very good basketball league, you can see why I aggressively pursued the position. My family and I are looking forward to being a part of the Cougar family."
Harris has spent the past seven seasons on Martin's staff, first at Missouri State for three seasons and then three seasons at Tennessee. Harris joined Martin at Cal in April 2014. The Bears finished this past season 18-15. Cal defeated Washington in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament before falling to No. 5 Arizona.
"Jon has been working for a coach who I respect greatly (Cuonzo Martin)," said Hewitt. "I am confident after meeting Jon that he represents the work ethic, intelligence, passion, compassion for the student-athlete, and a commitment to excellence that is second to none."
In three seasons at Tennessee, Harris oversaw an extremely successful frontcourt. Under Harris' tutelage, Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon earned All-SEC honors for the Vols. Tennessee ranked near the top of the SEC in defensive rebounding and rebounding margin during three seasons under Harris.
In three seasons on staff at Missouri State, the Bears averaged more than 20 victories and captured the program's first-ever Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship. MSU improved from 11 wins in the 2008-09 campaign to a 24-12 record and the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament title in 2009-10.
"I am incredibly thrilled for Jon," said Martin. "He has worked tirelessly on our staff over the past seven years. Jon is a great coach, leader, and friend. He has an opportunity to make a tremendous impact on his hometown program. I wish him, his wife Heidi, and their three children all the best in their new endeavors."
Harris, who played four seasons at Marquette, including three for Head Coach Tom Crean, served on the staff at his alma mater for the 2002-03 season. The Golden Eagles finished 27-6 and reached the Final Four in his one season on the coaching staff. After Marquette, Harris was part of a UW-Green Bay coaching staff that finished among the top four in the Horizon League during each of his five seasons.
As a player, Harris was one of the best rebounders in Conference USA history, finishing with 494 career rebounds. As a senior (2001-02) Harris and teammate Dwayne Wade led the Golden Eagles to a 26-7 overall record, an NCAA Tournament berth, and a No. 9 ranking in the final Associated Press national poll.
Prior to his collegiate career, Harris was a standout for Head Coach Mike Waldo at Edwardsville High School where he scored 1,269 points during his career. He was the 1998 St. Louis Post Dispatch Player of the Year and an Associated Press All-State selection in Illinois. He also was a USA Today Honorable Mention All-America pick.
"While Jon has roots in Edwardsville, he has been away for some time," said Hewitt. "I encourage the greater communities to embrace him, and help us and him, take our program to championship level in the OVC."
Harris graduated from Marquette in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in psychology. Harris and his wife Heidi, an All-Conference player for the Marquette women's basketball team from 1998-2001, have two daughters (Hailey and Leah) and a son (Jaxson).