EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- The Oregon Ducks coach who broke the John Wooden-led UCLA Bruins' 98-game home winning streak has died. Dick Harter was 81. He died Monday night in a South Carolina hospital.
In 1976, Harter led his team to UCLA's Pauley Pavilion, where the rival Bruins hadn't dropped a game since 1970. Oregon won 65-45, making good on Harter's pledge to take on Wooden's intimidating squad.
Harter compiled a 113-81 record in seven years at Oregon. He was hired in 1971 from the University of Pennsylvania and left Oregon for Penn State.
"You talk about people leaving footprints. He left his footprints," Ernie Kent, a Harter player who went on to coach the Ducks from 1997-2010, told The Eugene Register-Guard. "He changed the mentality of a community, he changed a program, he changed lives."
A rival coach once compared Harter's Ducks' frenetic style to Kamikaze pilots. The name stuck, and his Ducks became known as the "Kamikaze Kids."
Harter got to Oregon and immediately said he wanted to take on Wooden and the Bruins, then a perennial national championship contender.
"You never saw John Wooden get too riled up during a game, but there were a couple of times (against Harter's Oregon teams) when he rolled that program up a little tighter," said Don Essig, then and now the court announcer for Oregon basketball. "It was so intense ... It was the most exciting basketball I've ever seen. That's the only way I can say it."
After his first team went 6-20, Harter led the Ducks to six consecutive winning seasons and three appearances in the National Invitation Tournament, including a third-place finish in 1975.
He later became the NBA's Charlotte Hornets' first coach and had a reputation in NBA circles as a defensive specialist as an assistant on six teams.
"The greatest testament to any coach isn't his record but the fact that here it is, 35 years later, and there are so many of us who stayed in contact with Dick and wanted him to be a part of our life," Kent said. "He was extremely tough on us, and I know that's what some people will remember, but I don't think there's a guy who played for him and went on to be successful in his life who won't say it's because of what Dick did for them."