Sunday night at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, Cranston resident and longtime Cranston High School East teacher and boys basketball Coach Rick Harris was inducted into the Rhode Island Basketball Coaches Association Hall Of Fame at their annual banquet for all league, all state and scholarship award winners as well as team champions.
Harris was presented to the large crowd by former Cranston East Coach Jim Hopkins (1979- 1989) and former Cranston School Department Athletic Director Ken Hopkins who hired Harris back in 1990.
Harris opened his remarks by commenting that, “I have been fortunate to have Jim and Ken as my mentors and two of my very best friends. They have been so influential in my growth as a teacher, coach and person.”
Harris was the Thunderbolt head boys basketball coach from 1990- 2006 and led Cranston East to 1A State Championships in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Cranston East also played in the state championship in 2001 losing to Smithfield H.S. before running off wins against Westerly, North Kingstown and Smithfield the following three seasons. Harris coached teams to four division championships as well and coached many All League and All State players during his time at Cranston East.
One of his best players, Soap Toun, was a three- time state champion (two time playoff MVP) and three time All-Stater who received a full scholarship to study and play at D2 Stonehill College. Harris was named coach of the year five times during his tenure at Cranston East and finished with 230 total wins as the Thunderbolt head coach. Former player Isaiah McDaniel captain on the 2004 state championship team is now the current Cranston East head coach.
Harris continues to teach at Cranston East but since 2007 has been the head coach at the Community College of Rhode Island. During his thirteen years at the Knights helm, CCRI has won 251 games, 6 New England championships and appeared in the 2012 National Championship game.
Following his induction Harris proceeded to give a speech centering on letting the student- athletes in the audience know a couple of the most important things they can get from their high school careers.
“Be appreciative of your coaches and teammates as well as parents and friends for helping you achieve your successes, as you are only as good as the people around you. Secondly, appreciate your time playing high school athletics as in time you will not cherish the games but instead all the great moments and memories you have made with your teammates and coaches,” said Harris.
The banquet wrapped up the 2018-19 high school basketball season honoring league champions D3 Mt Hope, D2 East Greenwich, D1 North Kingstown and Open State Champion North Kingstown.