Nov. 21, 2007
SAO PAULO, Brazil - Reports have confirmed the death of former Washington State basketball player Tony Harris, after his body was found in central Brazil Sunday, Nov. 18, two weeks after he was reported missing.
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Tony Harris," WSU Men's Basketball Coach Tony Bennett said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, family and friends. He was such a significant part of past Cougar basketball success and will be truly missed by those whose lives he touched."
An integral part of the 1994 NCAA Tournament team, Harris had just joined his Brazilian basketball team as shooting guard. Harris played under former Cougar head coach Kelvin Sampson for two seasons (1992-93; 1993-94) at WSU and averaged 12.4 points, 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals per game, starting all but one of the 58 contests he appeared in.
In 1993 the Cougars finished the season 22-11 while earning their first trip to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). In 1993-94, Harris led the team in steals (1.2 spg) and assists (3.6 apg), while the team made its first NCAA appearance in 11 years with a 20-11 overall record. He served as co-captain his senior year and earned the team MVP and Jack Friel Defense Awards.
"Tony was such a passionate person," (current Indiana Men's Basketball) Sampson said. "He loved life. He was one of those kids that you felt like you were incredibly privileged to coach. I have great memories of Tony and I always remember him for his passion for life, his passion on the court, his leadership and how much fun he had. He will be in my prayers and his family will be in my prayers and I will never forget him."
Harris's wife and former WSU volleyball payer, Lori (Eastep), is expected to give birth to the couple's first child in December.
A special fund has been set up to help the family of Tony Harris. Donations can be made at any branch of U.S. Bank. Further questions regarding the fund can be directed to the main Bellevue, Wash. branch of U.S. Bank at (425) 450-5803.