After Cuonzo Martin was introduced as Tennessee's head basketball coach on March 28, 2011, he wasted no time selecting Jon Harris as the first member of his coaching staff. A native of Edwardsville, Ill., and a former collegiate standout at Marquette, Harris had spent the previous three seasons as an assistant coach on Martin's staff at Missouri State.
Through two seasons on Rocky Top, Harris' impact on the Vols' post players has been immense. During that time, forwards Jeronne Maymon and Jarnell Stokes both have earned All-SEC honors, they have combined for 27 double-doubles, and they have cemented themselves atop the program's all-time offensive rebounding charts.
"In two years working with our bigs here at Tennessee, coach Harris has made a tremendous impact," Martin said. "Guys like Jeronne (Maymon) and Jarnell (Stokes) have really developed their games under coach Harris. Scoring, rebounding, defending... coach Harris has helped those guys improve in all of those areas."
As a sophomore in 2012-13, Stokes' development under Harris' watchful eye led to Stokes being one of only five players in all of major college basketball - and the only player from the SEC - to average a double-double in conference play (13.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg).
In Harris' first year with the Vols, Maymon increased his scoring output close to 400 percent (.388) and rebounding output nearly 200 percent (.189) while going from rarely-used bench player to UT's most consistent starter and garnering second-team All-SEC laurels.
"Coach Harris has been great for us," Maymon said. "He's shown me a lot of ways to use my body against defenders. He's also polished and sharpened some of the toughness I already had in me."
For both of Harris' seasons at Tennessee, the Vols have ranked second in the SEC in rebounding defensive and rebounding margin during league play.
Harris also proved himself as a capable scout in one of the nation's strongest leagues, as he was responsible for the scout in both of Tennessee's 2012 regular-season triumphs over eventual NCAA Elite Eight participant Florida.
In non-conference action, Harris was the lead scout for UT's 2013 win over Wichita State's eventual Final Four squad.
Harris and Martin's partnership at Missouri State yielded similarly extraordinary results. The Bears averaged more than 20 wins per season, earned a pair of postseason berths and captured the program's first-ever Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship in 2010-11.
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. The Bears' 69.8 points per game led the MVC that year, and their 19 home wins tied Kansas for the most among Division I programs.
"Coach Harris played at Marquette with one of the greatest players in the game in Dwyane Wade, so Jon really knows what it takes to be a great role player," Martin said. "And because of his effectiveness as a communicator, he can really help our guys understand and accept their roles--what does it take to be a great rebounder, a great post defender, to play with passion, energy and toughness around the basket? Those are things he can teach."
Harris' leadership was instrumental in MSU's stellar 2010-11 MVC championship run and subsequent NIT berth. Missouri State advanced to its conference tournament title game, ranked seventh nationally in turnovers per game (10.3) and led the MVC in 3-point shooting (.376) and assist/turnover ratio (1.28).
Prior to his three successful seasons on the bench at Missouri State, Harris served a five-year stint as an assistant coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay under Tod Kowalczyk, preceded by one season on staff at Marquette.
Harris' first taste of college coaching came at his alma mater during the 2002-03 season. It proved to be quite an initiation into the profession, as the Golden Eagles -- led by current NBA All-Star Wade -- powered their way to a 27-6 record and a run to the Final Four.
Highlights from Harris' five seasons in Green Bay included the development of eight All-Horizon League performers and a pair of Academic All-Americas. The Phoenix never finished worse than fourth in the final league standings in Harris' tenure, during which several players moved on to careers in professional basketball.
It was during Harris' time spent recruiting the state of Indiana for Green Bay that he grew to know Martin, then an assistant coach at Purdue.
Harris was a two-year captain during his playing days at Marquette under head coach Tom Crean. Harris finished his career ranked 20th on Conference USA's all-time rebounding list (494). He made 22 starts and shot 53 percent from the floor during his career, which culminated in a 2002 NCAA Tournament berth after he and Wade helped lead the Golden Eagles to a 26-7 record and No. 9 ranking in the Associated Press national poll.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch High School Player of the Year as a senior in 1998, Harris also was a first-team All-State selection while starring at Edwardsville High School. His senior year honors haul also included honorable mention All-America acclaim from USA Today.
Harris received his bachelor's degree in Psychology from Marquette in 2002, and he is married to the former Heidi Bowman, a 1,000-point career scorer and All-Conference performer for the Marquette women's basketball team from 1998-2001.
The couple has two daughters, Hailey and Leah, and a son, Jaxson.