Paul Harrison joined Nathan Davis' first Bison coaching staff in April 2015, and he helped Bucknell raise banners in each of his first two seasons in Lewisburg.
Bucknell has captured Patriot League regular-season titles in each of Harrison's two campaigns, and in 2016-17 the Bison toppled arch-rival Lehigh 81-65 in the PL championship game. That led to the team's seventh all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, this one as a No. 13 seed.
The Bison finished 26-9 overall, 15-3 in the Patriot League, and dropped a hard-fought 86-80 decision to fourth-seeded West Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Buffalo.
Harrison works with the Bucknell post players, and in 2016-17 he helped center Nana Foulland earn Patriot League Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors, while power forward Zach Thomas joined Foulland on the All-Patriot League First Team.
Harrison came to Bucknell with 14 years of experience as a college basketball coach, primarily as an assistant coach at some very successful Division I mid-major programs. For the previous two seasons, Harrison was the head coach at Clayton State in Georgia. He inherited a team in rebuilding mode with only six players on the roster, and in his second year in 2014-15 led the squad to a winning season (15-12) and a spot in the Division II regional rankings during the year.
Prior to his head-coaching stint at Clayton State, Harrison spent six years as an assistant coach, including the last two as associate head coach, at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. During his time at Wofford under head coach Mike Young, the Terriers compiled a 111-85 record and a 74-47 mark in the Southern Conference. Wofford captured consecutive league titles in 2010 and 2011, and in the NCAA Tournament lost close games to Wisconsin (53-49) in 2010 and BYU (74-66) in 2011. After graduating five seniors from the 2011 championship team, Wofford came back the next season and won 19 games, including a victory over Wake Forest, and participated in the CBI postseason tournament.
A 1993 graduate of Washington & Lee University, Harrison had two tours at College of Charleston, first as a graduate assistant from 1996-98 and then as a full-time assistant from 1999-2001. Working under head coach John Kresse, the Cougars won league titles in all four of Harrison’s seasons in Charleston, compiling an overall record of 99-22 and a 63-11 mark in league play in the Trans America Athletic Conference and the Southern Conference. In 1997, the Cougars were ranked as high as No. 16 nationally and defeated Maryland in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Harrison also had one-year stops as an assistant coach at Long Island (1998-99) and Southeastern Louisiana (2005-06). In 2001, he took a break from coaching to attend law school, and he earned his Juris Doctor from Tulane University Law School in May 2004. Harrison practiced law in New Orleans and also helped out as an assistant coach at Metairie Park Country Day School before returning to the collegiate coaching ranks.
“Paul has been a part of some very successful programs throughout his career,” said Davis at the time of his hiring. “Everywhere he has been, his teams have won. He has worked with two great coaches in John Kresse at College of Charleston and Mike Young at Wofford, and Paul was at Wofford when they really started to take off. He was a head coach at the Division II level for two years, and he is known for recruiting quality student-athletes. He has an excellent mind for the game of basketball, and I am very excited to have him join the staff.”
Harrison and his wife, Heather, have two children, Grace and Henry.