Sept. 12, 2000
SEATTLE - Former Seattle SuperSonic player and legendary prep coach Al Hairston will join the University of Washington staff as an assistant coach after nine years at Seattle University, Husky men's basketball coach Bob Bender announced Tuesday.
Hairston comes to Washington after serving as the head coach at Seattle University since 1990. He guided the Chieftains to an 89-167 record, including a Northwest championship in 1996.
"It's kind of a life-long dream. I've always had in the back of my mind the aspiration of coaching in some capacity at the Division-I level," Hairston said. "To be able to do it while staying in Seattle and being a part of a first-class coaching staff and program is something I look forward to."
He is best known for his 12-year coaching stint at Seattle's Garfield High School. The Bulldogs were the dominant team in the state, winning five Class AAA titles during Hairston's tenure from 1980-91. Garfield qualified for the state tournament in nine of his 12 seasons and won eight Seattle Metro League championships.
Hairston was ranked No. 2 on The Seattle Times list of Washington state's all-century prep basketball coaches, published Dec. 31, 1999.
After playing his college basketball at Bowling Green (Ohio), Hairston was selected by Seattle in the fifth round of the 1968 NBA Draft. He played two seasons with the SuperSonics, compiling 91 points, 41 rebounds and 44 assists between 1968-70. Hairston played 39 games as a rookie in 1968-69, averaging 2.2 points and 1.0 assists per game. He played only three games during the 1969-70 season.
Hairston was chosen in the 1970 NBA expansion draft by Cleveland where he re-joined his collegiate coach Bill Fitch. He was released by the Cavaliers just before the 1970-71 season.
Following his playing career, Hairston returned to Seattle and attended the University of Washington where he completed a degree in health and physical education in 1972. Prior to taking the job at Garfield, he served from 1975-79 as head coach at Seattle Central Community where he led the team to the Northwest championship in 1977. Hairston's son, Marques, lettered four years as a linebacker on the Husky football team from 1995-99.
"We're just delighted to have Al join our staff," said Bender. "The experience and knowledge that he brings is invaluable. We're very fortunate to have someone with Al's history and the great influence on basketball in the city of Seattle the he's had. We now need to decide how best to incorporate ideas that he brings with things that we have always done in the past."
Hairston replaces Jason Hamilton, who decided to pursue interests outside of coaching. Hamilton played for the Huskies from 1994-96 and served on the coaching staff the last four seasons.
"We'll miss Coach Hamilton and all of the great contributions he made to our success," Bender remarked. "But, we are glad to have someone of Al's caliber to replace him. In talking with a lot of our returning players, they are excited about his joining the program."