Three-time HS State Championship coach, 25-year NCAA veteran and basketball luminary, Mike Jarvis.
Mike Jarvis played on Rindge Technical High School’s 1962 Class A Championship (East Massachusetts) team. Today, he’s a member of the Cambridge High School, Massachusetts Coaches, New England Coaches Association and George Washington University Hall of Fame. However, Mike’s storied life in basketball almost didn’t happen.
As a sophomore at Northeastern University, he quit the team – deciding to work for his father and brother’s fish-and-chip shop – before his brother convinced him to return to Northeastern and apologize to his coach, Dick Dukeshire. Given a second chance, it wasn’t long before Mike knew that his calling was as a basketball coach.
We discuss Mike’s memories of working at Northeastern with future great, Jim Calhoun, followed by a move to Harvard, alongside eight-time NBA Champion of the Boston Celtics, Tom Sanders. Whilst working with Harvard’s varsity team, it wasn’t uncommon for one of Mike’s idols, the all-time great, Red Auerbach, to watch the team practice.
In the mid-1970s, a Jamaican teenager moved to Massachusetts. His name? Patrick Ewing. Mike and Patrick didn’t know it at the time, however, soon enough their lives would be linked forever. A few year later, Mike was appointed head coach of his (high school) alma mater (Cambridge Rindge and Latin School – renamed from Rindge Technical, following a merger). In a stunning run of success, Ewing led Cambridge to three-consecutive state championships (1979-1981), amassing a remarkable 77-1 record during that span. Mike was named Massachusetts HS Coach of the Year in each of those three seasons.
Our conversation continues, as we discuss the rest of Mike’s life in basketball. In 1985, he commenced what would be a 25-season run (between 1986 and 2014) as head coach at Division 1 NCAA schools; Boston University (1985-86 – 1989-90), George Washington (1990-91 – 1997-98), St. John’s (1998-99 – 2003-2004) and Florida Atlantic (2008-09 – 2013-14). Mike led three universities to the NCAA Tournament, making nine appearances in all. We talk about George Washington’s famed (1993) Sweet Sixteen match-up versus Michigan’s ‘Fab Five’ and the Red Storm’s (1999) journey to the Elite Eight.
Mike shares a great story about the 1981 McDonald’s HS All-American Game, where his son, Mike Jarvis Jr., played a crucial role as his (young) assistant, plus, we cover Mike’s post-coaching life and so much more. This is a wide-ranging conversation that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.
Links discussed (include):
* Patrick Ewing – high-school sensation
* George Washington versus The Fab Five (1993 – Sweet Sixteen)
* St. John’s versus Ohio State (1999 – Elite Eight)
People mentioned in this episode, include: Bill Russell, Adrian Branch, Michael Jordan, Bill Wennington, Chris Mullin, John Thompson, Yinka Dare, Rumeal Robinson, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard & Jalen Rose.
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