May 21, 2014

Harrington ends fabled career as SWIC coach

Southwestern Illinois College's Board of Trustees on Wednesday accepted the retirement notice of the school's longtime athletic director and men's basketball coach, Jay Harrington.

Harrington said it was reasons beyond his control that forced him to walk away before he was necessarily ready.

"The reason I am retiring is due to pension reform," Harrington, who has been SWIC's men's basketball coach since 1979 and athletic director since 1980, said. "I have enjoyed my time at SWIC and it will continue to be business as usual until the time I leave."

Harrington's SWIC hoops teams have complied a 714-419 record over that span. Including his time as Wabash Valley Coach men's basketball coach from 1976-79, Harrington's career record stands at 797-461.

Harrington was named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1999 and the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2002. His SWIC team finished fourth in the nation among NJCAA Division I schools during one of his seasons and sixth another.

More than 200 SWIC players have gone on to compete at four-year schools including 80 who participated in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I programs.

"Coach Harrington was not only a hall of fame basketball coach," SWIC president Georgia Costello said. "He was an even better life-long educator. He will be sincerely missed."

Harrington said he wasn't ready to discuss his future plans yet. SWIC leaders have not announced a time frame for finding a new men's basketball coach.

In other business Wednesday, the SWIC board approved:

* A $608,841 contract with Sonnenberg Asphalt of Belleville for parking lot repairs and maintenance.

* A memorandum of understanding with the American Red Cross that would make buildings at SWIC's Belleville and Granite City campuses available for use in case of an emergency.

Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at or call 239-2626.

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