|Previous College:||Marquette '02|
Edwardsville native Jon Harris returns to the SIUE sidelines for his third season as the Cougars’ head coach in 2017-18.
In 2016-17, Harris’ Cougars opened the season with wins at Hawaii and against Florida Atlantic, also in Hawaii. The Cougars rounded out a successful November with a resounding 12-point win on the road at Grand Canyon.
SIUE picked up home wins over IUPUI and Missouri S&T before struggling in Ohio Valley Conference play. The five nonconference wins were the most in the Division I era. The Cougars finished the season with their largest win of the year, a 19-point victory over Eastern Illinois at Vadalabene Center.
For the second season in a row, SIUE improved its rebounding. The Cougars were seventh in the OVC with an average of 35.8 rebounds per game. Perimeter defense became the hallmark of the team, with the Cougars finishing second in the OVC in three-point field goal defense. SIUE opponents connected on just 33 percent of three-point shots. Only Belmont held opponents to a lower percentage (32 percent).
Under Harris, guard Burak Eslik turned another strong offensive season. Eslik led the team in scoring and was among the top 20 in the OVC at 13.4 points per game. Junior Jalen Henry enjoyed his best season in an SIUE uniform. He average 12.5 points per game, which placed him 22nd in the OVC. He was second on the team with a career-best 5.6 rebounds per game. Keenan Simmons also excelled. The junior scored a career-best 6.7 points per game while leading the team and finishing 10th in the OVC at 7.2 rebounds per contest. Henry and Simmons were the only two players to start all 30 games for the Cougars.
During the 2015-16 season, SIUE led the Ohio Valley Conference in blocks averaging 4.0 blocks per game. SIUE was seventh in the OVC in free throw percentage, finishing the year at .704, which was up from .675 the season before. The Cougars also were improved on the glass averaging 35.7 rebounds per game which was up more than a rebound per game from the previous season.
The Cougars head coach brought Eslik to SIUE after he spent two seasons at Lewis and Clark Community College. Eslik led the team in scoring and tied for 15th overall in the OVC at 14.0 points per game. He established an SIUE Division I record when he scored 40 points in a game against Morehead State. It was the highest single-game total in the OVC last season. Eslik also established a new school record with 131 made free throws.
Harris was formally introduced as SIUE men's basketball head coach April 6, 2015. He is the eighth head coach in program history.
He came to SIUE having been an assistant coach at the University of California-Berkeley under Cuonzo Martin. He spent seven seasons on Martin's staff, first at Missouri State for three seasons and then three seasons at Tennessee. Harris joined Martin at Cal, where he spent one season before getting the SIUE head coaching position. The Bears finished the 2014-15 season with an 18-15 record. Cal defeated Washington in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament before falling to No. 5 Arizona.
In three seasons at Tennessee, Harris oversaw an extremely successful frontcourt. Under Harris' tutelage, Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon earned All-SEC honors for the Vols. Tennessee ranked near the top of the SEC in defensive rebounding and rebounding margin during three seasons under Harris.
In three seasons on staff at Missouri State, the Bears averaged more than 20 victories and captured the program's first-ever Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship. MSU improved from 11 wins in 2008-09 to a 24-12 record and the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament title in 2009-10.
Harris, who played four seasons at Marquette, including three for Head Coach Tom Crean, served on the staff at his alma mater for the 2002-03 season. The Golden Eagles finished 27-6 and reached the Final Four in his one season on the coaching staff. After Marquette, Harris was on staff for a UW-Green Bay team that finished among the top four in the Horizon League during each of his five seasons
As a player, Harris was one of the best rebounders in Conference USA, finishing with 494 career rebounds. During his senior season (2001-02), Harris and teammate Dwyane Wade led the Golden Eagles to a 26-7 overall record, an NCAA Tournament berth, and a No. 9 ranking in the final Associated Press national poll.
Prior to his collegiate career, Harris was a standout for Head Coach Mike Waldo at Edwardsville High School where he scored 1,269 points during his career. He was the 1998 St. Louis Post Dispatch Player of the Year and an Associated Press All-State selection in Illinois. He also was a USA Today Honorable Mention All-America pick.
Harris graduated from Marquette in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in psychology. He and his wife Heidi, an All-Conference player for the Marquette women's basketball team from 1998-2001, have two daughters (Hailey and Leah) and a son (Jaxson).