La-Force Adds Velaida Harris to Coaching Staff

La-Force Adds Velaida Harris to Coaching Staff

KINGSTON, R.I. – Rhode Island head coach Daynia La-Force announced the addition of Velaida Harris to the Rhode Island coaching staff.

A veteran coach with eight seasons experience at the collegiate level and 24 years coaching overall, Harris will work primarily with Rhode Island's perimeter players. She also will help expand the program's recruiting base on a national scale.

"Coach Harris brings a high level of coaching experience, passion for the game and the ability to teach the game," La-Force said. "As a recruiter, she will add a more national approach to our recruiting base. We are looking forward to tapping in to her recruiting ties in the Midwest and the West Coast."

Harris was on the staff at Utah for six seasons from 2009-15. Originally hired as the director of basketball operations for Elaine Elliott's staff, Harris earned a promotion to assistant coach, eventually adding the responsibilities of recruiting coordinator as well.

During her time with the Utes, the program reached the postseason four times. She was on the staff that led Utah to the 2011 NCAA Championship tournament field. She also helped the team advance to the finals of the 2013 WNIT. During her time there, Utah had 11 all-conference selections (5 in the PAC-12, six in the Mountain West) and 26 Academic All-Conference honorees.

Before going to Utah, Harris spent two seasons with Oregon. She was the director of operations for the Ducks in 2007-08 and was promoted to assistant coach the following season.

During her time at Utah and Oregon, Harris recruited several regions of the country. At Utah, she was responsible for the Midwest, South and Southeast. With Oregon, she recruited the West coast, Midwest and Canada. She also handled recruiting the junior college ranks.

At both schools, she served as the academic liaison for the staff. Utah and Oregon both had a 100 percent graduation rate. Harris also coached two WNBA players, two Olympians and 16 players who went on to professional careers overseas.

"Coach Harris has experienced post season success with every program she has worked for," La-Force said. "That experience will help Rhode Island break through and become a force to reckon with in the postseason."

Before joining the collegiate coaching ranks, Harris spent one season as the associate head coach of the Portland Chinooks of the Men's International Basketball League. She also spent three years as the Assistant Director of Youth Sports for the Lake Oswego School District, while also serving as the girls' basketball head coach at Lake Oswego from 2004-06. The team earned two state playoff berths, including a fourth-place finish at the OSAA State Championships during the 2005-06 season. In her two years at Lake Oswego, Harris complied a 40-15 (.727) record.

Harris also coordinated camps, clinics, and fundraising activities at Lake Oswego High. She directed the 32-team Nike-Laker Interstate Shootout tournament, which drew teams throughout the West coast.

Harris was the head coach at Lincoln Senior High School from 1997-04, leading the program to six state playoff berths, three trips to the state championship tournament and three league titles. She complied a record of 123-52 (.700) there. On the AAU circuit, Harris was the Program Director and coach of the Nike sponsored Portland Elite Basketball Organization (PEBO) for eight years, heading the selection and evaluation of players throughout Oregon and SW Washington. More than 80 percent of the seniors in her program went on to play college basketball. Harris served as a coach at the prestigious Nike All-America Camp three times (2000, 2002 and 2004).

Harris graduated with a degree in Liberal Studies and a minor in English from Portland State University, where she played from 1989-93.