Harold Tommy Amaker Jr Biography Harold Tommy Amaker Jr Wiki
Born June 6, 1965 (age 56) Falls Church, Virginia, US
Occupation Basketball coach
Harold Tommy Amaker Jr. is an American college basketball coach and the head coach of the Harvard University men’s basketball team. He has also coached for the University of Michigan and Seton Hall University. He played point guard and later served as an assistant coach at Duke University under Mike Krzyzewski. An All-American player, Amaker set numerous records and earned many honors and awards. He took Seton Hall to the post season in each of his four seasons as their coach, helped Michigan win the National Invitation Tournament the year after a probationary ban from postseason play, and had the three highest single-season win totals in the history of Harvard basketball, the school’s first six Ivy League championships and first NCAA tournament victory.
Early life and Education
Amaker was born in Falls Church, Virginia, in 1965.
Amaker resided in Falls Church, but he attended W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia, because his mother, Alma Amaker, was a high school English teacher in Fairfax County. Her job allowed her to choose among the county schools, her choice made because the school’s basketball coach, Red Jenkins, who called Amaker “T-bird”, had been impressed with his performances at his youth summer league since Amaker was 10 years old. He began playing varsity for Woodson by December, making him the first freshman to play varsity in the school’s history. His mother, whom Jenkins called “his first coach and his best coach,” attended his practices and graded papers in the coach’s office.
Duke University basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who had just completed his first season as Duke coach, was in town to evaluate Johnny Dawkins in a 1981 Washington D.C. summer league game, but was convinced to stay for a second game to see Amaker play. Krzyzewski met Amaker’s mother and said, “Mrs. Amaker, your son is going to look great in Duke blue.” At the time, Amaker had wanted to play for the Maryland Terrapins because his sister Tami went to the University of Maryland, College Park and Amaker idolized Maryland star guard John Lucas. He was recruited eventually to Duke by assistant coach Chuck Swenson, who would later become an assistant coach during Amaker’s first five seasons at Michigan from 2001 to 2006.
Amaker played on the 1983 McDonald’s All-American Team and was also named to the Parade All-American team. According to the Fairfax Connection, the county changed the rules regarding where teachers could send their children due to Amaker’s success at Woodson.
Dawkins played point guard for the 1982–83 Blue Devils, but moved to shooting guard the following year to make way for Amaker. When Amaker joined the 1983–84 Blue Devils, unranked Duke, led by Dawkins and Amaker, won its first seven games, the longest winning streak of fourth-year head coach Krzyzewski’s career. Amaker had a field goal accuracy of over 65 percent in those games. He led Duke to the NCAA Tournament during his 1984 freshman and 1985 sophomore seasons, but neither team advanced to the Sweet Sixteen (regional semifinals). In the quarterfinal round of the 1984 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament against the Mark Price-led Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Amaker hit the game-winning shot with the score tied and less than 10 seconds left in overtime. In some instances, Amaker’s defense changed the game by limiting dribble penetration and forcing low shooting percentages regardless of whether he had notable offensive contributions.