Longtime COC women’s coach Harlan Perlman dies at 68

Longtime College of the Canyons women's basketball assistant coach Harlan Perlman (center), was revered by former head coach Greg Herrick (left) as the program's “heart and soul." Photo by Jesse Muñoz/COC.
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By Jesse Muñoz 
COC Sports Information Director   

Longtime College of the Canyons women’s basketball assistant coach Harlan Perlman, the program’s “heart and soul” and top assistant for 27 seasons, and a member of the California Community College Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, has died. He was 68. 

Perlman helped the Lady Cougars to 16 Western State Conference championships, 23 postseason appearances and an overall record of 578-262 during his tenure with the program, which ran from 1992 to 2019. Canyons also advanced to the state’s Elite Eight on six occasions and appeared in the CCCAA State Championship game in 1997. 

He also successfully recruited and coached three CCCWBCA Hall of Fame players – Kyetra Brown (1995-97), Sha’Tasha Allen (1998-00) and Leslie Ortiz (2005-07) — as longtime former head coach Greg Herrick’s top assistant.  

That resume of work helped Perlman earn enshrinement into the CCCWBCA Hall of Fame, becoming the first assistant coach to be selected by the organization’s Hall of Fame committee.  

Perlman’s Hall of Fame selection was originally announced in 2020 with the induction ceremony having to wait until 2022 due to cancellations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ceremony was eventually held during the CCCAA Women’s Basketball State Championship Tournament Awards Banquet on March 9, 2022.  

“Next to the performance of our great players, coach Perlman has been as responsible as anyone in our program for our continued success,” said Herrick at the time. “Often times, the people behind the scenes don’t get the recognition they deserve. In this case, I think it was a perfect choice.” 

Considered to be one of the hardest workers in the profession, some of Perlman’s many responsibilities with the program included recruiting, academic advisement and game preparation. He also worked closely with the Lady Cougars’ post players and was revered by Herrick as the “heart and soul” of the program.  

Perlman was also an adjunct faculty member in the college’s kinesiology and physical education department, teaching a number of different courses over the years. 

Prior to arriving at COC, Perlman coached at nearby Hart High School, where he served as boys’ varsity assistant coach and junior varsity head coach. His JV team captured two Foothill League championships in five seasons and compiled an impressive 64-28 record. He spent one season as varsity coach at Venice High School.  

Perlman taught at The Learning Post, an alternative high school in the William S. Hart Union High School District. In 2003, he was honored as “Teacher of the Year” at the school. 

A native of Chicago, Perlman attended Covina High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from UCLA in 1976 and completed his master’s degree in physical education at Azusa Pacific University in 1997. 

In 2019, Perlman retired from coaching but continued to live in Santa Clarita. He is survived by his wife, Kathy. 

Funeral services are scheduled to be held beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday at Groman Eden Mortuary, located at 11500 Sepulveda Blvd. in Mission Hills. 

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