He needed to protect her.
"That's all that was going on in my head," Harrington said Wednesday as he recovered from the shooting at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in Streeterville. "Nothing else matters. Period."
Harrington was shot twice in the Jan. 30 incident, when several men fired bullets into the car he was driving in the 3800 block of West Augusta Boulevard in Humboldt Park, authorities said.
The 38-year-old coach was shot in the back, and police found a bullet lodged in the headrest of his daughter's seat, prosecutors said.
Paralyzed from the waist down, Harrington said the shooting seemed to be a case of mistaken identity.
Every school day, Harrington drove the same route when dropping his daughter off at school before heading to work at Marshall. On the day Harrington was shot, he was driving a rented white car instead of his usual blue truck, which was in the shop at the time, he said.
Harrington, who played on Marshall's 1994 basketball team that was prominently featured in the documentary "Hoop Dreams," believes the shooters were targeting someone else who drove a similar car.
"We were just on our way to school and work," Harrington said. "The guys were looking for a white car."
Deandre Thompson, 21, was charged in the shooting. While Harrington said he was "glad" about the arrest, he wasn't overy emotional.
"I wasn't overcome with joy. I wasn't angry or mad," Harrington said. "I'm just glad they caught the guy."
He said he's been overwhelmed by the support from his team and Marshall, which will host a fundraiser for him on March 1. He's talked to his team several times since the shooting, giving them encouragement before games.
"The boys don't know how much they did for me," Harrington said. "The outpouring has been overwhelming."
Harrington is a beloved figure at Marshall, where he has also worked as a special education classroom assistant since 2011, according to school officials.
"The shooting caused a pall around the school," said legendary basketball coach Dorothy Gaters, also the school's athletic director and the fundraiser coordinator. "Knowing that he is still with us, and his life is spared, we are hopeful that he will someday come through the doors of this school."
Harrington, who has coached at his alma mater since the 2007-2008 season, when it won a state title, looks forward to that day, too.
"That will be the day," Harrington said. "That will be my new birthday."
The March 1 fundraiser (suggested donation $20) will start at 1 p.m. at Marshall Metropolitan High School, 3250 W. Adams St., according to Gaters.