Miami athletic director David Sayler named former Purdue men’s basketball associate head coach Jack Owens as Miami’s 27th head coach on Wednesday.
Owens replaces John Cooper, whose contract was not renewed after he went 59-100 overall and 29-59 in the Mid-American Conference in five seasons.
“I’m extremely excited about becoming the head men’s basketball coach at Miami University,” Owens said in a statement released by the university. “I would like to thank President Greg Crawford and Athletic Director David Sayler for this opportunity and I look forward to not only rebuilding this championship program, but also making this program one that all Miami alumni can be proud of.”
One of Owens’ primary assets is his ability as a recruiter. He generally is credited with playing a significant role in landing Purdue’s first Indiana Mr. Basketball since 1991 in Caleb Swanigan for the 2015-2016 season. His efforts helped Purdue secure four classes ranked in the Rivals.com top 30 in each of the last four seasons, including the 15th-ranked class in 2013.
The head coaching job is Owens’ first after nine seasons as a Boilermaker assistant, the last six as the associate head coach. The 1999 Eastern Illinois graduate also spent five seasons as a Southern Illinois assistant, helping the Salukis reach four NCAA Tournaments, including one trip the Sweet 16. Before his SIU job, Owens spent one season as an assistant at his alma mater and another at Barton County Community College, which was ranked second in national polls at one point that season. He started his coaching career at Howard Community College during the 2000-2001 season, serving as interim head coach for a portion of the season.
“On behalf of President Crawford, I am pleased to announce Jack Owens as our men’s basketball coach,” Sayler said. “Character, work ethic, recruiting success, player development and a winning pedigree were all traits that made Jack stand out. When you combine all those factors with the understanding of how to win at an institution similar to Miami, in Purdue, it is easy to see why we are excited to have him as our head coach.”
The Indianapolis native, a 1995 Indiana all-star at Washington High School, began his playing career with one season at Murray State before spending a season at Howard Community College and two at EIU, where he averaged 11.7 points and 6.5 assists per game while serving as team captain during his senior season. Owens earned honorable mention on the All-Ohio Valley Conference team and was named team Most Valuable Player and Outstanding Defensive Player. He served as an EIU student assistant coach in the 1999-2000 season.
Owens is the first coach with no experience as a head coach hired by Miami since Herb Sendek, who’d been a career assistant before going 63-26 overall and 40-14 in the MAC over three seasons from 1993 through 1996. Sendek left to coach North Carolina State and Charlie Coles became Miami’s coach. The RedHawks won the 1994-1995 MAC regular-season championship and earned an NCAA Tournament berth, upsetting Arizona in the first round and losing in overtime to Virginia in the second round.
Owens and his wife, Kamilah, have three daughters – Alanah, Aniyah and Anyah.
Owens will be introduced at 11 a.m. Thursday at Millett Hall in Oxford. The public is invited to attend.