Chris Lowery named Missouri Valley Conference Coach-of-the-Year

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    March 1, 2007

    ST. LOUIS, Mo. - For the second time in three seasons, Southern Illinois University head coach Chris Lowery is the Rawlings MVC Coach of the Year. In his third year at SIU as head coach, Lowery has led the Salukis to a 25-5 regular-season mark, 15-3 conference record, No. 11 national ranking and the No. 1 seed in this week's State Farm MVC Tournament.

    Lowery received 33 of a possible 40 first-place tallies and 113 total points to outdistance Bradley's Jim Les in the voting. Creighton's Dana Altman was third in the balloting, conducted by league coaches, media and sports information directors.

    Including his 25-5 mark this year, Lowery has compiled a 74-24 record in his three-year head coaching career at Southern Illinois, which includes two regular-season titles, last year's State Farm MVC Tournament title, and NCAA Tournament trips in 2005 and 2006.

    This season, the Salukis is expected to reach post-season play for the sixth-straight season, including the last three years under the guidance of Lowery. Should SIU make the NCAA field, the Salukis will join Cincinnati (1958-63) as the only teams in league history to make six-straight NCAA Tournaments.

    A product of Evansville, Ind., Lowery scored 1,225 career points and dished out 391 assists in his playing career at Southern Illinois as the Salukis compiled an 86-37 record during his four years as a player. He had assistant coaching stints at Rend Lake, Missouri Southern, Southeast Missouri State, Southern Illinois and Illinois before landing the head coaching position prior to the 2004-05 campaign.

    At 34 years old, Lowery is the third-youngest coach in SIU school history, behind former Saluki coach and NBA Hall of Famer Harry Gallatin, who was 31 years old when he was named head coach in 1958, and William McAndrew, the founder of Saluki basketball, who was 26 when he took the reigns of SIU's first squad in 1913.

    Lowery is the fourth Saluki coach to win Rawlings MVC Coach of the Year honors in the past five years, following Bruce Weber (2003), Matt Painter (2004), and Lowery's 2005 award. Wichita State's Mark Turgeon earned the league's top coaching honor last season.