Lowery Gets Vindication

By Gordon Engelhardt, Writer | Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current), March 19, 2013 | Go to article overview

Lowery Gets Vindication


Gordon Engelhardt, Writer, Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)


Fired a year ago as head coaches of the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois men's basketball programs, Bruce Weber and Chris Lowery guided Kansas State to the Big 12 Conference co- championship and a No. 4 seed in the West Region of the NCAA tournament. "We were picked fifth or sixth in the conference and won a conference title for the first time since 1977," said Lowery, a Harrison graduate. "There's a little vindication there."

While he was talking primarily about his players, you can bet Lowery also was referring to Weber, K-State's new head coach, and himself, the Wildcats' associate head coach. Weber was named Big 12 Coach of the Year.

"Once in a while, you need change," Lowery said. "Sometimes, change is forced upon you. You worry about whether you're good enough anymore. You wonder: Can you still do this?"

The answer is a resounding, "Yes." No. 11-ranked K-State (27-7) will play either Boise State or La Salle at 2:10 p.m. Friday in Kansas City, Mo. Boise State (21-10) and La Salle (21-9) meet in a first-round game at 8:10 p.m. Wednesday at Dayton, Ohio.

Lowery said it was beneficial the duo's coaching tactics were new to the Big 12.

"The Big Ten was a physical league, and the Missouri Valley was a smaller version of the Big Ten," he said. "Obviously, there comes change. Coach Weber put in two zone presses. We had never run a zone press before."

Sometimes, the coaching world seems smaller than it might appear. Weber got his start as an assistant at Western Kentucky, then Purdue, under Gene Keady, a K-State graduate. Weber got his first head coaching job at Southern Illinois, then went to Illinois. Lowery was his assistant at both SIU and Illinois, before becoming Salukis head coach in 2004.

Now, they're reunited at KState.

Good friends off the court, Lowery and Weber once vacationed together "six or seven years in a row." They were alone for about a month at K-State before Weber assembled the rest of his staff, giving them chance to become reacquainted. …

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