Marist Athletics announced today that Jeff Bower has been hired as the 10th men’s basketball coach in program history. Bower, 51, is a former NBA head coach and general manager with the New Orleans Hornets, and worked as an assistant coach at Marist under Dave Magarity from 1986-1995, where he was on the same staff as Marist’s Athletics Director, Tim Murray.
“One of the things that was important for me and the college was to find someone that we felt not only had a great basketball knowledge and coaching experience but also someone who had a management and leadership experience,” Murray said.
Bower left Marist in 1995 to join the Hornets organization where he worked as a scout, a director of player personnel and a scouting director before becoming GM in 2002. In 2009 Bower took over head coach responsibilities after the mid-season firing of former head coach Monty Williams. While with the Hornets Bower also served as an assistant coach to Paul Silas and Tim Floyd.
Under his regime as general manager the Hornets improved from 38 wins in 05-06 and 39 wins in 06-07 to 56 wins and the team’s first division title in 07-08. In 2009 after Bower took over as head coach the Hornets went 34-39 while battling injuries for most of his tenure.
“Everything was aligned in this time and place,” Bower said. “Marist is a challenging situation that is capable of being the program everybody wants it to be.”
Bower will take over a Red Foxes basketball program that has not had a winning season since 2007-08. Chuck Martin, who was fired last month, went 41-118 in five years at the helm. The new coach has a talented and experienced group to work with for next season with 4 of 5 starters and every major bench contributor set to return in 2013-14.
“What we’re going to do is focus on the future,” Bower said, “and by focusing on the future, we’ll emphasize what’s important today. I think if we begin with a mentality that every day matters and everything matters, what that will allow us to do is build habits and start to build the way that we do things. That will generate the type of results that we’re looking for.”