Former Southern Illinois coach Chris Lowery is in his seventh season as associate head coach at Kansas State (in 2018-19) after being the first hire by head coach Bruce Weber on April 5, 2012. He was promoted to associate head coach on October 2, 2012.
A veteran coach with more than 20 years of college coaching experience, Lowery has played an instrumental role in helping K-State post NCAA?Tournament appearances and 20-win seasons in four of the past six seasons, including a run to the Elite Eight in 2018. In addition, he helped the school capture its first-ever Big 12 regular-season championship in 2012-13, which included the second-most wins (27) and tie for the most conference wins (14) in school history.
During his time at K-State, Lowery has tutored 11 players named to All-Big 12 teams, including first team selections Rodney McGruder (2013) and Dean Wade (2018), second team picks Angel Rodriguez (2013), Marcus Foster (2014) and Barry Brown, Jr. (2018) and third team honoree Wesley Iwundu (2016, 2017). In addition, he has helped mentor three Big 12 All-Defensive Team members in Rodriguez (2013), Iwundu (2016) and Brown (2018) as well as three players selected to the league’s All-Newcomer Team, including Brown and Wade, who became the first Wildcat duo to be honored on all-rookie squad in 2015-16.
Lowery has played a major role in the development of a number of these players, including Brown and Wade, who became the second tandem under the current staff to earn spots on the Coaches’ 15-member All-Big 12 First, Second or Third Teams in 2018. Wade, who became just the fourth Wildcat to earn All-Big 12 First Team honors, was one of just 15 players in the Big 12 era (since 1996-97) to average at least 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals in a single season. Brown, who was named to both the league’s Second Team as well as the All-Defensive Team, became the first Wildcat to have 500 points, 100 rebounds, 100 assists and 50 steals in a single season. He has also key in the growth of current NBA players Rodney McGruder (Miami Heat) and Wesley Iwundu (Orlando Magic).
Lowery is in his third stint as a member of Weber’s staff after having served as his assistant coach at Southern Illinois (2001-03), Illinois (2003-04) and now, K-State. During this period, the duo has helped the three schools to a combined 203-102 (.666) record, including a 98-62 (.613) mark in conference play, with seven NCAA?Tournament appearances, including trips to the Sweet 16 in 2002, 2004 and 2018.
Lowery arrived at K-State after an eight-year stint (2004-12) as the head coach at his alma mater, Southern Illinois, where he posted a 145-116 (.556) record with four postseason appearances, two Missouri Valley Championships and one State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title. His teams averaged 18.1 wins over his tenure, including three 20-win seasons, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament on three occasions (2005, 2006, 2007), including a 2007 trip to the Sweet 16. Lowery was twice named the Missouri Valley Coach of the Year (2005, 2007).
Lowery coached two AP honorable mention All-Americans at SIU, including Darren Brooks in 2005 and Jamaal Tatum in 2007. In addition, his players earned numerous Missouri Valley honors, including two Players of the Year (Brooks and Tatum), four Defensive Players of the Year (Brooks, Randal Falker, Bryan Mullins twice), two Freshmen of the Year (Mullins and Kevin Dillard) and one Sixth Man Award (Tony Young). He coached 12 all-conference players, including five first-team selections, to go with 10 MVC All-Defensive Team honorees, five All-Freshmen picks and four All-Newcomer and Most Improved Team members.
Lowery began his coaching career at Rend Lake College in Ina, Ill., in 1995, where he helped the Warriors to a 20-win season. He followed with stints at Missouri Southern (1997-2000) and SE?Missouri State (2000-01) before returning to his alma mater as an assistant to Weber, helping the Salukis to a 52-15 (.776) record from 2001-03 with back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference titles and consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. He followed Weber to Illinois in 2003-04, where he helped the Illini to a 26-7 record and a trip to the Sweet 16. Illinois also captured its first outright Big Ten regular season title in more than 52 years, as Lowery helped coach future NBA players Deron Williams, Dee Brown, Roger Powell and Luther Head.
After a one-year stint at Illinois, Lowery returned to his alma mater as the 12th head coach at Southern Illinois on April 9, 2004. In his first year, SIU posted a 27-8 record, including a 15-3 mark in MVC play, and Lowery became the youngest coach, at the age 32, to ever win Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year honors. The Salukis won the MVC regular season crown and beat Saint Mary’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. In 2006-07, he helped SIU to its greatest season in school history, as the team won a school-record 29 games and advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2006-07. The squad finished with a No. 11 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and earned its highest NCAA Tournament seed (No. 4).
Lowery was a standout player for legendary Saluki coach Rich Herrin from 1990-94. Known as a scrappy, hustling player, he helped lead a basketball renaissance at SIU, guiding the Salukis to consecutive NCAA Tournaments in 1993 and 1994. He helped the school to an 86-37 mark during his playing career, including four postseason appearances and two Missouri Valley Conference titles. He scored 1,225 points and dished out 391 assists in his career. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from the university in 1995.
Lowery was named to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Silver Anniversary Team in December of 2014 for accomplishments at Harrison High School in Evansville.
Lowery also has some international coaching experience with USA Basketball, serving as an assistant with the U-19 team who won the gold medal at the 2009 World Championships. He coached alongside TCU’s Jamie Dixon and Purdue’s Matt Painter for a squad that included current NBA players Gordon Heyward, Shelvin Mack, Klay Thompson and Kemba Walker.
A native of Evansville, Ind., Lowery, 46, and his wife, Erika, have three children, Lexis, C.J., and Jazmyn. The couple’s son, Kahari, passed away in November 2016.