The Valparaiso University men’s basketball program welcomes back a familiar face to the bench for the 2018-19 season, as Matt Bowen returns to Valpo as special assistant to the head coach/director of basketball operations.
Bowen spent the last six seasons (2012-18) as head coach of the University of Minnesota Duluth men’s basketball program. He led the Bulldogs in 2014-15 and 2015-16 to their highest back-to-back win totals since the 2002-03 and 2003-04 teams. Under his tutelage, UMD cracked the NABC Top 25 national rankings in January of 2016, while each of his last four Bulldog teams ranked among the top-10 in the nation in fewest turnovers/game.
Prior to UMD, Bowen served six seasons (2006-12) as men’s basketball head coach at Bemidji State University. The fourth head coach in seven years when he took the position, Bowen increased the program’s win total in five of his six seasons, culminating with the 2011-12 squad setting a school record for wins in a season. The 2011-12 NSIC coach of the year, Bowen recruited and coached the 2012 Daktronics NCAA D-II National Player of the Year in James Ellisor, as well as two of the top-10 leading scorers in the 90-year history of the Bemidji State program and the program’s all-time assist leader.
Bowen was a member of the men’s basketball coaching staff at Valpo from 2002 through 2006, spending one season as an assistant coach under Scott Drew and three seasons working as an assistant for Homer Drew. Bowen helped the Crusaders to 70 wins over his four years on staff, including back-to-back Mid-Continent Conference regular season championships and a Mid-Con Tournament title and NCAA Tournament berth in 2004.
Before his first stint at Valpo, Bowen spent seven years (1995-2002) as an assistant coach at UAB. Bowen helped the Blazers to one NCAA Tournament appearance, a Conference USA National Division championship, and two NIT berths in his tenure on the staff. In his first year at UAB, Bowen worked under the legendary Gene Bartow, who was Valpo’s head coach from 1964-70.
Bowen attended Indiana University, where he was a team manager for five years for the men's basketball program under head coach Bob Knight.
Bowen graduated from Indiana University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science degree in health, physical education and recreation and earned a Master’s degree in health education from UAB in 1999.
Bowen's father, Rick, was the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls from 1986-2006 and retired as that school’s athletic director in 2010. His grandfather, Otis, was governor of the state of Indiana from 1973 through 1981 and later served as the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (1985-1989).
Bowen and his wife, Ashli, have two daughters - McKenzi and Addison.