Chris Lowery is headed to the hall.
Lowery, the associate head coach for Kansas State’s men’s basketball team, was selected for Southern Illinois University’s athletics hall of fame on Thursday. He is part of an eight-member class that will be formally inducted Oct. 18, part of homecoming festivities that weekend.
Lowery is joined in the hall of fame class by Jake Alley (baseball), Karlton Carpenter (football), Craig Coffin (football), Deke Edwards (wrestling), Kelly Gerlach Hovland (women’s golf), Deb Heyne Gross (volleyball) and Tim Kratochvil (baseball).
Lowery spent time at SIU in multiple roles for the men’s basketball program. He played for the Salukis from 1991 to 1994 before becoming an assistant coach (2001-03) and ascending to the head coaching position in 2004, serving in that position through the 2011-12 season.
Lowery will become the third member of K-State’s athletics program to be inducted into SIU’s hall of fame, joining women’s basketball assistant coach Chris Carr (2006) and head coach Bruce Weber (2018).
Lowery arrived in Carbondale, Illinois, in 1990, playing under legendary head coach Rich Herrin. During his playing career, the Salukis owned an overall record of 86-37 (.699), which included a pair of Missouri Valley Conference titles and consecutive NCAA Tournaments in 1993 and 1994. He was a second-team All-MVP selection during his sophomore campaign in 1992. He finished with 1,225 points and 391 assists in his career.
Lowery then went into coaching, starting as an assistant at Rend Lake (Illinois) College, where he worked from 1995 to 1997. He then moved on to Missouri Southern for four seasons (1997-2000) and Southeast Missouri State for one (2000-01) before returning to his alma mater.
During his two-year stint as an SIU assistant, the team went 52-15 (.776), with consecutive MVC regular-season titles and NCAA Tournament appearances.
Lowery returned to his alma mater for third time a year later when he was named the 12th head coach in school history on April 9, 2004. In his first year, the Salukis posted a 27-8 record, including a 15-3 mark in league play, and he became the youngest coach, at age 32, to ever win MVC Coach of the Year honors. The squad won the league’s regular season crown and beat Saint Mary’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Lowery, who was working under Weber at the time, followed Weber to Illinois for one season before coming back to take the SIU head coaching job in 2004.
During his eight seasons at the helm, the Salukis went 145-116 (.556) with four postseason berths, two MVC regular-season championships and one MVC tournament title. SIU averaged 18.1 wins per season during his tenure, winning 20 or more games three times with three NCAA Tournament appearances (2005, 2006, 2007). That included the greatest season in the school’s annals in 2006-07, when the Salukis won a record 29 games and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2002. That team finished No. 11 in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and earned its best NCAA Tournament seed (No. 4) ever.
Lowery, a two-time MVC coach of the year (2005 and 2007), tutored a pair of AP All-America honorable mentions in Darren Brooks and Jamaal Tatum.
Numerous other players earned all-conference honors, including two players of the year Missouri Valley honors, including two players of the year (Brooks in 2005 and Tatum in 2007), 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 winner (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.
After leaving SIU, Lowery joined Weber’s K-State staff in April 2012. He’s entering his eighth season with the Wildcats in 2019-20.
Lowery has been part of the K-State coaching staff during one of the best stretches in school history, which includes 150 wins, two Big 12 regular-season championships (2013 and 2019) and five NCAA Tournament appearances (2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019) in the past seven seasons. The Wildcats’ two conference titles are the second most by a Big 12 school in that span, with the 2012-13 championship the first-ever in the Big 12 era and the first conference title by the school in more than 36 seasons.
A native of Evansville, Indiana, Lowery, earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from the SIU in 1995. Lowery and his wife, Erika, have three children, Lexis, former Manhattan High football star C.J. and Jazmyn. The couple’s son, Kahari, passed away in November 2016.