Q: What are you most excited about being at Butler?
A: I’m excited for a new start at a great school with a great basketball program. I think this can be a really elite program in North Carolina and I think this is probably the best situation that I’ve been in between all of the other schools. All of them were very good, but I think this is the one that I think can be a really good thing.
Q: What is the next step for this program to become elite, like you envision it?
A: The first thing is to establish the culture that I want and to establish how I want things done through discipline, consistency, accountability and communication. Those are my big things – that and for us to get to know each other over the course of time and by the time November comes around, things will be as they’re supposed to be and everyone will be on board and ready to go.
Q: What are some of your goals this off-season?
A: Again, just trying to get established as far as knowing the kids. We’ve started some workouts and it’s laying the foundation of the fundamentals and skills – that’s going to be the groundwork. I want them to know that and know how strong I am as far as teaching the game. I need to evaluate them and see all that they know and all they don’t know, but the main thing is to just spend time with them.
Q: How has getting the job changed your routine?
A: Since I got the job I’ve been on the phone 24/7 and it’s been go, go, go. It went from 0 to 60 in 2.1 seconds trying to establish a good coaching staff that buys into things that I believe, and I feel like I have a good start on that. I’ve got some guys I’m really excited about – including some former players. There are still a few things to be decided and there’s a couple of little loose ends that need to be tied up, but I feel real good about that. It will be helpful to have strength in numbers so the coaching staff works
Q: Last year you were heavily involved as an assistant at Olympic, but what was it like for you to not be a head coach?
A: It was different. I always ultimately want to be a head coach, but when that situation arrived and how it was presented to me, it was a good fit. In the back of my mind I was hoping it would lead to a situation like this and thank God it did. For that one year, I couldn’t have asked for a better situation – it was fantastic and it was
Coach (Ty) Baumgardner allowed me to do almost anything I wanted to do, and it was great. We were good friends, I think that’s where it started, but we developed into even better friends as time progressed. We have a similar philosophy and we talked it out before we got involved. For that one year it was great to see it from a different angle and that’s going to help me progress as a coach.
Q: You hear coaches saying taking time off changes them. Are you going to do things differently because of it?
A: I didn’t take a year off, I worked my butt off, but that was the fun part because I could concentrate on nothing but basketball and that was super fun. Anytime you get with a great coach and see some different things it’s good. No. 1, you can see things differently; or No. 2, it validates what you’ve been doing and making sure I’ve been doing it the right
Q: At Providence you had some great success and some tough seasons. What were some of the highs and the lows of your 10 years there?
A: The high was to basically come in to a program that had never really won – even with (former Providence, North Carolina and NBA star) Antawn (Jamison), they never had great teams – they had a great player.
To start almost from the bottom with a group that really wanted to get it up to the top was great. The success happened pretty quickly – we were in four of the first seven conference championships, which they’d never really done before. We won a playoff game, we won 20 games twice – which they’ve never done – and we have three of the best winning records at Providence. We turned it into where kids wanted to play there, there were games against East Meck and Ardrey Kell with 2,000 people there and to get it to that point – like a college environment – was special.
And then, the thing people don’t understand is as a high school coach I can’t go out and recruit. Ty and I have this chart of teams over the last 10 years and it’s very interesting. In most cases you see it’s like a roller coaster where teams go up and down…Providence was way up and then it went down. First, it was a drop in talent, but it was an odd set of circumstances that seemed to happen at the same time… With any high school coach there’s a lot of things people don’t know or understand, it’s a fine line.
And finally, I’d spent 10 years there and thought it was time for a change. I was hoping and praying this would happen and I’m ecstatic to be here at Butler, I think it’s a great fit.
Q: I understand you’re an author, is that true?
A: Well, yeah, I’ve written a book and some other stuff and I’ve also been published about seven or eight (times) in national magazines.
Q: Is it all basketball related?
A: Oh yes, all basketball.
Q: What is one article that sticks out to you the most?
A: Probably the one that’s a plus-minus evaluation system that I wrote. I know other people have done it, but I didn’t pull from anybody, it’s basically off the top of my head, just stuff I’ve seen. I came up with a system of plusses and minuses in a basketball game and it’s something I use each game. Kids come in and I go over the game and there’s a score at the end. It really helps with playing time and with kids that think they played a great game because they scored a lot of points but then had seven turnovers and didn’t play defense and all of that starts to show up. It’s a full basketball evaluation and is helpful to me.
Q: I hear you were quite a player, too. Any truth to that?
A: Yeah, I was a two time all-state player in high school (Shady Spring (W.Va.) High School). We didn’t have 3-point line so I lost a lot of points making long twos.
Q: There was something about some free throws and a 50-point game, too.
A: Yeah, I had a 51-point game in high school and free throws were kind of my thing. I’d like to be Dwight Howard’s free-throw coach – I think I could make a difference. (Lowey averaged 25 points per game one season in high school and scored 1,190 career points. He’s a 93.3 percent free-throw shooter based on 8,000 attempts, and once made 330 consecutive attempts).
Q: What about your personal life? Are you married and do you have any kids?
A: Yes, I’m married to my wife, Dawn, and I have two daughters, Zanna (12), and Ella (10). They are dancers, they’re really into it, they love it and I’m happy for them.
Q: Do you have a system to evaluate their performances?
A: No (laughing). I sit, I enjoy it and I totally support it as long as they love it and love the teacher they’re working for. As long as they love it, I’m totally supportive of it. I’ve sat in hours upon hours of competition and recitals, but I love it. I love being a father of two girls. I’m blessed.