Jeff Bower hire: Much to like about Marist's new coach
It’s no wonder Marist couldn’t pass on Jeff Bower as the Red Foxes’ new basketball coach. On paper, he seems to almost have it all.
First of all, Bower, a former New Orleans Hornets coach and general manager, brings an NBA pedigree, which will count for something in the eyes of recruits. He can assure prospective players that he knows what NBA scouts are looking for and that he can groom athletes with raw talent to have a fighting chance at the next level. That’s something coaches at rival schools might not be able to offer.
Bower’s experience working both on the sidelines and in the front office should prove to be invaluable at Marist. Bower must recruit, maneuver within a tight budget and spearhead fundraising efforts. Those are responsibilities that can be pitfalls for otherwise talented X’s-and-O’s coaches. Bower should be plenty ready for the business side of the job.
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Of course, he knows Marist and Poughkeepsie well, having served as an assistant coach for the Red Foxes from 1986 to 1995.
But what might be most impressive about Bower, 51, is his staying power. In a profession where coaches and executives are fired on a whim or look to climb up through the ranks as quickly as possible, Bower really only had two jobs in 24 years – spending nine years at Marist and 15 with the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets. That proves that not only can he be loyal, but that his bosses tend not to let him slip away.
About the only knock on Bower is that he has limited experience as a head coach. He led the Hornets from the bench just one season, and the team went 34-39 then. But his extensive background as an assistant coach at Penn State, at Marist and with the Hornets more than qualifies him for the opportunity Marist has given him to prove himself.