Matt Lowers, who has coached at all NCAA division levels as well as at a NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) university, is the new head wrestling coach at Knox College, the NCAA Division III school in Galesburg, Ill. announced Monday.
Lowers, who most recently headed up the NAIA wrestling program at University of the Cumberlands for the past four seasons, will take the helm of the Knox Prairie Fire mat program which also includes assistant coaches Frank McAndrew and Cowan Brown. Lowers replaces Joe Norton, who left Knox after one season to take the head coaching job at North Central College in suburban Chicago.
While at Kentucky-based UC, Lowers coached 25 national qualifiers and five All-Americans. His Patriot wrestlers maintained a grade point average above 3.0 all four years he was at the helm.
Prior to Cumberlands, Lowers spent nearly three years as the head assistant coach at NCAA Division II St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, one of the top D2 mat programs in the country. During his time at SCSU, he had 22 NCAA qualifiers, 10 All-Americans, three top 12 finishers. What’s more, the team was recognized for high academic performance.
Lowers’ Division I coaching experience came at University of Minnesota, where he was an assistant coach during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. With Lowers on the Gophers coaching staff, the team won back-to-back NWCA National Duals championships, two Big Ten team titles, and claimed the 2007 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships team title in 2007, and placed second in the NCAA team standings in 2006. In addition, he served as director of wrestling operations for the J Robinson Camps, one of the most respected wrestling camps in the nation.
Lowers’ experience in Division III was both on the mat and on the sidelines. At Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., Lowers served as wrestling team captain, then as an assistant coach.
It was that D3 experience in particular that was cited by Knox Athletic Director Chad Eisele in announcing Lowers being hired to take the reins of the Prairie Fire wrestling program. “We are excited to have Matt lead our wrestling program. Matt has coached and competed at the NCAA Division III level, and that experience – as well as the values he instills in his student-athletes – make him a good fit at Knox.”
“It was very evident during my interview that everybody on campus has a passion for Knox College and for helping students,” Lowers said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to continue building the wrestling program and working with such motivated people.”
Lowers is eager to get started at Knox, saying, “I can’t wait to get on campus and meet the team and start making preparations for our season.” He assumes his new duties this week.
Located in the western portion of Illinois between Peoria and the Quad Cities, Knox College is a four-year, private liberal arts college. Founded in 1837 by anti-slavery reformers, Knox has approximately 1,400 students. The school was the site of the fifth debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in 1858.