Bemidji State names finalists for men's basketball head coach position
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
BEMIDJI, Minn. – Bemidji State University Director of Athletics Dr. Rick Goeb today announced that Matthew Bowen and Jerry Olson have been named as finalists for the BSU head men’s basketball coaching position.

Bowen is currently an assistant coach at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind. while Olson stands as the head women’s basketball coach and athletic director at Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Okla.

Matthew Bowen - Valparaiso University With 14 years of Division I men’s basketball experience, Bowen has made stops as a team manager at Indiana University (1990-1995) and an assistant coach at both University of Alabama at Birmingham and most recently, Valparaiso University (2002-present). In four seasons at Valparaiso, Bowen has helped the Crusaders to 70 wins while aiding the team to back-to-back Mid-Continent Conference Championships and appearances in the NIT and NCAA Tournaments in 2003 and 2004 respectively. In six seasons at UAB, Bowen was a part of a Conference USA National Division Championship (1999), a trip to the NCAA Tournament (1999) and a pair of NIT bids (1997, 1998). In both assistant coaching positions Bowen has been heavily involved in the recruiting, fundraising and NCAA compliance processes as well as serving as the director of a number of summer youth basketball camps.

Bowen carries Bachelor of Science degrees in health, physical education and recreation (HPER) and exercise science from Indiana (1995). He earned a Master of Arts degree in health education from Alabama-Birmingham in 1999.

Jerry Olson - Oklahoma Panhandle State University As the head women’s basketball coach and athletic director at Oklahoma Panhandle State University since 2004, Olson has directed his program to consecutive Heartland Conference Tournament second place finishes. The 2005 championship run marked the first time the Lady Aggies had been in the conference title game since the final season of his first stint at the university. Serving in the same capacity at OPSU from 1990-1994, he directed the team to a No. 4 ranking and a trip to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight (1994). Sandwiched around his first stop at OPSU, Olson served as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Division I, Montana State University from 1985 to 1987 and again from 1994 to 2004. While in Bozeman, Mont. he aided the Bobcats to three Big Sky Conference regular season championships (1987, 1996 and 2002), two conference tournament titles (1986 and 1996) and two appearances in both the NIT (1987, 2002) and NCAA Tournaments (1986, 1996). Olson also has experience at the both the NAIA and high school levels. From 1987 to 1989, he served as the head men’s basketball coach at Iowa Wesleyan College and held head coaching posts at Winfield High School from 1989 to 1990 and Hoffman-Kensington High School from 1981 to 1985.

Although his coaching resume has taken him around the country, Olson is no stranger to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. A 1981 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Morris with a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education and physical education, he was a three-time letterwinner for the Cougar men’s basketball team. He added a Master of Science degree in physical education from Montana State in 1990.

BSU’s head men’s basketball position was vacated by Pat Smith mid-May who left to take over the men’s basketball program at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas. Smith directed the Beavers to an overall record of 32-25 and a 19-9 mark versus the NSIC in two seasons.

Bemidji State is coming off a campaign in which it posted a 15-13 overall record and a 9-5 mark and third place finish in the conference standings. The Beavers have posted top-three finishes in the NSIC in each of the last three seasons marking the first time the team has accomplished that feat since it rattled off a conference championship in 1952 followed by a pair of second place finishes in 1953 and 1954.