UTM's Campbell promotes one assistant, adds another to staff
Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2008 3:41 pm
UTM men’s basketball coach James promoted
to assistant head coach
University of Tennessee at Martin head men’s basketball coach Bret Campbell announced recently he has promoted Jason James to assistant head coach.
“Jason has been instrumental in our recruiting efforts here at UT Martin,” Campbell said. “Not only is Jason one of the top recruiters in the Southeast, but he has great understanding of the game and has been a big part of our player development.”
James, a native of St. Louis, is in his seventh season at UT Martin. He came to UT Martin in 2002 from Forest Park Community College in St. Louis where he was an assistant men’s coach for two years. The team finished second in the region James’ first year, and many FPCC players during James’ tenure went on to play Division I and Division II basketball.
Prior to his time at FPCC, James taught physical education and health for one year at Ritenour Middle School in St. Louis. He also coached a high school all-star team from the state of Michigan that placed third out of 54 teams at the USA Junior Nationals.
James earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education and health with a coaching endorsement from Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa, in 2000. For two seasons he served as captain of the Graceland University basketball team. He was voted Graceland Freshman Basketball Player of the Year for the 1996-97 season and was named the Most Valuable Team Player during the 1999-2000 season.
“Jason is a great ambassador for our basketball program and our university,” Campbell said. “I am thankful to have Jason for the past six years and look forward to his continued success.”
James helped the Skyhawks post a 17-16 overall record this past season and finish fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Skyhawks advanced to the OVC tournament semifinals.
Skyhawks’ new assistant men’s basketball coach
Jay Bowen has been named an assistant men’s basketball coach at the University of Tennessee at Martin.
“I am extremely excited to have Jay Bowen join our Skyhawk basketball family,” said UT Martin head coach Bret Campbell. “Jay has a wealth of experience at the Division I level and understands what it takes to win in the Ohio Valley Conference.”
Bowen, who has more than 17 years collegiate coaching experience, enjoyed stops at Ole Miss, Georgia State, East Central Community College and Austin Peay.
“I am excited to be at UT Martin,” Bowen said. “These are good times for the university and I am excited to be a part of it.”
Bowen graduated from Christ-ian Brothers University in Memphis in 1985 and served there as an assistant coach after graduation. He helped the 1986-87 squad to a second-place finish at the National Catholic Tournament.
He moved to Armstrong State College in Savannah, Ga., in 1987, where he served as an assistant coach. After a two-year stay at Armstrong, Bowen served two years at the University of Mississippi from 1988-89.
Following Ole Miss, Bowen moved to East Central Community College, where he recruited 12 freshmen to help rebuild the ECCC program. In 1990-91, ECCC posted a 21-6 record, which was the program’s best record in 30 years. He was voted Area Coach of the Year in 1991 and guided ECCC to its first state championship in 1992.
Bowen left ECCC to become an assistant at Georgia State in 1993. While at Georgia State he met Campbell who was an assistant at the University of Central Florida. The two schools competed in the same conference.
“I’ve known Bret for 20 years,” Bowen said. “I know him and I trust him.”
In 1994, Bowen was promoted to the top assistant coaching spot at Georgia State.
In June of 1998, Bowen returned to Mississippi where he served as the head coach at ECCC. This time around Bowen had 12 players sign NCAA Division I scholarships in three seasons.
Bowen was named an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Austin Peay in 2001. His 2001-02 recruiting class went on to win back-to-back OVC championships, including an undefeated conference record in 2003-04.
“The level of play in the OVC is much better from the top to the bottom now,” Bowen said. “This is the best level to be on as far as college basketball goes.”
Because of his recruiting success at Austin Peay, Bowen had an opportunity to go back to Ole Miss where he served as the director of basketball operations. He was promoted to an assistant coach at Ole Miss in 2004.
While an assistant, he recruited Todd Abernathy the starting point guard and the Southeastern Conference’s Sixth Man of the Year for the Rebels.
Bowen earned his master’s degree in education from then-Memphis State in 1988. He and his wife, Cristy, have two daughters, Ashleigh (19) and Katelyn (14).
“Jay is a well respected coach throughout the Southeast,” Campbell said. “He has a number of recruiting contacts that should help him bring quality student-athletes to UT Martin. He is a tireless worker.”