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Tod Kowalczyk Named Head Men’s Basketball Coach at the University of Toledo
TOLEDO, OH – The University of Toledo has hired former Wisconsin-Green Bay head coach Tod Kowalczyk as its head men’s basketball coach, UT Athletic Director Mike O’Brien announced today.
“We are very pleased that Tod Kowalczyk has agreed to become the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Toledo,” said O’Brien. “Tod is a proven builder of basketball programs, both as the head coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay, and as an assistant coach at some very fine schools. Tod has all the qualities we are looking for in a basketball coach. He is a proven winner in an excellent basketball conference. He has a superb academic record, graduating every single player who completed his eligibility during his eight years at Green Bay. Above all, Tod is a terrific teacher and a leader of young men. I think Tod is the perfect fit to lead our men’s basketball program.”
Kowalczyk has been the head coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay for the past eight seasons, compiling a 136-112 record. His Phoenix advanced to post-season play in each of the past two seasons, notching back-to-back 22-win seasons. Green Bay has also finished in the top four of the Horizon League in each of the past seven seasons, one of only 18 programs in the country to accomplish this feat.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to coach at the University of Toledo and become a part of the greater Toledo community,” said Kowalczyk, a native of De Pere, WI who becomes the 18th head coach in UT history. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of building a championship-caliber program and making Rocket fans proud of our team. We will do it with hard work and integrity. Our student-athletes will represent our institution in a first-class and positive manner.”
This past season, Kowalczyk led the Phoenix to a 22-13 record, 11-7 in the Horizon League, and advanced to the second round of the College Basketball Invitational with a first-round victory at Akron. In 2008-09, the Phoenix were 22-11, 13-5 in the Horizon, including a victory over then - No. 11 Butler. Green Bay also advanced to the CBI Tournament, hosting a post-season game for the first time in school history.
Kowalczyk’s coaching career spans 21 seasons, including assistant coaching stints at Marquette, Rutgers, Rider, St. Anselm (NH) and New Hampshire. He was named head coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2002, quickly turning around a program that was coming off three consecutive losing seasons and had an RPI rating over 270 prior to his arrival. Under Kowalczyk’s direction, Green Bay has restored its strong basketball tradition, averaging nearly 17 wins per season while playing in a league that ranks among the nation’s top 12 in RPI. The Phoenix’s home record was 87-32 record (.731) at the Resch Center over the past eight seasons.
Kowalczyk’s players did more than just win basketball games — they graduated. In fact, every player who completed his eligibility while Kowalczyk was the head coach received his degree. Green Bay’s current five-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) is 965, the second-highest mark in the Horizon League.
Kowalczyk’s final two seasons at UW-Green Bay were his best, as his Phoenix went 44-24 and made the postseason in both campaigns. His 2008-09 squad reached the postseason for the first time since 1996 while posting a 22-11 overall record. The Phoenix earned the right to host Vermont in a first-round game in the College Basketball Invitational. In addition, Green Bay finished second in the Horizon League standings with a 13-5 record. The highlight of the season came on Feb. 2, when the Phoenix knocked off No. 11 Butler, 75-66, in front of 6,978 at the Resch Center. It was the third top-25 team that Green Bay had ever defeated and the highest-rated squad ever upended by the Phoenix. The Phoenix finished the season second in the nation in free-throw shooting percentage (78.7) and fifth in three-point shooting percentage. Green Bay was the only team in the country to rate among the top five in both categories.
The 2009-10 team went 22-13 and also advanced to the CBI. Behind 36 points from senior guard Troy Cotton, the Phoenix defeated Akron on the road, 70-66, in the first round of the tournament. Green Bay fell in the second round at Saint Louis, 68-62 in double overtime. Other highlights included an 87-86 overtime win at Kent State, the eventual regular-season Mid-American Conference champion, and an 88-84 overtime win over No. 20 Wisconsin before a sell-out home crowd in Green Bay.
In each of Kowalczyk’s first four seasons, his teams finished higher in the Horizon League standings than the preseason polls had predicted. Included in the accomplishment was a freshman-dominated 2005-06 squad, which came in third despite being picked to place seventh prior to the season. In 2006-07, Green Bay posted 18 wins, the most by a Phoenix team since posting a 20-11 mark in 1998-99. Green Bay freshmen and sophomores played an average of 132 minutes out of a possible 200, easily the most of any team in the league.
Green Bay’s second-place finish in the 2004-05 conference race under Kowalczyk was the team’s best in nearly a decade, since the undefeated 1995-96 league championship season. With a 12-1 record in single-digit games, Kowalczyk’s Phoenix earned a reputation for poise under pressure.
During the 2003-04 campaign, Kowalczyk orchestrated one of the nation’s top single-season turnarounds in just his second year at Green Bay. The rise of the Phoenix to 17-11 was among the top 10 improvements in the NCAA that season. Despite being picked to finish seventh in the preseason league poll, Kowalczyk and the Phoenix vaulted to third in the league standings, posting the team’s best finish in five seasons and the most wins in conference play in eight years.
Kowalczyk came to Green Bay from Marquette University, where he served as an assistant coach. While with the Golden Eagles, Kowalczyk coordinated efforts that outfitted consecutive top-25 recruiting classes in Marquette uniforms.
In 2001-02, the Golden Eagles finished Kowalczyk’s last season ranked in the top 10 nationally, tallied a 26-7 overall record, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The following season, a Dwayne Wade-led squad made a memorable run to the Final Four en route to a 27-6 mark. “Coach Kowalczyk worked with me every day,” said Wade, an All-American and 2006 NBA Finals MVP with the Miami Heat. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for him.”
Kowalczyk played collegiate basketball at the University of Minnesota-Duluth from 1984-88. While playing under former Phoenix assistant Dale Race, Kowalczyk earned all-conference and team MVP honors as a senior, leading UMD to four consecutive national tournament berths. Kowalczyk graduated from UMD in 1989 with a bachelor of applied sciences degree in health education and physical education.
Two seasons on the coaching staff at the University of New Hampshire were followed by a two-year stint at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, where Kowalczyk and the Hawks advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament in 1993.
Kowalczyk returned to the Division I ranks with Rider University in 1993. He spent four seasons with the Broncs, who made the NCAA Tournament in 1994. Kowalczyk also earned his master’s degree in education administration while at Rider.
Before joining Tom Crean’s staff at Marquette, Kowalczyk spent three years coaching in the Big East Conference at Rutgers, including one season as associate head coach. Kowalczyk helped land two recruiting classes ranked among the top 15 nationally that led the Scarlet Knights to consecutive NIT appearances.
Well-respected among his coaching peers, Kowalczyk was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Ethics Committee in 2005.
A standout prep star at De Pere High School for coach Jake Orlowski, Kowalczyk still holds the school record with 53 points scored in a single game for the Redbirds. Kowalczyk is the son of Rod Kowalczyk, longtime coach and athletics director at De Pere.
Kowalczyk and his wife, Julie, have a son, Race (3) and a daughter, Rose (1).
The Tod Kowalczyk File
Head Coaching Experience
Year School Record/Conf. Highlights
2009-10 UW-Green Bay 22-13/11-7 Consecutive 20-win seasons for first time in 14 years; CBI Tournament-second round
2008-09 UW-Green Bay 22-11/13-5 CBI Tournament; most wins since 1995-96; second-place in Horizon League; beat No. 11 Butler
2007-08 UW-Green Bay 15-15/9-9
2006-07 UW-Green Bay 18-15/7-9 Most wins since 1998-99; third-place in Horizon League
2005-06 UW-Green Bay 15-16/8-8 Third-place in Horizon League
2004-05 UW-Green Bay 17-11/10-6 Second-place in Horizon League, best since 1995-96
2003-04 UW-Green Bay 17-11/11-5 Third-place in Horizon League
2002-03 UW-Green Bay 10-20/4-12
8 Seasons 136-112/73-61
Assistant Coaching Experience
Year School Record/Conf. Highlights
2001-02 Marquette 26-7/13-3 NCAA Tournament - 1st Round
2000-01 Marquette 15-14/9-7
1999-2000 Rutgers 15-16/6-10 NIT
1998-99 Rutgers 19-13/8-10 NIT-2nd Round
1997-98 Rutgers 14-15/6-12
1996-97 Rider 14-14/10-8
1995-96 Rider 19-11/12-6
1994-95 Rider 18-11/13-5
1993-94 Rider 21-9/14-4 NCAA Tournament
1992-93 St. Anselm 20-11/13-5 Northeast-10 Champions; NCAA Division II Tournament
1991-92 St. Anselm 14-16/9-9
1990-91 New Hampshire 3-25/0-10
1989-90 New Hampshire 5-23/3-9
Named to National Association of Basketball Coaches Ethics Committee in 2005.
• Date of Birth: June 19, 1966
• Hometown: De Pere, WI
• Family: Wife - Julie; Son - Race (3); Daughter - Rose (1)
B.S., Health Education and Physical Education, Minnesota-Duluth, 1989
M.A., Education Administration, Rider University, 1997
What They Are Saying About Tod Kowalczyk
“The combinations of toughness, integrity, character and humbleness describe Tod Kowalczyk. It’s a privilege to watch him coach and an honor to have worked with him at Marquette. Most importantly, he is an example for people to look at in the sense of doing it the right way and making those around him better. The fans at Toledo are going to be energized by his passion, commitment, and willingness to lock in with them as they build the UT program back to where it belongs. The only people that will be more excited will be the players who will feel themselves getting better every day.”
- Indiana head coach Tom Crean
“Coach Kowalczyk worked with me every day. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for him.”
- Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade ( Marquette, 2000-03)
“I can think of no better choice for Toledo than Tod Kowalczyk. I’ve been close to Tod since he entered the coaching ranks, and I’ve watched him do a phenomenal job on and off the court at Green Bay. I’m looking forward to watching his championship runs and tournament appearances at Toledo in the future.”
- Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo
“Tod is a great hire and the ideal fit for leading the University of Toledo program. He is an incredible teacher, possesses a dynamic personality and is a true leader. Toledo is not only getting a tremendous coach, but they are getting a tremendous and passionate family-oriented person that parents should want their kids to play for. Tod has a proven track record with the success that he experienced at Wisconsin-Green Bay, and I’m confident that he will do a terrific job in building the Toledo men’s basketball program.”
- TCU Coach Jim Christian
“Tod Kowalczyk has done a great job at UW-Green Bay. He is well-deserving of the opportunity to be the head coach at Toledo and I’m sure his teams will be extremely competitive in the MAC. Tod’s brand of basketball is exciting and Toledo fans will come to love it. I wish him the best of luck.”
- Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan
“ Toledo has made a terrific hire. They are getting a guy who understands what it takes to build a program through recruiting, academic success, and individual improvement on the floor. Tod knows the Midwest and he will do a great job.”
- South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn
“I welcome Tod to the state of Ohio. He’s had success wherever he has been and I’m sure that will continue at Toledo.”
- Ohio State head coach Thad Matta
“Tod Kowalczyk is one of the bright young coaches in the college game. He is an outstanding teacher, tactician, and recruiter, and he has a great feel for the game. Tod also stresses the importance of competing in the classroom just as hard they compete on the court. Toledo made a great hire in Tod Kowalczyk.”
- ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas
“This is a great opportunity for both Tod and the University of Toledo. He brings a no-nonsense, blue-collar approach to a program that has had a rich basketball tradition. I’m confident that through his hard work he will have the Rockets in contention for MAC championships for many years to come.”
- ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla
“I’ve known Tod for a number of years. Wherever he has been—including Green Bay, Marquette, Rutgers—those programs have improved and become factors in the college basketball world.”
- ESPN college basketball analyst Bill Raftery
Press Release Published 03.30.10