CUA Basketball Coach Steve Howes Ties Jack Bruen on School's Career Victories List, Cardinals Record Most Regular-Season Wins in Landmark Conference
WASHINGTON (Feb. 22, 2010) -- Catholic University Men's Basketball Coach Steve Howes tied the late Jack Bruen for fourth-place all-time on the school's career victories list Saturday. The Cardinals (18-7) also recorded their 10th win in the Landmark Conference, their most in league play.
Howes improved to 110-55 (.667) in his sixth season at CUA. Bruen was 110-72 (.604) in seven years (1982-89). They both played for the Cardinals and graduated from the university.
Howes has CUA in the four-team Landmark Conference Tournament for the second straight year since the league began play in 2007-08. His winning percentage is second only to Mike Lonergan's .740. Howes has piloted the Cardinals to four postseason appearances, including two NCAA Tournaments. His 2006-07 squad was 23-6 and advanced to the NCAA's second round.
"You win with great players and a dedicated staff, and I've been fortunate to have both here at Catholic University," said Howes, 36. "Much of what we run now is what Jack Bruen started years ago. He taught Mike, and Mike taught me. I'm proud and extremely humbled to tie Jack's record."
Howes played and coached under Lonergan, who led the Cards to nine NCAA Tournaments in 12 years, including the 2001 Division III National Championship. Lonergan played four years (1984-88) under Bruen at CUA and later was an assistant on his staff at Colgate University (1989-92). Howes assisted Lonergan's for five years before succeeding him in 2004.
"Steve always had a high basketball IQ, so I knew he would be able to teach the game," said Lonergan, head coach at the University of Vermont. "He was a terrific recruiter as an assistant and I knew that would allow him to keep the talent coming into the program.
"None of us can win without talented student-athletes, and Steve has always been able to sell the CUA basketball program because he is a product of it and believes what he is selling.'"
Bruen, who took over a program that had not posted a winning season in 12 years, is credited with laying the foundation for the success the team enjoys today. In the 28 seasons since his arrival, the Cardinals have recorded 22 winning seasons and earned an NCAA Division III Tournament berth 11 times. The Cards had only been in the NCAA postseason twice previously.
Bruen, 13-12 in his first season at CUA, led the Cardinals to a 19-8 record in 1985-86, then a program best for victories. The season concluded with the ECAC South Region championship. Bruen, a point guard at New York's Power Memorial Academy with Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), started the eight-team Eastern Invitational Tournament at DuFour Center in 1988. Featuring other Division III independents, the event has evolved into the CUA/Residence Inn Classic. Bruen's final two Cardinal clubs were both 18-8.
Bruen's achievements at CUA caught the eye of Colgate University, which hired him in 1989. He led the Raiders to two Patriot League championships (1995, '96) and two NCAA Division I Tournaments. He was named Patriot League Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1996 and coached Adonal Foyle, who was selected eighth overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 1997 NBA Draft.
Bruen died of pancreatic cancer on Dec. 19, 1997. Just six days prior, he coached Colgate to an 80-69 victory over Marist College.
The Cards will open Landmark Conference Tournament play Wednesday night at the University of Scranton. The victor will advance to the league championship game Saturday against the winner of the contest between Susquehanna University and the Merchant Marine Academy.
Lonergan, who has led Vermont to three 20-win seasons in five years with the Catamounts, said Howes has developed his own formula for success.
"I know Steve uses some of our offenses and defenses, but I also know he is his own man and has incorporated his own touches to the program," he said. "I ‘borrowed' a lot from Coach Bruen's system and I am flattered that Steve uses some of our same plays. I'm proud to see that he has kept the program at a high level."
The Cardinals will open their 100th season next year with an exhibition game at the University of Notre Dame. The first encounter between the two preeminent U.S. Catholic universities is set for Nov. 6, 2010.
CUA Men's Basketball All-Time Coaching Records:
Coach Record Seasons (Years)
Mike Lonergan 251-88 (.740) 1992-2004 (12)
Fred Rice 176-137 (.562) 1911-1930 (19)
Tom Young 134-88 (.604) 1958-1967 (9)
Jack Bruen 110-72 (.604) 1982-1989 (7)
Steve Howes 110-55 (.667) 2004-Present (6)