UWA names Downey as head basketball coach

Published 1:40 pm Friday, July 19, 2013

LIVINGSTON – Mark Downey has been named head basketball coach at the University of West Alabama, according to an announcement today by Director of Athletics Stan Williamson.

The winner of two Gulf South Conference championships while at Arkansas Tech and a six-time coach of the year winner in nine seasons as a head coach, Downey comes to UWA from the University of Charleston.

“My family and I are so excited about this opportunity. We are looking forward to doing big things with the West Alabama men’s basketball program,” Downey said. “When we visited the campus, we were so impressed by the enthusiasm and the hospitality. We felt the hunger to build a successful basketball program both on and off the floor.

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“We would like to thank Dr. (Richard) Holland, Stan Williamson, the entire search committee and Michael Floyd for their time and their belief in my abilities to bring a winner to Livingston and West Alabama.”

In nine seasons at Charleston (2010-13), Arkansas Tech (2006-10) and Independence Community College (1999-2001), Downey is the owner of a 184-92 record. He has averaged just over 20 wins per season and has just one losing season. He has a 19-5 record in post-season NCAA Division II conference tournaments. Downey has coached in eight conference tournaments, reaching the finals five times and winning three conference titles.

“We are excited to add Mark Downey as the University of West Alabama’s head men’s basketball coach,” Williamson said. “He is a proven winner as a Division II head basketball coach, having experienced successful seasons at both the University of Charleston and Arkansas Tech. We believe Mark will help UWA men’s basketball become a regular contender for Gulf South Conference Championships.

“In addition, we have been fortunate to have Coach Michael Floyd serve as our interim head coach,” Williamson said. “Coach Floyd has done a fantastic job and he will continue as our assistant men’s basketball coach. We are confident these men’s basketball coaching additions to the UWA Athletics Department family have made us stronger and has positioned our program for success.”

“We will do things the right way and deserve all of our success,” Downey said. “No staff or team will work harder than we do. I look forward to getting to work with the returning players, adding a couple more new recruits, and introducing an exciting, up-tempo, attacking brand of basketball to the West Alabama community.”

Among 30 all-conference players that Downey has coached, six have been conference players of the year, four conference most valuable players and four freshmen of the year. He has had 40 former players go on to play professional basketball.

He had a 100-percent graduation rate at Arkansas State and Independence Community College and has graduated 33 of 35 seniors (95-percent) who have played for him as a head coach. The two who have yet to finish degree completion are playing professionally.

“I am also excited to be back in the Gulf South Conference. I really respect the coaches in the GSC and I believe we have the best Division II basketball league in the country,” Downey said. “The coaching in the league is as good as it gets, but I am excited to compete against a lot of good coaches that I consider close friends.”

Assistant coaching stops for Downey include the University of New Orleans (2001-06), Independence Community College (1998-99), Marshall (1996-98) and Barton College (1995-96).

Downey played his collegiate basketball at the University of Charleston (1993-95) and Wheeling Jesuit (1991-92). He was team captain for two seasons at Charleston and an all-conference performer at Wheeling Jesuit. A two-time all-state selection at St. Francis High School, he led all prep scorers in West Virginia with 37.9 points per game in 1989-90.

Downey and his wife Ericka are the parents of two sons, Bryce (7) and Andrew (1). He earned his Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine from the University of Charleston in 1995 and a Master of Science in Athletic Administration from Marshall in 1998.

He also made his acting debut in the 2004 Jerry Bruckheimer film “Glory Road”, playing University of Kentucky player Tommy Kron. He recently competed in the West Virginia Symphony fundraiser “Charleston’s Dancing With the Stars.”