Cowley hires coaching legend as head men's
basketball coach - Steve Eck
Named by the Wichita Eagle as one of the 11 greatest coaches in Kansas in the 20th Century, coaching legend Steve Eck was named the new head men’s basketball coach at Cowley College on March 19.
Eck replaces Brian Jackson as head coach of the Tigers as Jackson announced his resignation one day after Cowley’s season came to an end with a 71-69 loss to Garden City in the First-Round of the Region VI Tournament.
Eck is excited about coming to Cowley.
“It’s a good school that has a good tradition and a good administration,” Eck said. “This was a good opportunity for me to get back to Kansas.”
Eck comes to Cowley from Redlands (Okla.) Community College where he led the Cougars to the 2001-02 NJCAA Division II national championship in his first year as head coach. During his second season, Redlands moved to the Division I level and won the Region II championship and advanced to the NJCAA Division I Tournament, making it the first time a school moved from Division II to Division I and made the National Tournament their first year.
In six years at Redlands, Eck compiled a record of 182 wins and only 22 losses. This past season, the Cougars finished 30-2 and were ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA poll for three weeks.
Overall, in 29 years as a head coach, Eck has a record of 590 wins and 78 losses.
Tom Saia, Cowley College athletic director, is looking forward to having Eck in charge of the Tiger men’s basketball program.
“I think we have got the top community college coach in the country,” Saia said.
Prior to coaching at Redlands, Eck went 80-22 in three years as head coach at Butler Community College. While at Butler, Eck guided his team to an eight-week hold on the top ranking in the national NJCAA poll, and was the first coach in school history to lead his team to a regional championship in his first two years.
Eck is probably most well known for the success he had prior to coaching at the junior college level as he led Wichita South High School to an incredible 10 consecutive Wichita City League titles from 1986-1996. During that time, Wichita South posted a staggering record of 227-15, including a 153-7 mark in league play. His teams reached the state Final Four eight consecutive seasons, winning six state championships.
Wichita South still holds the city league record of 51 straight consecutive wins in league action. Eck is listed as the highest winning percentage coach of high school coaches in the country with at least 200 wins.
Eck also served as the Associate Head Coach at NCAA Division I University of Missouri-Kansas City during the 1999-2000 season, where he helped revive the UMKC program.
UMKC was 8-22 prior to Eck’s arrival, and during Eck’s season as Associate Head Coach, UMKC posted a 16-12 overall record, including a 10-6 mark in conference play.
Along with his team’s success on the court, Redlands had the highest team grade point average in NJCAA Division I four years (2001-02 to 2005-06) in a row. Also every sophomore Eck coached at Redlands graduated and received a scholarship to play at the next level.