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Florida Atlantic Owls
Florida Atlantic Owls
School Name: Florida Atlantic University
Location: Boca Raton, Florida
Arena: Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena
Capacity: 5,000
Conference: Conference USA
Head coach: Mike Jarvis

The Florida Atlantic Owls basketball team represents Florida Atlantic University, a mid-major NCAA Division I college basketball team, that currently competes in Conference USA but will join the American Athletic Conference in July 2023.

Overview and history[]

Florida Atlantic University basketball began play in the 1988-89 season. The Owls competed as an NCAA Division II independent until the 1993-94 season, when they moved up to Division I and the Atlantic Sun Conference. After spending 11 seasons in the Atlantic Sun, the Owls moved to the Sun Belt Conference, with the rest of Florida Atlantic's intercollegiate sports teams. FAU would move to Conference USA in 2013, and was one of six schools from that league announced in 2021 as future members of the American Athletic Conference. All of these schools will join The American in 2023.

Beginning: FAU gets basketball (1988–1993)[]

Florida Atlantic University played its first-ever intercollegiate basketball contest on November 18, 1988, against fellow local Division II school, Palm Beach Atlantic University. The Owls won the game 111-62. Even though the newly-formed college squad hung an impressive 111 points in their first game, they would finish the inaugural season 9-19, which included a 12-game losing streak in the middle of the year. Head coach, Lonnie Williams, was known to be a "program-builder" and, sticking to his nickname, left FAU after its first season to start another program at the University of California, Davis.

Replacing Williams was Penn State assistant coach, Tim Loomis. Loomis started his coaching career with a 21-7 record, and followed that up with back-to-back 15-13 seasons. The three consecutive winning seasons is a feat that no other Owls coach has ever matched. Along with the winning seasons, Loomis was able to schedule games against neighbor and powerhouse, University of Miami Hurricanes. Though Miami would beat the Owls soundly in the appearances, the ability to schedule games against them was seen as the Owls basketball program's growth. Loomis would lose the core of that inaugural team after the Owls' fourth season, and the Owls would suffer devastating 3-24 (1992–93) and 3-25 (1993–94) seasons the latter being their first official year as Division One. The members of these teams were true pioneers and super fundraisers for the athletic department as they hit the road to play teams like Florida State, Georgetown, and Iowa State while taking large paydays and suffering losses to higher ranked (#10 Georgetown) opponents. In fact, Loomis' team beat NC State on the road in 1993-94 to become the first Atlantic Sun team to ever beat an ACC team at the time.

Move to Division I (1993–2005)[]

The 1993-94 season would mark the beginning of the Owls competition in the NCAA's Division I. The Owls joined the Atlantic Sun Conference later, mostly due to the fact that the Owls baseball team was exceeding expectations so early in its development. In 1994-95, the team improved to 9-19 while in Loomis' last year. The team repeated that win total in 1995-96 under new coach Kevin Billerman but showed improvement by taking South Florida, Saint Louis, and Southern Illinois to end of the game last possession close road losses while winning two conference games to end the season. Former Duke Blue Devils captain and leader, Kevin Billerman, was hired to further lead the Owls into Division I; his second season produced the most wins of any Division One FAU men's basketball coach up to that point. Due to NCAA's rule, the Owls were not eligible to be full members of the Atlantic Sun for four years, and officially began competition on the Division I level in the 1993-94 season. In Billerman's four seasons, the Owls had two 20+ loss seasons (his last two) and only one winning season (his second).

For the 1999-00 season, FAU hired decorated UNLV All-American forward/center and NBA first-round draft pick, Sidney Green. In his first season, Green's Owls went 2-28, with a 25-game losing streak in the middle of the season. In each of his first and second seasons, the Owls would win their opening round game in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, but would lose in the second round.

2001-02 season: A-Sun champions[]

During the 2001-02 season, Green would lead the Owls to his only winning season, as FAU finished 19-12 and 13-7 in the Atlantic Sun. In the first-round of the 2002 Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, FAU would again win their opening game, this time defeating Jacksonville University. The Owls would break their second-round losing tradition, beating Jacksonville State University. In the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship, the Owls faced Georgia State University and won 76-75, clinching their first and only conference championship and a bid to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.

In the 2002 NCAA tournament, the Owls were seeded as a 15-seed, and placed in the South Region, and were paired with 2-seed University of Alabama. Though the Owls hung tight throughout the game, heavily-favored Alabama held on to win 86-78.

Coaching carousel (2005–present)[]

Green was fired after the 2004-05 season and the Owls landed former NCAA Coach of the Year and Tar Heel Matt Doherty. Doherty led the Owls to a 15-13 record and then left abruptly to become the head coach at Southern Methodist University.

With the rapid success of the FAU football program, created from scratch just in 2001, the Florida Atlantic sports programs again moved up in level of competition. This time, the Owls would move to the Sun Belt Conference, and basketball played its first season of competition in the Sun Belt in the 2006-07 season. To replace Doherty, assistant coach and former Kansas Jayhawk star, Rex Walters, was elevated. In his first season, Walters' Owls were 16-15 and 10-8 in the Sun Belt. The 16-15 marked the first time FAU posted back-to-back winning seasons since the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons. The 10-8 conference record was only the fourth time the Owls had a winning record in conference play. Walters' sophomore season regressed a bit, as FAU finished 15-18. After the 2007-08 season completed, Rex Walters accepted the head coaching job at the University of San Francisco, and for the third time in four years, the Owls were searching for a new coach.

FAU hired Mike Jarvis as their new coach. Jarvis previously was the head coach at Boston University, George Washington University and, most recently, St. John's University. Between the three schools, Jarvis led his teams to nine total NCAA tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight appearance with St. John's in 1999. At FAU, he looks to become the first coach in NCAA basketball history to win 100 games at four different schools.

Head coaches[]

Coach Years Seasons Record Percentage Conf. Championships Postseason
Lonnie Williams 1988-89 1 9-19 .321 -- --
Tim Loomis 1989-95 5 68-97 .412 -- --
Kevin Billerman 1995-99 4 36-71 .336 -- --
Sydney Green 1999-05 6 54-121 .309 1 (2002) NCAA First Round (2002)
Matt Doherty 2005-06 1 15-13 .536 -- --
Rex Walters 2006-08 2 31-33 .484 -- --
Mike Jarvis 2008-pres. 1 6-26 .188 1 (2010) NIT (2011)
20 seasons
2 conf. championships

Current coaching staff[]

Name Current Title Joined
Alma mater
Mike Jarvis Head Coach 2008 Northeastern
Mike Jarvis II Associate Head Coach 2008 Boston
Matt McCall Assistant Coach 2008 Florida
Tim Kaine Assistant Coach 2008 Winthrop
Brian Berlingo Head Team Manager 2006 Florida Atlantic
J.R. Fredette Director of Basketball Operations 2008 Mount Ida College
Amy Fortney Administrative Assistant 2007 Kansas

Current roster[]

No. Name Ht. Wt. Pos. Year Hometown (Last School)
1 Shavar Richardson 6'-2" 165 G So. Brooklyn, NY (New Creations Christian Prep)
3 Chris Watson 6'-6" 210 F So. Daytona Beach, FL (Lyman High)
5 Alex Tucker 5'-11" 160 G So. San Pedro, CA (Summit College Prep)
23 Sanchez Hughley 6'-4" 225 G RS Jr. Orlando, FL (Lyman High)
40 Brett Royster 6'-8" 220 F Jr. Arlington, TX (James Martin High)
55 Justin Davis 6'-10" 240 C RS So. Jacksonville, FL (Mercer University)
Greg Gantt 6'-3" 195 G Fr. Gainesville, FL (Gainesville High)
Andre Mattison 6'-7" 215 F Fr. Washington, D.C. (Coolidge High)
Jordan McCoy 6'-6" 205 F Fr. Orlando, FL (Olympia High)
DeMonte Simpson 6'-9" 260 F/C Fr. Miami Gardens, FL (Monsignor Pace High)
Darren Stewart 6'-4" 200 G/F Fr. Knoxville, TN (Bearden High)
Ray Taylor 5'-7" 160 G Fr. Plantation, FL (American Heritage School)

*Roster is for the upcoming 2009-2010 season.

NCAA Tournament results[]

Year Seed Result First Round
2002 15 First Round lost to #2 Alabama, 86–78

NIT results[]

Year Seed Result First Round
2011 7 First Round lost to #2 Miami (FL), 85–62

External Links[]