LINDSBORG — Dan O’Dowd became just the third Bethany College men’s basketball coach since 1970 today during a morning press conference at the Mabee Welcome Center to announce his hiring.
The Center was filled to the brim with Bethany players, coaches and friends of the program.
O’Dowd is a 1986 Bethany College graduate, but didn’t play basketball for the Swedes, instead running track for legendary coach Jim Krob.
George Stephens coached the Swedes from 1970 to 1993, at which time Clair Oleen moved over from the women’s head coaching job to the men’s. He retired after this past season with a combined record of 541-487. He had 333 of those wins on the men’s side.
Oleen, in fact, was given the honor of introducing of O’Dowd, who comes to Bethany with nearly a quarter-century of coaching experience. He has experience at the high school level at Topeka High all the way to the NCAA Division I level, as his most notable stops were the University of Arizona and Ole Miss. His most recent stop was North Texas State University, after he had spent 10 years at the University of Texas-San Antonio, where McPherson High great Steve Henson is now the head coach.
“I am anxious to get to campus and start working with the young men in the basketball program as we strive to win championships and represent Bethany College, its students, fans, alumni and the entire Smoky Valley community in a first-class manner," O'Dowd said.
“I am very pleased that our next basketball coach at Bethany College continues the legacy of George Stephens,” Oleen said. “Coach Stephens was one of coach O'Dowd's mentors here at Bethany College, along with Jim Krob. I feel like he will be a great fit for Bethany College, he understands how special this place is.”
“In coach O'Dowd, we have hired a coach who can honor the legacy of coach Oleen, connect with potential student-athletes and build from an impressive background at the highest level of intercollegiate basketball,” Bethany Director of Athletics Dane Pavlovich said. “It's not often that the search committee as well as all involved in the interview process have similar thoughts about the top candidate, coach O'Dowd.”
“Bethany alumni are often successful professionals who love God and love people. Dan O'Dowd is such a person and coach,” Bethany President William Jones said. “We are excited to add him to our strong group of coaches. Dan has enjoyed a successful career with multiple national tournament appearances. More importantly, he is beloved by his former colleagues and players. Coach O'Dowd commits to his players' success on and off the court. He will be a wonderful addition to our campus community and to Lindsborg.”
O'Dowd completed graduate coursework while he was a graduate assistant coach at Kansas State University from 1989-1991. While at K-State, he helped the team to an NCAA Tournament appearance.