Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- UMD introduced former Bemidji State coach Matt Bowen as its new men's basketball coach on Friday afternoon, ending the search to replace longtime coach Gary Holquist.
"There are certainly a lot of similarities between UMD and Bemidji State," Bowen said on Friday. "It's just a little bit different in the size of the city, the resources available to the athletic department, and the size of the university. Those are all significant advantages that brought me here."
Bowen signed a four-year deal with the Bulldogs and becomes just the third men's coach since the 1984-85 season.
He led the Beavers in the 2011-12 season to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) regular season title and a berth in the NCAA Division II tournament.
Bemidji State also set a program record with 22 wins under Bowen this past year, helping him earn NSIC coach of the year honors.
"What he did [at Bemidji State] was definitely something spectacular," UMD junior and member of the school's search committee Jake Hottenstine said. "I just hope he can bring that type of championship mentality to UMD."
"I'm excited for him. I've been here two years now, played four time against Bemidji State, and they play hard," UMD sophomore Brett Ervin said. "That's what he's going to bring to us, so we're all really excited for him."
Holquist spent 14 years as the head man for the Bulldogs, finishing with a record of (206-197). He said he shares in the team's excitement with the hiring of Bowen.
"There's no question we got a good, quality coach," Holquist said. "More importantly to me, he's a good, quality guy that understands academics, athletics, and community. Those things are important here at UMD."
A native of River Falls, Bowen took the Bemidji State job after spending 15 years as an assistant coach at the Division I level.
His first experience with collegiate basketball was as the student manager for Bob Knight's Indiana Hoosiers. While serving under Knight, Bowen was part of two Big Ten titles and four NCAA Division I tournaments.
On Friday, he put to bed any ideas that his coaching style may be modeled after Knight's.
"Hopefully the similarities you see are when you watch my team play," Bowen said. "Maybe we'll run our offense and play some defense like those Indiana teams did. I can't be Bob Knight, but I can take bits and pieces from him on what to do or not to do and put my own little stamp on it."
The other finalist for the UMD coaching job was Jeff Rutter, currently the director of basketball operations at Iowa State.