MUNDELEIN – By most accounts, this Zack Ryan fellow looks ready to be Carmel Catholic's boys basketball coach next winter. After all, he played three years of basketball at the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire. And he also gained some coaching experience helping out neighboring Mundelein.
But this math teacher will soon be able to figure out what tough seasons the Carmel program has gone through. You will have to go back to the years of 1990 and 1991 when head coach Scott Rosberg guided the Corsairs to back to back 19-win seasons. Three coaches since then have combined to go 69 wins and lose 164.
Now that's rough.
And then former Grayslake Central coach, Tim Bowen, took over this losing program. After two more losing seasons, he broke the Carmel streak in 2012 with a 15-14 mark. And last year, he hit the jackpot winning 25 games. That was a Carmel record.
And now comes the news that Bowen was not asked back for another season at Carmel.
"My job was to bring championship basketball to Carmel,'' Bowen said. "I was not fired. I was let go. There is no smoking gun here. There was no grounds for dismissal."
The timing is clearly odd. Especially following the best season in Carmel history. And how did this defensive-minded bring winning to Carmel anyway?
"We had very high expectations of our players,'' he said. "We demanded much of them. We stressed fundamentals. We preached about what had to be done to succeed."
Bowen had been at Carmel for four seasons. He still teaches at Grayslake Central. He understands what happened to him but isn't all that happy about it.
"I don't like the timing of it,'' he said. "There were rumors about crazy stuff going on."
What hurts him the most is he won't be able to coach his son, Lee, in his boy's last year in high school. In fact, Lee is headed to Vernon Hills to finish his high school career.
"He knows a lot of the kids there,'' Bowen said "So the transition will be OK. It will just be the one year and I'll get a chance to see him play."
Bowen has his own basketball feeder program which he will hold on to. He will miss the younger kids who played for him.
"That's tough, too,'' he said. "I'll miss the hard work and dedication of the feeder kids."
Bowen has no complaints about the new coach at Carmel.
"They (Carmel) wanted to keep a good young coach in the building,'' he added. "I think he has the potential to be a good coach."
For coach Ryan, this is a big opportunity. He commented for the school's press release.
"I am honored and humbled to be selected as the new head varsity boys' basketball coach at Carmel Catholic High School,'' Ryan told the school. "I am extremely fortunate to be at a place like Carmel."
Bowen reports he has already been offered assistant's jobs in the country. He will continue to explore his options.
"I'll see what happens,'' he said.
In his final campaign, the Corsairs raced to a 6-0 start