Illinois-native Roger Powell Jr. is headed back to the Midwest after four seasons as an assistant at Gonzaga. The former Fighting Illini star was announced on Friday as the new head coach at Valparaiso, the school at which he started his coaching career back in 2011.
“We are thrilled to welcome Coach Powell and his family back to Valparaiso University,” AD Dr. Charles Small said. “His track record of on-court success started during his time as a student-athlete and has continued throughout his coaching career. Coach Powell’s experience at one of the nation’s most successful programs coupled with his familiarity with our institution will serve him well in his new role. His faith, family values and high character all reflect those of our University and athletic department. I cannot wait to see our student-athletes flourish under his leadership.”
Originally from Joliet, Powell joined Bryce Drew‘s staff at Valpo as an assistant in 2011 after six years playing professionally in the US and abroad. In 2016, he followed Drew to Vanderbilt and spent the next three years as his associate head coach.
“My family and I are extremely blessed to have the opportunity to come back to Valparaiso University where my coaching career started,” said Powell. “Now as the head men’s basketball coach, I have some unfinished business to attend to. It’s time to get to work, so let’s go Beacons!”
Valpo moved on from previous head coach Matt Lottich last month after seven seasons at the helm. The Beacons have struggled since joining the MVC in 2017, finishing below .500 in league player every year but one (9-9 in 2020). Powell has a tall task ahead, returning the program to its former elite mid-major status after eight-straight seasons without an NCAA Tournament bid.
credit to Valparaiso Athletics for the image