Fowler added to Northern Arizona Men’s Basketball Staff

Chris Fowler, a three-time All-MAC honoree and all-time assist leader at Central Michigan, was formally announced as an assistant coach on the Northern Arizona men’s basketball staff by head coach Shane Burcar on Wednesday.
“Chris is going to be a dynamic leader for us in our program,” Burcar said. “We’re bringing in someone who has the correct morals and ethics that we want. He’s very grounded, hungry and humble. I really trust that he’ll bring a professional level to our program and I know our guys will feed off of his energy.”
Fowler, a native of Southfield, Mich., makes the move to NAU following two seasons at Michigan State as a graduate assistant under Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame head coach Tom Izzo. During his two years with the Spartans, Michigan State won the Big Ten regular season championship in both 2019 and 2020 and advanced to the 2019 Final Four.
Fowler assisted the Spartans’ coaching staff in the implementation of practice and game day operations in addition to scouting reports primarily on opponent personnel. Fowler also focused on player development, including the development of 2019 Big Ten Player of the Year and consensus All-American Cassius Winston and 2020 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Xavier Tillman.
“I’m thrilled for Chris and his opportunity at Northern Arizona,” Izzo said. “He’s joining a staff led by a fellow Michigander in Shane, but he’s also going to be working for a young head coach who I think is extremely talented and has a great future ahead of him. Chris spent two years with us and was an incredible part of our success over the last two years. His work with our team helped to bring our players to another level.”
“Chris has a great feel for the game and builds strong relationships with everyone around him,” Izzo added. “I think it’s great when you can hire a person who you see as a future head coach and I think Chris has that ability.”
The Lumberjacks’ newest assistant coach enjoyed a decorated playing career at Central Michigan from 2012-16, where he was a four-year team captain and still holds the Chippewas’ all-time assist record (686). He also left as Central Michigan’s all-time leader in free throws made (475) and attempted (680) and ranked third in steals (185) and fifth in points (1,736).
Over his four years at Central Michigan, Fowler was a three-time All-MAC and NABC All-District honoree. As a junior, he was the runner-up for MAC Player of the Year and was a finalist for the 2015 Lou Henson National Player of the Year Award, presented annually to the top Division I mid-major player.
“There was a connection between Coach Burcar and the Michigan State coaching staff and we actually met when he was at our facility to watch us practice a couple of times last fall,” Fowler said. “When this job became open, Coach Burcar and I had a couple of long conversations, and our relationship and comfort level with one another grew.”
Fowler, who graduated from Central Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in theatre & interpretation, also shined academically, earning CoSIDA Academic All-District honors in 2016. A three-time Academic All-MAC honoree, Fowler was also named the MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete as a senior and was the recipient of Central Michigan’s prestigious Bill Boyden Award, awarded annually to the Chippewa student-athlete who exemplifies leadership, academics and community service.
Following his collegiate career, Fowler was a second round pick of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the 2016 NBA D-League Draft. He proceeded to play overseas for the Rockhampton Rockets (Australia) and Baunach Young Pikes (Germany) from 2017-18.
Given his accomplished background, Fowler will work with a talented group of point guards at NAU headlined by returning All-Big Sky performer Cameron Shelton. The Lumberjacks are also bringing in two highly regarded prep point guards in Dayton Harris and Carter Mahaney.
“His experience working with an All-American in Cassius Winston is important,” Burcar said. “The stat that stands out to me is all-time leader in assists. We have a thoroughbred point guard in Cam Shelton and two highly recruited point guards – in our system you can play three or four point guards at a time. We also have a lot of good shooters and Chris will help our passing as well.”
“I learned some things later in my career and I can take those experiences both as a player and at a Michigan State to help these guys get to those positions earlier than I did,” Fowler said about NAU’s point guards. “It’s about giving them the techniques that worked for me to allow them to be the best versions of themselves.”

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