Ira Bowman has been named an assistant coach for the Auburn men’s basketball program, head coach Bruce Pearl announced Friday.
Bowman comes to Auburn after spending the past six seasons at the University of Pennsylvania under head coach Steve Donahue. He was instrumental in the recruitment of team’s top players and in the on-court development of the Quakers’ perimeter players.
“When you’re hiring a staff, it’s all about surrounding yourself with people better than you,” Pearl said. “Who can help these kids realize their full potential on and off the court? Who do I want to walk into a living room with and say to a parent that these are the men I want to surround your son with?
“Ira Bowman is a former Ivy League Player of the Year, a self-made NBA player, a great father and a true role model. Even though he is from the east, I think he fits the profile of an Auburn man to a T.”
Last season, Bowman helped lead Penn to a 24-9 record, an Ivy League title and a return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 11 seasons. It was the Quakers’ first conference crown since 2006-07.
“I’m excited to be a part of Auburn basketball,” Bowman said. “It has a great future and I’m blessed that Coach Pearl has chosen me to be a part of that. Coming off last season’s SEC Championship, I know the guys coming back have a lot to prove. This is a great, resilient bunch and I’m just fortunate to be a part of it.
“I’m also looking forward to working under Director of Athletics Allen Greene, who is going to spearhead Auburn basketball into the future.”
Bowman guided seven all-conference players during his tenure at Penn, including three during the 2017-18 season, and helped lead the Quakers to 74 wins.
The Newark, N.J. native arrived at Penn after spending four years at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), where he assisted in one of the top turnaround jobs in the country. The year before Bowman arrived at NJIT, the Highlanders were winless (0-29), and in his first season, they went 1-30. After that, the Highlanders went 15-15 overall including a 9-3 Great West Conference mark in 2010-11. His final year, NJIT went 15-17 overall and advanced to the Great West Conference championship game.
Before entering the collegiate coaching profession, Bowman spent four years as director of the Assist by Knight Foundation. In addition, he has experience with several aspects of the NBA including serving as an administrator at the NBA’s FIBA Tournament in Las Vegas as well as participating in the NBA’s Player Development Assistant Coaches Summit in 2007.
Bowman played two years at Penn, the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons, after transferring from Providence College. In his first year with the Quakers, Penn went 22-6 overall and 14-0 in Ivy League play en route to its third straight Ancient Eight title. Bowman was Second Team All-Ivy that season.
As a senior, Bowman was the Ivy League Player of the Year and First-Team All-Philadelphia Big 5 as he led the Quakers to a 17-10 record that included a 12-2 mark in Ivy play.
In his two seasons at Penn and two campaigns at Providence, Bowman combined for 918 points, 228 assists and 139 steals.
Following his playing days with the Quakers, Bowman enjoyed a professional playing career that included stints with the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks. He also played overseas in Italy and Australia, as well as the Continental Basketball Association.
Bowman played his high school career at Seton Hall Preparatory School where he is still the school’s all-time leading scorer. He scored 1,488 points in his career, including 19.6 per game during his senior season when he led the team to a 31-1 record.
Bowman and his wife, Rayna, have one son, Jeremiah.