JUCO NEWS: Santa Fe’s Mowry announces retirement

Long-time Santa Fe College men’s basketball coach, Chris Mowry, has decided to retire ending a twenty-one-year tenure as the Head Coach at Santa Fe.  His twenty-one seasons at Santa Fe lead the way in the record books.  Kenny Drost is the only other coach in SF men’s basketball history to have served for more than 4 years.  Drost led the Saints from 1979-1989 and then became the SF Athletic Director.  After Drost were numerous coaches until 2003 when Mowry’s committed tenure began.  Coach Chris Mowry leads the way in conference wins (134), all time wins (384) and conference titles (5) in the Saints record books.  He was named conference coach of the year five times.

“It has been an honor to serve as the coach of the Saints for the past 21 years!  I appreciate the support our administration, the leadership of our athletic directors, and the friendships I have had with all the coaches over the years.  I want to thank the many assistant coaches who served along with me who have played such a big role in our success.  I will always cherish the opportunity I have had to develop lasting relationships with our players over the years,” Mowry stated.

Mowry came to Santa Fe in 2003 from Elon University and before that he had served at the University of Central Florida for nine years.  He and his wife Gail raised their now grown children Erin and Austin Mowry in the Gainesville area, and Mowry was a staple in the community.  Many children have enjoyed the Chris Mowry Basketball Camp at Santa Fe over the years.  While most junior college coaches have shorter tenures as they climb the coaching ladder Mowry chose a different route as he and Gail invested in raising their children in the North Central Florida area.  Coaching is widely known to be a career that requires long hours, high stress, and strong relational skills that extend to the entire program becoming a family affair.

“None of the success we had as a program would be possible without the love and support of my amazing wife, Gail, and our awesome children, Erin and Austin!  I am looking forward to having much more time to spend with them during the coming years,” reflected Mowry.

Mowry was known for his attention to detail and solid execution on the floor.  Many of the players in the Santa Fe record books played for Mowry and appreciate the difference he made not only in their game but ultimately their lives.  One example is recent SF Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Hunter.  Hunter graduated from Santa Fe in 2013 and then played for Illinois State University.  Hunter was a NJCAA All-American for the Saints.  During his twenty plus years Mowry coached many all-conference players, fourteen all-state players and three NJCAA All-Americans: Hunter (2012-2013), Bradley Douglas (2022-23), Kevin Harden (2011-12).

“Coach Mowry means the world to me!  He pushed me to get better in all aspects of life and helped me achieve my goal of playing D-1 basketball.  I can’t thank him enough!” reminisced Bobby Hunter.

Altavious Carter who played for the Saints from 2009-2012 is one of the rare players to have attended Santa Fe for three years.  Most players graduated in two and moved on.  Altavious would have also, but due to a season ending injury was lucky to stay for three and receive a redshirt.  He made the most of the Mowry tutelage as he graduated and went on to Eckerd College to finish his playing career.  He returned to Santa Fe to begin his coaching career as an assistant for the Saints.  Today Altavious is a player development coach for the NBA Orlando Magic and still follows SF closely. 

“Coach Mowry has had a phenomenal impact on me and my career, he believed in me as a player, gave me an opportunity when others doubted me.  When injuries impacted my playing career, Coach Mowry saw something in me and gave me a chance to coach.  I can’t thank him enough for seeing opportunities for me that I couldn’t see, believing in me, and supporting me on and off the court,” commented Carter.

Mowry’s ability to see the strengths of his student-athletes and pour into them is what you won’t find in the record books but what may define his tenure the most.  The graduation rate and matriculation rate of his student-athletes is admirable as over 90% of them have either graduated or transferred on to continue their education.  In addition to graduation and matriculation, during Mowry’s tenure at Santa Fe he helped more than 110 players earn scholarships to the next level.  Aaron Holmes was one of those players who matriculated on to Tulane University where he played and ultimately graduate.  He has since followed in Mowry’s footsteps so to speak in helping young men reach their goals of a college education.  Holmes played for Mowry from 2008-09.  Holmes now runs the Pro Holmes Sports Academy where the program has helped hundreds of kids earn college athletic scholarships.  He credits Mowry with encouraging him to start the academy.

“It was a privilege to play for Coach.  He provided us with meals every day and really cared about us as people.  He was an outstanding father and husband, showed up everyday and took care of his responsibilities.  He set the example for us through his actions.  Coach Mowry will always be my coach!” reflected Holmes.

Coach Chris Mowry leaves a legacy of making things happen for Santa Fe.  He has fostered connections in the community that have afforded evening meals for his team, advocated for increased scholarships, and put the countless hours into responding to student needs as they often are the first in their family to attend college.  The investment that he has made in Santa Fe men’s basketball is evident in the success of his former players who now would call themselves his colleagues.  Additionally, many of his students have been honored as academic all-conference, all-state, and 15 have been named NJCAA All-Academic.

“The legacy Coach leaves far exceeds the wins he has had.  I am so proud to have learned from him as a coach and to have had a chance over the past twenty plus years to have a front row seat to the difference he made.  I am happy for him personally as I know the time commitment that coaching has required, but also sad to see this era end.” Stated Athletics Director Chanda Stebbins.

Santa Fe College will begin a national search immediately for his replacement. 


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