Terry Fowler was named the University of South Alabama women’s basketball program’s ninth head coach on April, 17, 2013 coming off two NCAA Division II Tournament appearances in the previous three years at North Alabama.
Fowler will enter his 18th season as a head coach during the 2016-17 season and the Jackson, Tenn., natiive now holds a career coaching record of 234-236 (.498) and a 28-59 record during his first three seasons at South Alabama.
While at South Alabama, Fowler has coached four all-Sun Belt Conference selections – Meghan Dunn (‘13-14), Breanna Hall (‘14-15), Marquita Daniels and Chyna Ellis (‘15-16) – all third-team selections. Ellis also became the first Jaguar to be selected as the league’s defensive student-athlete of the year (‘15-16).
Under his direction, the 2015-16 season saw a marked change in the program as South Alabama as USA finished plus-10 in the wins column from the previous year. After recording a 5-24 record during the ’14-15 season, USA ended this past season with a 15-15 overall record – for a 9.5 games improved mark. The Jaguars’ turnaround was tied with Binghamton and Saint Louis for eight-best among Division I NCAA programs.
The Jags set a new school record with 174 blocks during the ‘15-16 season, which ranked 21st in the NCAA. USA also led the Sun Belt and tied for 11th nationally with 5.8 blocks per game. South Alabama was ninth in the NCAA in field-goal percentage defense (.347) and 46th in scoring defense (58.0). South Alabama led the conference in blocks, field-goal defense and in defensive rebounding (27.3).
Ellis ranked as one to the top post defenders nationally during the ‘15-16 campaign as she led the Sun Belt in blocking for the second-straight season. Ellis also ranked 22nd in the NCAA in that category – fourth-most among sophomores nationally – with 2.73 per game. Her 82 blocks were 24th-most nationally and were four blocks shy of tying the single-season mark of 86 set by LaShanda Jenkins during the ‘82-83 season.
In his second season, USA was tied for second in the SBC in blocks with 4.6 per game, just 0.1 behind Texas-Arlington in first. Hall closed out her Jaguar career with an outstanding final season during the 2014-15 campaign. She ranked among the conference leaders in numerous categories in the final rankings, leading the league in three-point shooting (.408), and ranking second in three-pointers per game (2.37), third in free-throw percentage (.820) and sixth in scoring (15.4). Hall also ranked 27th nationally from behind the arc.
Fowler also had a pair of freshman contribute significantly during the ‘14-15 season. Daniels ranked in the top 10 in several program freshman marks – steals (second – 54), three-pointers made (fourth – 32), free-throws (seventh – 64), and points (10th – 290). Daniels also set a new Mitchell Center record for points in a game by a South Alabama player with a 37-point effort versus Georgia State on Feb. 7, 2015.
Ellis, a fellow freshman of Daniels during the ‘14-15 season, led the conference in blocks with 2.0 per outing. Her 56 blocks were the most ever by a freshman at South Alabama. Ellis also ranked fifth in the Sun Belt on the glass with 7.8 rpg, while shooting 41.1 percent from the field.
During his first season at the helm, the Jaguars led the Sun Belt in three-point percentage (.354), three-point field-goal defense (.280) and tied with Troy for most three-pointers per game (6.5). USA ended the season ranked 26th nationally in three-point field-goal defense and 38th in three-point shooting.
Fowler’s first Sun Belt Conference victory came in his very first league contest as the Jaguars defeated preseason favorite Western Kentucky, 74-65, on Jan. 1, 2014.
Fowler arrived at USA after spending the last seven seasons at the helm at North Alabama where he guided the Lions to the NCAA Tournament in both 2011 and ’13 while winning 20-plus games in each of those years. During the 2012-13 campaign, UNA posted a 20-11 mark – going 12-6 in the Gulf South Conference – while qualifying for the event, and after ranking in the top 20 nationally in field-goal percentage defense and scoring defense he was named the league’s Coach of the Year. Fowler was also chosen the GSC East Division Coach of the Year in 2011 after leading the Lions to a 12-0 record in conference action; UNA would finish the year 21-7 after advancing to the NCAA Tournament, its first appearance in the event since the 1993-94 campaign.
At UNA, he inherited a program that had won 11 games combined the two previous seasons, and in his first year directing the team, Fowler led the Lions to a 14-14 overall finish and their first berth in the conference tournament since 2003. He guided UNA to a winning record in each of the last five years, posting an overall mark of 115-87 (56.9%) — which included going 57-32 (64%) in Gulf South play — during his tenure.
Twelve Lions earned all-GSC recognition in Fowler’s seven seasons, with a pair selected the league’s East Division Player of the Year. UNA also had the conference Freshman of the Year in 2009. Amber Rutherford led the NCAA Division II in free-throw percentage twice, during the 2006-07 season where she hit 93.7 percent of her attempts and during the following season where she hit 93.6 percent of her attempts at the charity stripe. He has also had three academic all-GSC selections during his time at North Alabama – Ashley Moore (2008-09), Julia Myers (2011-12) and Lauren Faris (2012-13).
Seven players were honored 20 times as GSC Player of the Week under his tutelage at UNA.
Fowler has ties to the Mobile community as well, having worked at both USA and Spring Hill prior to taking over the reins of the UNA program. He was an assistant on the Lady Jaguar staff during the 2000-01 and ’01-02 seasons, with his responsibilities including coach guards, recruiting, scouting, strength and conditioning, and handling team travel. During his first year, USA’s 13 wins were the most posted by the program since 1991, while in his second season the Lady Jags finished 17-11 for the school’s first winning record since 1990. USA ranked in the top 25 in the country both years in scoring defense, finishing sixth in the category Fowler’s second year on the staff.
After serving as an assistant at SHC from 1993-98, he was promoted to head coach prior to the start of the ’98-99 campaign. In his second season as a collegiate head coach, Fowler led the Badgers to their first-ever NAIA Tournament appearance and 23-11 overall record while winning both the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles. For his efforts, he was named the league Coach of the Year at the end of the year.
Fowler returned to Spring Hill in 2002, and during the next four years led the Badgers to their first-ever NAIA national ranking and the semifinals of the GCAC Tournament on two occasions, while helping SHC finish among the top 15 in the nation in scoring defense three consecutive seasons. He served as chair of the GCAC women’s basketball committee and was the Region 6 representative on the NAIA Kodak/WBCA All-America selection committee while in his second stint at the school, also implementing “Reading Badgers” and mentoring programs in, which his student-athletes assisted in the community.
He played his first two years on the collegiate level at Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.) before going on to earn all-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honors as a senior at Lane (Tenn.), where he was also a two-time Academic All-SIAC selection. Fowler earned his degree in business administration from the school in 1986, and added a master’s degree in sport management from the United States Sports Academy in 1994.
Fowler and his wife, Carolyn, have four children — Megan, Geoffrey, Morgan and Madison.