OXFORD, Ohio – Miami University head men’s basketball Jack Owens announced the hiring of his staff on Wednesday. Joining the RedHawks as assistant coaches are Jeff Rutter, J.R. Reynolds and Kenneth Lowe. Coming onboard as the Director of Basketball Operations is Ryne Smith.
“This is going to be a top-level staff,” said Owens. “They are all different in their own ways, but I know they are going to come here each day and work hard to get our program to a championship level. Each guy is a great guy to be around. They are great family men and do things the right way. I’m excited to have each of them as they’ll each bring something unique to the table. We’ll have a lot of energy and be able to attack recruiting as well.”
Assistant Coach Jeff Rutter
“Jeff has been around a lot of successful coaches like Greg McDermott and Fred Hoiberg,” said Owens. “He has a lot of experience and a great basketball mind from an offensive standpoint. I’m truly excited to have him. He will help us recruit quality players.”
Rutter comes to Miami with extensive coaching experience throughout the Midwest. He spent the past four seasons at Drake, first as an assistant coach and then serving the last half season as the interim head coach. He was the Bulldogs recruiting coordinator, helping sign five prospects in the fall of 2013. Two have gone on to earn a Drake Presidential Scholarship.
Prior to his time with Drake, Rutter spent seven seasons at Iowa State. During his time with the Cyclones he helped coach 13 All-Big 12 student-athletes and aided in 46 wins, the third-best two-year win total in Cyclone history, resulting in a pair of NCAA Tournament berths. Rutter spent the first four seasons of his ISU tenure as an assistant coach before assuming the role of director of operations in the spring of 2010 under Fred Hoiberg.
After serving as a graduate assistant at North Dakota State from 1990-92, Rutter began his coaching career as a full-time assistant with the Bison from 1992-95. He then spent a season as an assistant at Stetson before taking on his first head coaching job at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, where he helped rebuild that program from 1996-03. Rutter than spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Northern Iowa from 2003-06 before following head coach Greg McDermott on to Iowa State.
“I am very excited to have this opportunity at Miami University with Jack Owens, our staff and players,” said Rutter. “I have known Coach Owens for more than 10 years. I have always had great respect for the type of person he is, how hard he’s worked and for the programs he’s been part of.
“I have always recognized Miami University to be a special place and one that has a tradition of excellence. It is clear our leadership has a true vision and commitment to not only winning, but also providing a quality experience for student-athletes. All the components are here for us to be successful.”
Assistant Coach J.R. Reynolds
“J.R.’s energy is contagious,” said Owens. “He is a guy that I know will be here working hard and doing what is best for the program. He’s also a great basketball mind. He’ll be very involved not only in recruiting, but also in the development of our guys as well.”
Reynolds comes to Miami from Eastern Illinois, where he spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach for his alma mater. Reynolds helped the Panthers advance to the 2014 OVC Tournament, just the second time EIU had made back-to-back tournament appearances since the 2003 season. In 2015, he helped coach the Panthers to posting their second winning season since the 2001 season. EIU finished with an 18-15 record including winning an NCAA Division I school record nine straight games in December and January. EIU appeared in the CollegeInsiders.com Postseason Tournament beating Oakland in the opening round for the program's first NCAA Division I postseason victory.
Prior to his time at Eastern Illinois, Reynolds spent three seasons as a graduate assistant at Purdue. Working with Owens and head coach Matt Painter, the Boilermakers compiled a record of 77-27, as well as winning the Big 10 and advancing to the Sweet 16 in his first season.
Reynolds began his coaching career as an assistant at Southeastern Illinois College from 2004-07, helping lead the team to three straight 20-win seasons and back-to-back trips to the NJCAA Regional Championship game. Reynolds graduated from Eastern Illinois in 2004 and earned a Master’s Degree from Purdue in 2012.
“I would like to thank Coach Owens and Miami for this great opportunity for my family and me,” said Reynolds. “I look forward to dedicating my energy and focus to RedHawks basketball!”
Assistant Coach Kenneth Lowe
“Kenneth was with me at Purdue, and I know I can trust him,” said Owens. “He’s going to be great with the guys. From a defensive standpoint he’s going to know everything I’m looking for. He will also excel in helping our team with skill development.”
Lowe spent the past four seasons as an assistant video coordinator at his alma mater. He handled day-to-day film study and breakdown for the student-athletes and coaching staff.
Prior to returning to Purdue, Lowe played professionally overseas for nine seasons in Turkey, Germany, Hungary, Venezuela and then in Finland from 2009-13. He led his team (Pyrinto) to the 2010 and 2011 Finnish League championship and the 2012 Gold Medal Cup. Along the way, he was named the Finnish League Player of the Month in February 2012.
Lowe graduated from Purdue in 2004 as one of the top defensive players in school history. He was the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year twice (2003 and 2004) while being a second-team All-Big Ten honoree in 2004 and a third-team choice in 2003.
“I am very excited to be a part of a program with a great basketball history,” said Lowe. “Having the most MAC Championships all-time shows that Miami is committed to winning. I am honored to work for this program.”
Director of Basketball Operations Ryne Smith
“Ryne comes from a basketball family, his dad was a high school coach,” said Owens. “He played four years at Purdue and worked himself into a really good player. I know he’s going to come here and do the same thing. He will work hard behind the scenes to help make our program championship level.”
Smith was a four-year letterwinner for Purdue from 2008-12. Seeing increased playing time each season, as a senior he appeared in 35 games, making 32 starts. He made 89 three-point field goals, which ranked third on the Boilermakers’ single-season chart. After completing his eligibility. Smith spent the 2012-13 season as a student-assistant coach under Painter and Owens, helping put together game plans and scouting reports.
Smith has spent the past three seasons teaching and coaching high school boys’ basketball. He was the head coach of Clinton Prairie High School from 2013-15 and spent the past season coaching Anderson High School in Anderson, Indiana. He taught U.S. History at both schools.
“I am extremely excited and thankful to now be a part of Miami University,” said Smith. “Certainly grateful to Coach Owens for giving me this tremendous opportunity to join his staff. I know that he has and will set the bar high for this program. I am looking forward to working with and learning from the rest of the coaching staff. We will do the best job possible to send this program in the right direction, and continue the excellent tradition of RedHawk basketball.”