Acclaimed Dunbar Coach Mike Sowers named SCHS girls basketball coach

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By Laura Clark

Shelby County snagged a proven winner in new girls basketball coach Mike Sowers.

Sowers, 37, has a 191-89 record in 10 years of head coaching, five years at Pulaski County and five at Paul Lawrence Dunbar in Lexington.

Sowers' years at Dunbar were especially fruitful. In 2008 his team went 30-3, was ranked No. 1 in the state, No. 8 in the nation and sent three players to Division I schools.

Sowers also was named Kentucky High School Coach of the Year for 2008.

But in a challenging 11th Region, Sowers and Dunbar never made it to state, and not winning it all is the only thing he’s leaving behind, he said.

“I felt very satisfied with what we’d accomplished at Dunbar in five years,” he said.

Sowers said he was drawn to Shelby County for the challenge of building a program and his familiarity with Principal Eddie Oakley (a former Dunbar assistant principal) and Athletic Director Sally Zimmerman (as a former coaching foe).

“It was just like hitting a home run,” Zimmerman said of hiring Sowers. “He comes with all the accolades. We’re excited.”

Sowers comes with no set coaching style, except the firm belief in man-to-man defense. He said he prefers to see what his players are capable of and work with that. And he’s intent on building a program more than pushing for immediate success.

“I know with the schools splitting it’s going to be a unique situation,” Sowers said. “It might not happen early on. Or once you get in here, it just might happen quickly.”

Sowers plans to hold open gyms for interested players beginning sometime in May. He will teach physical education and health at SCHS. Sowers and his wife April will continue to live in Lexington.