WHITTIER, Calif. - Rio Hondo College Dean of Kinesiology, Dance, and Athletics Steve Hebert has announced that Mike Lowe has stepped down as head coach of the Roadrunners' men's basketball program. To fill the position, Hebert has named women's head coach Steve Johnson as his replacement. The college will now begin a search for a new women's head coach.
"We want to thank Coach Mike Lowe for his dedicated service and the tremendous job he did for the past four years with our men's basketball program," said Hebert. "Our teams were always well prepared and played great team basketball, he will be missed as the coach of the Roadrunners."
Lowe took over as men's head coach in 2013. Over four seasons, he compiled a 48-65 overall record and went 15-25 in conference play.
"I'm stepping down to spend more time with my family, especially my aging father, and to pursue other non-basketball related interests," said Lowe on his decision. "I've loved my time coaching at Rio Hondo and would like to publicly thank Steve Hebert and Margie Munoz for their support and friendship over the last four years."
Lowe's finest season came during the 2014-15 campaign when he led the Roadrunners to a 17-13 overall mark. That season, Rio Hondo qualified for postseason play and advanced to the second round of the Southern California Regional Playoffs.
He plans to stay at Rio Hondo and continue teaching in the kinesiology department.
Johnson recently wrapped up his eighth season as head coach of the Rio Hondo women's program and will be shifting his duties to the men's team beginning the upcoming 2017-18 season.
"We are excited to have Steve Johnson take over the reins for the men's program," said Hebert. "He has done a terrific job running our women's program and we anticipate Steve will excel with the men's team."
Over eight seasons, Johnson compiled a 68-144 overall record at the helm of the women's program. He most recently led the Lady Roadrunners to the 2016 Southern California Regional Playoffs after finishing tied for second place in the Foothill Conference with a 7-3 record.
Johnson will be making the return to coaching men for the first time since 2002. He previously served as an assistant coach for three years at Cal State Dominguez Hills under former head coach Larry Hauser.
"I'm really excited about the opportunity to coach the men's program at Rio Hondo College," said Johnson. "I feel like it's an opportunity for me to continue growing in my coaching and people skills. It's not every day that you get an opportunity like this so I am humbled by being allowed this situation."
Johnson's previous women's coaching experience includes one season as associate head coach at Long Beach City College (2008-09), three seasons as an assistant coach at Cerritos College (2005-08), two seasons as head coach at St. Lucy's Priory High School in Glendora (2003-05), and three seasons as an assistant at Cal State Dominguez Hills (2000-03).
When asked about shifting from coaching women to men, Johnson stated: "Coaching men hasn't necessarily been a goal of mine because I love coaching basketball regardless of men or women. I love teaching the game, teaching fundament skills, and showing players the details that have a huge impact on the game. I love teaching student-athletes about life and making decisions that will have a positive impact on their lives moving forward."
One of Johnson's main goals has nothing to do with wins or loses, but is building his players' skill development to help them move on to the next level. Academic accountability to improve matriculation is also high on his list. Four members of his 2015-16 Lady Roadrunners squad moved on to play at four-year programs.
The search to fill the vacant women's basketball head coach position is currently underway. Interested individuals should contact the Rio Hondo College Human Resources Department at (562) 908-3405 for more information regarding the application process.
(Release courtesy Rio Hondo Athletics)