By Chris Schmidbauer, Sports Information Director
Toledo, OH -- After the Owens Women's Basketball head coaching position opened last week, it did not take the Express long to find right person for the job. It was announced on Monday that former women's assistant coach, Stephen Perry, has been promoted to replace coach Michael Llanas as the new head coach of Owens's women's basketball program.
"With Coach Llanas leaving, the first person I spoke to about the head coaching job was to Stephen Perry and I was thrilled that he accepted the position as the new Head Women's Basketball Coach at Owens," Express Athletic Director JD Ettore said. "Coach Perry has been at Owens for 10 years, and during my time as the athletic director, I have seen Coach Perry do such much for the Women's Basketball team. He does almost all of the recruiting of the student-athletes as well as the scheduling. Most importantly though, he understands that academics come first and he is well aware that our student-athletes must graduate. I am looking forward to a great season under Coach Perry's guidance."
Stephen Perry first joined the Owens Women's Basketball staff during the 2007-2008 basketball season. As Llanas's right hand man, Perry has helped the Express reach new heights both on and off the floor. Since his arrival, the program has had a combined record of 295-66. During that time, the Express have also won seven Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) championships, with the most recent coming this past season when Owens won 13 of their 14 conference games. This past season also saw the Express win their fourth Region XII District I championship for the fourth time during coach Perry's tenure and the team's fourth Top Ten finish at the NJCAA Division II National Tournament. After being a part of so much success over the last 11 seasons, Perry leapt at the chance to become the program's seventh head coach.
"I am honored and excited to take over the head coaching duties. Owens Women's Basketball has a rich winning tradition and I'm looking forward to making my mark on the program as we move into a new era of Owens Athletics," Perry said.
Perry has also coached several successful players over his tenure as well. Owens has had 41 All-OCCAC players, 15 All-Region XII players, nine NJCAA Academic All-Americans, nine WBCA All-Americans and four NJCAA All-Americans. The program has also had 25 players go on to play at four year schools during Perry's time as an assistant, including Jeryn Reese, who moved on to NCAA Division I La Salle University after the 2016-2017 basketball season.
Perry has also had his hand in shattering some long standing records. During the 2016-2017 season, the women's basketball team finished the regular season with a perfect record of 30-0. This past season, the women's team set new marks with the most points scored by an individual (Da'Vina Shelton - 40 points against Hocking College - 2/10) and the largest margin of victory (101 points against Hocking College - 2/10).
Coach Perry is a graduate of St. John's Jesuit High School in Toledo, and after his prep career, he went on to play college basketball at Tiffin University. He began his coaching career at the high school level, most of which was spent at St. Ursula Academy. Perry served as both freshman and junior varsity head coach during his time with the Arrows, and his teams compiled an overall record of 127-29. They also won two City League Championships and also finished City League Runner-Up another three times.
"I have learned a lot from all the coaches that I have worked with. During my time at St. Ursula Academy (1999-2007), I was able to learn so much from Tony, Bob, and all the other coaches there," he said. "I have learned and seen a lot with Coach Llanas. I very thankful for the opportunity to have worked with him all these years."
Over recent years, coach Perry has been taking on more and more responsibilities within the program. He has put together the majority of the recruiting classes over the years and has done the scheduling for the women's basketball program in recent years as well.
"I really understand the ins and outs of our Athletic Department as well as familiarity with the other community colleges in our conference," Perry said, adding, "I'm sure there will be some new surprises in store, as there always seems to be with something new that comes up. I really don't think I could be more prepared for this than I am right now."
With Owens Athletics moving to Division III level with the NJCAA, coach Perry is looking to leave his own stamp on the program. With the team's success while Perry was an assistant under former head coach Michael Llanas, he is looking to continue the tradition that has been established over these last 11 years.
"Every year, we come up with a new slogan for the upcoming year. In March, I came up with "New Era. Same Expectations.". I thought this was perfect for next year moving to Division III, but it is especially true now with a change in the coaching staff as well. We will have the same expectations as we always have. We plan on competing for OCCAC Championships and we are aiming to win a NJCAA National Championship too."
Perry also will put an emphasis on academics with his future teams. This past year, the women's basketball program produced three Academic All-OCCAC members and a First Team Academic All-American in Olivia Frost, who graduated this past year.
"We plan on graduating our student-athletes and get them prepared to either move on to play basketball at a four year school or to continue their education and get their Bachelor's degree," he said. "The student-athletes that come out of our Women's Basketball Program will be ready academically and athletically for whatever their next challenge will be."
Away from his coaching duties, Perry works as an Account Executive for USF Holland in Bowling Green. He and his wife Susan live in Toledo, and they have two daughter together: Madeline and Lauren.