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APSU’s Athletics Department has announced that head men’s basketball coach and all-time Ohio Valley Conference wins leader Dave Loos, 69, will be taking an indefinite leave of absence to focus on health. The leave will begin with the away game against Tennessee Tech on Jan. 5.
Loos has been in a battle with cancer since the summer, and has been working to balance that fight with coaching. Loos has persevered through the fight, even returning to his coaching duties 18 days following the removal of a malignant tumor attached to the outside of his colon.
Assistant Head Coach Jay Bowen will fill Loos’s position throughout the leave, according to letsgopeay.com. Bowen served as an assistant coach for APSU in the 2001-02 season and returned to the role for the 2015-16 season.
“Our primary concern right now is the health of Coach Loos,” Athletic Director Ryan Ivey said. “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with him and his family and we wish him a speedy recovery.”
Loos was hired as head coach for APSU Men’s Basketball in 1991, and has led the program to 409 wins since then, including four NCAA Tournament appearances and two NAIA Tournament appearances. In his time at APSU, Loos coached Govs Basketball to 22 seasons that featured a fifth place or higher finish in conference, including five first place finishes in the regular season of the OVC.
Before stepping into the APSU coaching role, the 27 year veteran of APSU had two stints as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Memphis, and four years at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2002, Loos, who was a dual-sport athlete in basketball and baseball, was inducted into the University of Memphis Athletics Hall of Fame. In 2014, Loos was inducted into the Christian Brothers University hall of fame after serving as the head baseball coach and assistant basketball coach for CBU. On the diamond, Loos led CBU baseball to 81 wins in four years , including the Buccaneers’ only VSAC Baseball Championship.
Amongst all these accomplishments, the most recent was Loos’ improbably and historic run through the 2016 OVC Tournament. APSU had to play their way into the postseason by beating SIU-Edwardsville and Southeast Missouri. The next week featured APSU basketball scoring four upsets in four nights to become the first No. 8 seed to win the conference tournament.
Taking center role for the team that week was not Loos’s coaching, Chris Horton’s drive or Jared Savage’s sharpshooting, but the story of a little girl in a New York Hospital. “Rally4Rhyan” is a movement that started at the University of Missouri to support assistant coach Brad Loos’s daughter, Rhyan Loos, in her battle against stage 4 neuroblastoma cancer. Rhyan is Dave Loos’s granddaughter.
The story of Rhyan took place at the same time as Dave Loos coached APSU into the national tournament, and APSU players wore warm-ups with “Rally4Rhyan” on them. As Rhyan rallied in New York, the Govs rallied in Nashville, coming from 19 points down against Tennessee State and delivering the final blow to OVC regular season champions Belmont in overtime. The Govs went on to take the crown by knocking off UT-Martin 83-73, a team that quieted the Govs with a buzzer beater 3-pointer a month before.
There is no timeline for Loos to return to his role as head coach.