Jon Lowery brought an extensive background to St. Thomas when he was named head coach in April 2012. It didn't take long for Lowery -- just the fourth head coach in UST program history -- to elevate the Tommies to new heights onto the MIAC and national scene.
A Division III National Coach of the Year in 2016 and Region Coaching Staff of the Year in both 2016 and 2017, Lowery has guided St. Thomas Men's Soccer's improvement from nine wins in 2014, to 12 in 2015, to a school-record 20 wins in 2016, to 22 victories in 2017.
The 2017 Tommies became just the third conference team in the last 27 seasons to post a 10-0 MIAC finish.
Lowery's No. 4-ranked St. Thomas team lost in the national playoff quarterfinals, 1-0 on the road at No. 5-ranked North Park (Ill.), to end the season 22-2. The Toms had a 19-game win streak halted and fell one victory shy of a return trip to the national semifinals. St. Thomas won 3-0 the previous day over No. 10-ranked Otterbein -- the team's 33rd victory in a row when it scores multiple goals. The 2017 UST squad broke a school record for goals with 56. St. Thomas senior Shae Bottum was named National Player of the Year and MIAC Player of the Year, and repeated as All-America. Justin Oliver also made second-team All-America.
The Tommies' 2016 success was historic. They won the program's first solo MIAC title for the first time since 1991 with a conference mark of 7-1-2 and later captured the conference playoff tournament crown to receive an automatic berth into the NCAA playoff tournament. St. Thomas then posted victories over St. Scholastica, Luther, Benedictine (Ill.) and Redlands, including three comeback wins in overtime. They advanced to the Division III Final Four for the first time in program history. The Tommies lost 2-1 to eventual champion Tufts in the semifinals to end their remarkable season with a third-place national finish and a 20-2-3 record. The team also set school records for victories (20) and shutouts (16). St. Thomas senior Mark Heydt, the MIAC Player of the Year, was selected as first-team All-America, and junior Bottum made third-team All-America.
An elite soccer goalie as a player, Lowery completed at both the NCAA Division I college and professional levels. As an assistant coach he learned from some the finest D-I mentors, each of whom is the all-time wins leader for their respective schools, working under Sam Koch at UMASS-Amherst, John Bluem at Ohio State, and Jay Vidovich at Wake Forest University.
Lowery said the Tommies will look to continue to raise the bar in all aspects of the program, with the philosophy to empower each individual to become the best student and player possible while respecting the values and expectations of the university.
Previous UST Success
St. Thomas won its first MIAC playoff game in 2015 with a quarterfinal win and upset top-seeded Macalester in the semifinals to advance to the MIAC championship and finish second in the MIAC playoff tournament.
In 2014, the Tommies welcomed 17 new players and quickly put things together winning four of the first five games. That included a signature win, perhaps the largest in school history, by winning at Loras 2-1 on Sept. 7 thus snapping a 30-game home unbeaten streak for the Duhawks and being one of two teams (Calvin) to win in the Rock Bowl at Loras in more than five years. The win catapulted the young Tommies to No. 9 in the national polls.
As usual the MIAC conference proved to be filled with parity: the top five teams finished within four points of each other, and no team won more than seven conference games. The young Tommies went on to finish the season with a 9-8-2 record, and that kept the team average over the last three years at 10 wins a season. UST appeared in the conference postseason playoffs for the second time in three years. Individually, the Tommies produced three postseason all-conference honorees.
Off the field, the Tommies again finished the year with team grade-point average over 3.10, with 22 of 32 players finishing between and 3.00 and 3.40, and seven players posting GPAs above 3.50. The team also continued to complete community service projects on and off campus during the academic year.
In 2013, the Tommies recorded a 10-4-4 record and posted an impressive 11-game unbeaten streak in the process. Finishing the season with 40 goals (second most in the MIAC) the Tommies produced the conference leader in total goals (Miles Stockman-Willis, 12), the conference leader in total assists (Nick Rapisarda, 9) and the conference leader in total points on the season (Rapisarda, 29).
Lowery’s attack-minded 2012 team scored 37 goals (27 in conference), the most at St. Thomas since 2003, and cracked the NSCAA Top-25 poll in week 6 of the rankings. The Tommies finished the season ranked No. 5 in the NSCAA North Rankings behind four NCAA Tournament teams and was the third highest ranked conference team in the poll.
Under his leadership, the 2012 Tommies featured the MIAC Player of the Year, Nick Rapisarda, two NSCAA All North Selections, Rapisarda (1st team), Kit Weaver (3rd team), and three All MIAC Conference Selections, (Rapisarda, Weaver, Ryan Bernhardt).
In his first year with the Tommies, Lowery posted an 11-5-3 record. Within conference play the Tommies accumulated the most conference victories since 2003 and claimed third place with a 7-2-1 record. At home, the Toms were equally impressive as they built a 7-1-1 record. Lowery also guided the Tommies into the MIAC postseason playoffs where lost 1-0 in the semifinals to eventual champion Gustavus.
An Apple Valley, Minn., native, Lowery was named the 1994 Gatorade Minnesota High School Player of the Year. He played collegiately at Ohio State University and was the first Buckeye ever to be twice named first-team All-Big Ten.
He later enjoyed a four-year professional playing career in both the United Soccer League with the Minnesota Thunder (’99, ’00, ’02) and Carolina Dynamo (’01) and in Major League Soccer with the Tampa Bay Mutiny (’01). During his United Soccer League career, Lowery was called up to Major League Soccer on multiple occasions by DC United the San Jose Earthquakes and the Colorado Rapids.
Upon retirement in 2003, Lowery began his coaching career as an assistant coach at UMass-Amherst for two seasons before returning to his alma mater in 2005 and 2006 as an assistant to help the Buckeyes reach the Big Ten Championship match and NCAA Tournament. In 2007, Lowery moved on to Division I powerhouse Wake Forest University as an assistant coach and was part one of the most successful soccer programs in collegiate history. Wake Forest had a record of 43-4-3; spent two seasons as the nation’s top-ranked team; produced nine major-league soccer draft picks; and won the institution’s first NCAA national championship, in 2007, with a 2-1 win over Ohio State.
Lowery holds an ‘A’ License from the United State Soccer Federation as well as having an Advanced National Diploma from the NSCAA and completed his Masters in Sport Management from UMass-Amherst in 2006.
He and his wife Gretchen are the proud parents to two boys, Owen (6) and Issac (3).
What they’re saying about Coach Lowery…
“Jon is a coach who will put a tremendous amount of energy into building and maintaining an environment for each student-athlete to be successful: in the classroom, on the field and in the community. He is passionate and an ambitious leader who will bring great value to the programs growth at St. Thomas.”
Former Head Coach Wake Forest University
’07 National Champions
’07 & ’08 National Coach of the Year
Current Assistant Coach – Portland Timbers MLS
Current Head Coach – Portland Timbers USL
Jon Lowery at UST/Year-By-Year