Huskies tip off 2011-12 regular season against Boilermakers on ESPN3
Lou Dawkins joined the NIU men’s basketball coaching staff on April 14, 2011, following seven highly-successful seasons as the head coach at Saginaw High School in Saginaw, Mich.
In his first season at NIU, Dawkins helped guide one of the youngest teams in the nation to the program’s first MAC Tournament victory since 2003, defeating MAC West Champion Eastern Michigan in the opening round of the conference tournament to advance to Cleveland. NIU saw 55.9 percent of its minutes played by freshmen during the 2011-12 season, the sixth-highest percentage in the country, and the Huskies lead the MAC in offensive rebounds while ranking second in rebounding defense and third in rebounding margin.
Year two saw NIU continue to build the foundation of the program with the fourth-least experienced team in the country. The Huskies achieved a number of milestone victories in 2012-13, including the program’s first win at Miami (Ohio) since 1981, its first win at Central Michigan since 2006 and its first victory over Kent State since 2003.
During the 2013-14 season, the Huskies engineered the largest single-season win improvement in school history, and the 10th-largest nationally for the season, recording a 10-win improvement, going 15-17, NIU’s most victories since the 2005-06 season.
Despite having the second-least experienced team in the MAC, NIU posted its most non-conference wins, six, since 1999-2000 and its most home wins, 10, 1994-95; NIU closed the season with a five-game home winning streak. The Huskies also recorded their first top-50 RPI win, Toledo on Feb. 26, since December 14, 1999 (Wisconsin).
NIU earned the No. 7 seed in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, earning a first round home game for the first time since 2003, while advancing to Cleveland for the second time in three seasons. Jordan Threloff earned All-MAC honorable mention recognition and Aaric Armstead was named to the MAC All-Freshman Team.
The Huskies continued to make strides during the 2014-15 season, Dawkins’ fourth at NIU. The Huskies posted a 14-16 record playing against a strength of schedule ranked 147th in the nation, NIU’s best since 2004-05. Playing in a much-improved MAC, NIU posted an RPI of 188, the school’s best since 2005-06.
The 2014-15 Huskies opened the season with six-straight home wins, tying a school-record with 11 consecutive home victories dating back to 2013-14. NIU posted its first winning non-conference record since 2005-06 and the Huskies also finished the season strong, winning each of their last four regular season games, including a win at Toledo, NIU’s first win over Western Michigan since 2010 and a victory over MAC regular season champion Central Michigan.
During his seven seasons as the head coach at Saginaw High, Dawkins had an overall record of 149-28 and led the Trojans to Michigan Class A state championships in 2007 and 2008 and reached the state semifinals in 2005; the Trojans finished 2007 ranked second nationally by MaxPreps and in 2008 they were fourth in the USA Today Super 25. Dawkins was named the national coach of the year in 2007. He was also the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Coach of the Year in 2007 and the Michigan AP Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2008.
The Trojans won the Saginaw Valley Conference championship in six of Dawkins' seven seasons as head coach and he was named the conference coach of the year on three occasions. Dawkins also served as the Director of Athletics at Saginaw High during his final three years as head coach.
Dawkins coached 11 players that went on to receive NCAA Division I basketball scholarships, including Michigan State's Draymond Green, now a member of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, and Josh Southern of Boston College.
Prior to becoming the varsity coach at Saginaw High, Dawkins was the junior varsity coach for six seasons, compiling an overall mark of 112-10.
A Saginaw, Mich., native, Dawkins played collegiately at the University of Tulsa from 1989-94 under J.D. Barnett and Tubby Smith. He helped the Golden Hurricanes reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 1994; Dawkins earned all-conference second team honors and was also named Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year that season. He still ranks fifth all-time in Tulsa history with 339 career assists and sixth all-time in school history with 176 steals.
Dawkins received his bachelor's degree in Health, Physical Education and Recreation from Tulsa in 1994. He and his wife, Latricia, have been married for 21 years and have two sons; Mario Robinson, 24, and Christian Dawkins, 22, and a daughter, Hailee Dawkins, 17. Their third son, Dorian Dawkins, passed away five years ago at the age of 14.