Mowen named Women’s Basketball Coach at D2 Millersville

Following a national search, Millersville University Director of Athletics Miles Gallagher has announced that Kira Mowen has been named the Marauders’ head women’s basketball coach. 

Mowen, a native of Waynesboro, Pa., and former Division I basketball player, spent 12 seasons as a Division I assistant at Texas State, Davidson, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Monmouth before becoming the head coach at Division III Knox College. There, she quickly led a dramatic turnaround that resulted in the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance and a first conference championship in 2022-23.  

“What stands out about Kira is her passion for the game and for developing student-athletes, which aligns with our core values,” said Gallagher. “She is a true leader, and energy and drive make her a great fit at Millersville. Kira is also a proven winner as a head coach. We are excited for her to lead the Millersville women’s basketball program.”

“I’d like to thank Miles Gallagher and the search committee for believing in me and allowing me to join the Millersville family,” said Mowen. “I am extremely excited to be back home in the area where I grew up and to represent Millersville women’s basketball. This is one of the top universities that competes in one of the best Division II conferences in the country. I am looking forward to getting to work with the wonderful young women of this program. I am excited to bring a different style of basketball while recruiting the rich talent of Pennsylvania and surrounding states.”

Mowen arrived at Knox just before the 2021 fall semester began, inheriting a program that had not won more than 16 games in 30 years. In her first season, Mowen guided the team to a conference tournament appearance, laying the groundwork for a historic 2022-23 campaign. With the Midwest Conference’s No. 1-ranked defense allowing just 57.6 points per game, Knox’s team rolled to a school-record 22 victories, including a 15-1 conference mark. Knox also led the conference in rebounding, blocks, assists and assist-to-turnover ratio en route to a Midwest Conference Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament berth. Mowen was selected as the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year. Among her recruiting successes was landing Kylee Callahan, who was named the MWC Newcomer of the Year.

“You win with people first: that’s been a motto of mine for years when recruiting players and staff,” said Mowen. “The character of the recruits will be paramount to our culture. We will recruit young women that can not only get it done on the court but in the classroom as well. They will have an active role in the Lancaster community building this program. We will focus on creating a culture that strives for higher team GPAs and puts emphasis on hard work in more areas than just the court.

“On the court, we want to play fast, up-tempo and score points,” said Mowen. “One of our main focuses will be on the not-so-pretty aspects of play that pay dividends in the long run: teamwork, grit, floor burns.”

Mowen made an impact on the success of her teams at every stop of her career. At Davidson, she helped the team to a pair of 20-win seasons and a Southern Conference Regular Season Championship. She also served as the recruiting coordinator. In her one season at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Mowen assisted the team to the most regular season wins in program history and followed that by signing what was ranked as the No. 1 recruiting class in the Horizon League. From there, Mowen became the associate head coach and recruiting director at Monmouth for two seasons. With Mowen on staff, Monmouth posted its best conference finish.

“My experience as a Division I assistant and as the head coach at Knox have given me great insight into taking over a program and making it a ‘family’ in such a short time,” said Mowen. “I will use all those valuable lessons from my last 14 years of coaching to make a culture change at Millersville. I grew up knowing the reputation of Millersville, and it would be my pleasure as the head coach to return this program to those standards again.”

As a student-athlete, Mowen began her career at the University of Illinois before playing three seasons and graduating with a degree in applied science from Youngstown State. While at Illinois, Mowen played under 1992 Team USA and Hall of Fame coach Theresa Gantz. Mowen also earned a master of education degree from Texas State in 2010.

Mowen becomes the 17th head coach in the 105-year history of Millersville women’s basketball. She inherits a program rich in tradition having won nine PSAC East titles and three conference championships with 10 NCAA Tournament appearances. Millersville’s last NCAA berth was in 2010-11.