Mark Coomes To Retire Following 2008-09 Season

Mark Coomes will make 2008-09 his 13th and final season on the UIC sideline.
Mark Coomes will make 2008-09 his 13th and final season on the UIC sideline.

Oct. 23, 2008

Chicago, Ill.- UIC associate head men's basketball coach Mark Coomes announced on Thursday, Oct. 23 that he will retire from his position following the Flames' 2008-09 season.

"The great memories that I have accumulated over the years are too numerous to mention," said Coomes. "However, three NCAA bids, an NIT berth, my children Anthony and Andrea receiving four degrees from UIC, and Jimmy Collins and myself putting together a run of becoming the winningest head coach and assistant coach in the history of UIC basketball are highlights that I would be remiss if I did not mention.

"I have known Coach Collins for over 40 years, and I am deeply indebted to him for bringing me to Chicago 13 years ago," Coomes said.

Coomes has served on Collins' UIC staff for the past 12 seasons, guiding the Flames to unprecedented success during that span.

Since arriving with Collins in 1996-97, Coomes has helped UIC go 194-171 and qualify for three NCAA Tournaments (1998, 2002, 2004) and an NIT (2003), the first four postseason berths in program history. UIC has also won a pair of Horizon League Championships (2002, 2004) and a conference regular season title (1998) since Coomes has been at UIC.

Collins and Coomes are the winningest head coach and assistant coach, respectively, in school history, needing just six victories to attain 200 wins at UIC.

Prior to joining Collins' staff at UIC, Coomes finished the second of two head coaching stints at Wabash Valley College in Mt. Carmel, Ill., amassing 127 wins and just 19 losses during his time there.

Coomes was an assistant coach along with Collins under the legendary Lou Henson at Illinois from 1985 until 1994, a tenure that included the Fighting Illini's memorable Final Four run in 1989.

The 56-year old Coomes began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Henson at New Mexico State in 1974. From there he followed Henson to Illinois as a part-time assistant coach from 1975-77 before serving as an assistant coach at Northern Illinois from 1977-82. Coomes was also the head men's basketball coach and athletic director at Southern Indiana from 1984-85.