A graduate of both Rochester (MN) John Marshall and Luther College (IA), Mark Lovelace returns to his old stomping grounds after experiencing different parts of the basketball community in the United States. In the last seven years since graduating from Luther, Lovelace has been an assistant at the high school level in Iowa, a prep school in Georgia, and at the college level in Chicago. Most recently Lovelace just finished his fourth season with the Lewis University mens basketball program, and his third season as top assistant to head coach Jim Whitesell.
Lovelace gained valuable experience at Lewis University as they competed in the best NCAA Division II conference in the nation according all Division II publications. In fact, the GLVC has been represented in the last ten national championship games. As the Flyers recruiting coordinator, Lovelace played a major role in bringing to Lewis many of the players who have led Lewis to the best back-to-back seasons in school history! With that said, the base of the team is now entering their senior season, so Lovelaces recruits are ready to make a run at the Elite Eight. Also during Lovelaces time at Lewis, they have advanced to the "Sweet 16", made the NCAA Tourney twice, won the GLVC Tourney Championship, and were runner-ups in the GLVC Tourney this past season. Along with recruiting, he also has responsibility for scouting opponents during the season, and his on-floor coaching duties primarily involve developing the Flyers perimeter players and getting the scout team ready each week. During Lovelaces three years as the top assistant, Lewis beat the #1 ranked team in the country an impressive five times!
The 30-year-old Lovelace came to Lewis from Augusta Prep in Georgia, where he was boys basketball and boys soccer assistant coach for two years. He helped guide the basketball team to the 1998 state tournament semifinals. Lovelace was assistant coach at Decorah (Iowa) High School for one year and co-head coach of the 1995 Rochester (Minn.) AAU under-19 team. He also has extensive coaching experience on the camp circuit.
In 1996, Lovelace received a bachelors degree in elementary education at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where he started all 100 games of his basketball career. A point guard, he set school records for assists in a season and career, was named the teams Defensive Player of the Year three times and was a three-year co-captain. Lovelace also enjoyed a fine career at Rochester John Marshall High School, where he was an all-conference basketball player, an all-state soccer player and co-captain of both teams. The basketball team was the number one ranked team in the state most of his senior season, before being knocked out of the state tournament by eventual state champion Anoka.
During Lovelaces basketball career, he has been associated with many great players and really knows what to look for in recruits. From his days as a ballboy for the Rochester Flyers of the Continental Basketball Association, he saw the work ethic of future NBA 3-point Champion Tim Legler (now an ESPN analyst), as well as the drive of Jim Les, the current head coach at Bradley University. In high school he had the privilege to compete side-by-side with two first team All-State performers, Mark Swenson and Brent Solheim. Lovelace also ran the backcourt for the U19 National Tournament semi-finalists with Sam Jacobson (captain of the Minnesota Gophers Final Four team). As a high school assistant he has coached two All-State performers, and at the college level he has coached three different All-Great Lakes Region performers and two All-Americans. Lovelace is a fierce competitor and knows what it takes both as a player and coach to succeed at the highest levels.
Lovelace and wife Lea live in Winona. He received his masters degree in leadership studies from Lewis this past December, and also teaches in the Physical Education department at Saint Marys. Lea will be an adjunct professor in the art department at Saint Marys after completing her masters degree in art education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Noah, their only child, was born this past February and is looking forward to his first official basketball season as a Cardinal.