Townsend Named KU Assistant Basketball Coach
June 7, 2004
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kurtis Townsend, who has had success as an assistant at several of the nation’s top Division I programs, has been named assistant men’s basketball coach at the University of Kansas, head coach Bill Self announced Monday.
Townsend, 46, joins the Jayhawk staff after serving as an assistant under Perry Clark at the University of Miami for one season. Regarded as one of the top recruiters in college basketball, Townsend also served as assistant at Southern California, Michigan, California and Eastern Kentucky before being invited to join Self’s staff at KU.
“We are all so happy to have Kurtis, but at the same time sad to lose Norm [Roberts],” Self said. “All coaches deserve the opportunity to become head coaches when their time is right — and we feel that with Kurtis, we’ve hired another future head coach.”
Prior to Miami, Townsend spent two seasons at USC helping guide the Trojans to the Pac-10 Tournament championship game. In 2001-02, his first season with the Trojans, USC finished 22-10, earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and finishing the season ranked 18th in the nation by the Associated Press.
Before his arrival at USC, Townsend spent three seasons at Michigan helping lead the Wolverines to the NIT in 2000. He was also an assistant at Eastern Kentucky in 1997-98 following four seasons at California (1993-97), where he helped coach the Golden Bears to three NCAA Tournament appearances (1994, 1996, 1997), including a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in 1997.
“I’ve known Kurtis since he was an assistant at Michigan and have always had a great deal of respect for his work ethic and how he conducts his business,” Self said. “He has been actively involved in recruiting and coaching some great prospects who have gone on to have very successful professional careers. He brings Midwest and West Coast ties and brings a solid national reputation to our program.”
Townsend has either coached or recruited numerous NBA players including Jason Kidd, Lamond Murray, Tremaine Fowlkes, Shareef Abdul-Rahim, Ed Gray, Sean Marks, Michael Stewart, Jamal Crawford and Lou Bullock.
Townsend began his coaching career on the high school level in his hometown of San Jose, Calif., having served as an assistant coach at Leland (1984-87) and Del Mar (1987-89).
Townsend played point guard at Western Kentucky for two seasons (1978-80), helping the Hilltoppers to the 1980 Ohio Valley Conference title and an NCAA Tournament bid. He played the 1981 season in the CBA for the Montana Golden Nuggets and earned a bachelor’s degree in recreation from Western Kentucky in 1982.
Prior to transferring to Western Kentucky, Townsend played two seasons at Menlo (Calif.) Junior College where he earned first-team all-state and All-America honorable mention in 1978.
Townsend, born Dec. 13, 1957, has five children: Tanika, Marques, Keisha, Kaliyah and Myka.
“I am truly excited about the Kansas tradition and having the opportunity to work with Bill Self and his staff,” Townsend said. “To be part of this program is a great honor and I can’t wait to get to Lawrence.”
“I have been at some places where I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the top college players and KU is the kind of program that attracts kids like that,” Townsend added. “I’ve also had the chance to coach in some of the top conferences and am looking forward to the competitiveness of the Big 12.”