Written by Shelly Poe
Tom Lowry was one of the most productive centers in WVU’s basketball history. At 6-8, 220 pounds, the Madison, Ohio, native logged 1,104 points and 914 rebounds during his outstanding three-year varsity career.
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He is among a select few Mountaineers who averaged double digits in scoring and rebounding. His norms were 12.4 points and 10.3 caroms over 89 games from 1961-64. The teams he was on posted impressive records of 24-6, 23-8 and 18-10.
In compiling an overall 65-24 mark under the late coach George King, the Mountaineers won two Southern Conference championships, a runner-up finish and berths in two NCAA tournaments with Lowry in the lineup.
He was named to the all-Southern Conference first team and also the league’s all-tournament second team as a senior in 1964. He had made the all-tournament second team in each of the previous two years. As a junior, he also made the Kentucky Invitational all-tourney team, despite a tough 79-75 loss to host UK in the finals.
His career highs were 10 field goals and 26 points in a 79-72 victory over St. John’s on Dec. 6, 1963, and 22 rebounds in an 80-76 win at Pitt on Feb. 7, 1962. He played the full 40 minutes as WVU defeated Villanova 88-82 on Jan. 6, 1962 at the old Field House (aka Stansbury Hall).
Lowry considers a 75-73 upset of No. 3-ranked Davidson on Jan. 29, 1964 in Charleston as the most cherished conquest of his WVU career. He tallied 20 points and 19 rebounds in that thriller. He outplayed All-America Fred Hetzel, who was called for goaltending on a late desperation shot. The Wildcats disputed the costly ruling, but to no avail.
Lowry received a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in marketing. Then he settled in the Detroit area, where he and wife Pat still reside. They have two sons, Kirk and Adam, and a daughter, Beth Schudlich.
After short stints with Chrysler Motor Co. and General Motors, Lowry started his own business in the automobile industry. His firm produced cowhide leather for seats in new vehicles for more than 25 years. He had homes in Michigan and Charlotte, N.C. before his death on April 3, 2009.