|Previous College:||Evansville '92|
Lennox Forrester begins his eighth season at the helm of SIUE men's basketball in 2014-15. At the start of the season, Forrester owns a 70-130 mark as the Cougars head coach.
Forrester led SIUE to its first-ever Ohio Valley Conference Tournament appearance in 2013-14, qualifying for the postseason as the No.8 seed. He guided the Cougars to a 7-9 record in conference play and an 11-20 finish overall. Both totals were the most for SIUE at the NCAA Division I level. For the third consecutive season, the Cougars posted a winning record at Vadalabene Center, finishing 9-5. Beginning with the 2010-2011 season, the Cougars have increased their home win total for four consecutive seasons. SIUE’s best win of the season came in front of the home faithful on Jan. 4, 2014, when it defeated eventual Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Champion Eastern Kentucky 85-79. Forrester challenged his team early on, scheduling proven non-conference opponents. SIUE faced off against Saint Louis and Arkansas during its non-conference slate, both teams were ranked within the RPI top 100 at the conclusion of the season. The Cougars also faced Oregon State of the PAC-12 Conference.
SIUE made great strides offensively during the 2013-2014 campaign. The Cougars improved their scoring average more than 10 points per game, averaging 73 points per game in 2013-2014, after averaging 62.9 points a contest the season before. SIUE also connected on 47 percent of its shots during the year, improving their field goal percentage from 42.6 percent in 2012-13. SIUE again excelled at long-range shooting under Forrester, shooting nearly 38 percent from behind the arc, the conference’s third most efficient mark. Forrester’s squad also managed to defend the three-point line quite well, allowing opponents to convert just 34.5 percent of their three-point attempts. Both defending the three-point line and shooting well from behind the three-point line have become staples in Forrester’s game plan, in the past three seasons the Cougars have finished in the top five in the conference in both categories.
Forrester helped foster the development of first-year point guard Donivine Stewart, who was tabbed as a member of the Ohio Valley Conference All-Newcomer Team. Stewart, in his first year of action after transferring from Bradley, led the Cougars in scoring at 12.2 points per contest.
In 2012-13 Forrester led SIUE during its first season as a fully certified NCAA Division I program. He guided the Cougars to their biggest win as Division I program, when SIUE upended Murray State 65-60 Feb. 14 at Vadalabene Center. The Cougars finished 9-18 overall, but were 8-5 on their home floor. SIUE came within a game of qualifying for the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. For the second season in a row, the Cougars were among the top five in the OVC in three-point percentage, finishing fourth at .363. SIUE also was fifth in the OVC in three-point field goal defense (.325). Forward Mark Yelovich finished his time at SIUE. After five seasons under Forrester’s tutelage, Yelovich became the program’s third all-time leading scorer with 1,467 points. He became the first player ever to score at least 1,000 points, have at least 500 rebounds (579) and at least 100 steals (111). In all Yelovich appeared in the top seven in six different offensive career categories.
In 2011-2012, Forrester led the Cougars to a 10-17 record. The Cougars were 7-6 at home, the first winning record at home in the Division I era. SIUE won eight games over true Division I opponents--the previous high was four. The Cougars earned three road wins after not posting a win on the road the season before. Forrester led SIUE through a full OVC schedule for the first time, guiding the Cougars to a 6-10 mark and a ninth place finish. Forrester also oversaw the continued progression of forward Mark Yelovich, who earned second team honors from the Ohio Valley Conference, and the development of forward Jerome Jones, who was honored as part of the OVC's All-Newcomer team. Under Forrester's guidance, freshman Kris Davis led the nation in three-point percentage (.598) while helping the Cougars lead the OVC in three-point percentage (.397). It wasn't all offense, as SIUE was second in the OVC in defending the three-point line, with Cougars' opponents shooting just 32 (.315) percent from long range. SIUE also was second in the OVC in defensive rebounds, pulling down nearly 23 (22.9) defensive rebounds per game.
During the 2010-2011 season, Forrester led SIUE to its second consecutive tournament title as the Cougars defeated Longwood and the Citadel to capture the IBN Las Vegas Classic crown. SIUE finished with an overall record of 8-21, including four Division I wins. SIUE also went 6-8 in home games during the year. All of this came while playing the season without Yelovich, who was injured in the first game of the year. The Cougars were again lauded for their success off the court. The team earned its second OVC Team Academic Achievement Award for having the highest percentage of players who were named to the OVC's Honor Roll.
Forrester guided the Cougars to three Division I wins in 2009-2010. Two of those wins came as he led the Cougars to the championship of the Drake Hy-Vee Classic in December, where the Cougars beat host Drake before downing Texas-Arlington in the Championship game. The Cougars also enjoyed a strong showing in the classroom, winning the OVC Team Academic Achievement Award for 2009-2010.
Forrester coached the Cougars to a 10-20 finish in their first season as a Division I program in 2009. Included in the 10 wins were three against true Division I opponents. The first win came November 16, when SIUE knocked off Western Michigan 83-72 at the Charleston Classic in Charleston, SC. Forrester's team also picked up wins at UMKC and SEMO. Forrester coached Yelovich to the second-best season by a freshman in school history. Yelovich finished with 369 points. The Mt. Zion native led the team with an average of 13.6 a night and received Honorable Mention honors as part of the All-Independent team.
Introduced as SIUE's seventh head coach on April 9, 2007, Forrester made it quickly apparent that he had all of the tools necessary to provide a successful program on the court and in the classroom. He put his mark on SIUE basketball in his first season, setting the school record for wins by a rookie head coach with 17. The Cougars' 17-11 record was good enough to qualify for the GLVC's post-season tournament in the school's final season in the conference. Forrester immediately set his game plan into motion during the 2007-2008 season. He led the Cougars to becoming a top defensive team. The Cougars limited their opponents to shooting 43 percent from the field, good enough for second in the conference. The Cougars were also second in the conference with their 7.96 steals per game average. Within that framework, SIUE basketball was motivated to becoming a strong presence on the offensive end, dangerous with an inside and outside game. Forrester also coached T.J. Gray into becoming an All-GLVC second team selection. The Chicago native was tops in the conference with his 3.78 three pointers made per game. Gray became the SIUE single-season leader for three pointers with 102.
Before coming to SIUE, Forrester was one of the longest-tenured assistant coaches in the Missouri Valley Conference, spending five seasons as an assistant coach at Bradley University from 2002-2007. His work with post players as well as perimeter players at Bradley proved successful for the Braves. Forrester was beside Bradley Coach Jim Les when the Braves advanced to the second round of the NIT in 2007. The 2005-06 season saw the Braves advance to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet Sixteen. Before his time at Bradley, Forrester spent 10 seasons (1992-2002) as an assistant coach and an administrative assistant for the University of Evansville under Coach Jim Crews.
A former National Junior College All-American at Parkland College in 1989, Forrester transferred to Evansville to join the Purple Aces as a player. Leg injuries precluded Forrester from playing. Instead, he remained with the program as a student assistant.
Forrester earned a bachelor of arts in sociology at Evansville in 1992. He has a 10-year-old daughter, Calaya.