Head Coach Ray Shovlain
Coach Ray Shovlain has always challenged the student-athletes in all programs to
"Bee" leaders. A St. Ambrose University leader defines winning as an every day
effort to improve themselves, others around them, and the communities in which
they are involved. Over the past three decades, Coach Shovlain and his staff have
strived to instill that leadership in the student-athletes that participate in
The Fighting Bees have experienced tremendous success
since Shovlain was named head basketball coach in 1983-84.
This success starts with the quality, readiness, performance and community
involvement that the men's basketball program has been able to achieve.
Given that foundation, success on the basketball court has
followed. Shovlain has achieved 567 victories and 17 20-win seasons over his stellar career. The
basketball program has earned 10 NAIA National Tournament appearances and four
Sweet 16 finishes under Shovlain, including the school's first and only trip to
the Final Four in 2004, when the team set a school record for most victories in
a single season (32).
This has been accomplished against an extremely competitive and challenging
schedule that has included many contests against NCAA Division I and II
competitors. The program has elected to schedule the best opponents possible.
This year's schedule is no different.
Past seasons have included games against many NCAA Division I opponents,
including California State at Los Angeles, Creighton, Indiana State, Loyola
Marymount, St. Louis University, the University of San Diego, Western Illinois,
DePaul, Bradley, Loyola University Chicago and Notre Dame.
Well regarded by his peers, Shovlain has spoke at a number of summer basketball
camps at DePaul, Drake, Colorado State, Illinois State, Louisville and Notre
Dame. After the 1988-89 season, Shovlain was the recipient of the Paul Maaske
Memorial Award, an award given annually by the Iowa Basketball Coaches
Association to the leading small college coach in the state.
Shovlain has also gained nationwide recognition as the activity director of the
National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) at St. Ambrose. The NYSP is a summer youth
program aimed to help economically disadvantaged children ages 10-16 in the Quad
City area. The St. Ambrose University NYSP program was selected for the Silvio
O. Conte Award in 1996, recognizing them as the top NYSP program in the country.
A graduate of Clinton's St. Mary's High School, Shovlain led his team to the
1975 Iowa State Championship while earning All-State honors. As a four-year
letterman at St. Ambrose, Shovlain still holds the single game, season and
career assist records and was inducted into the SAU Athletic Hall of Fame in
1993. He went on to earn his master's in business administration at St. Ambrose
In addition to coaching and leading the Athletics Department, Shovlain's
position at St. Ambrose allows him to fulfill one of his other passions, which
is teaching in the College of Business. Shovlain was selected Professor of the
Year in 1989 and 1993. Shovlain and his wife, Betsy, currently reside in
Davenport. They are blessed with a daughter, Katelyn Rae, and
a son, Sean Michael.
Coach Jim Kiss
Kiss joined the St. Ambrose men's basketball coaching staff prior to the 2008-09
Prior to joining SAU, Kiss spent the 2007-08 campaign as an assistant coach at the
University of Minnesota-Duluth. At UMD, he was in charge of film exchange and
film breakdown; worked primarily with guards at practice; and assisted with
recruiting, scouting reports, and preseason and post-season individual workouts.
Originally from Geneseo, Ill., Kiss played four years at Minnesota-Duluth, an NCAA Division II school.
While at UMD, the Bulldogs averaged 17 wins per season. He
graduated in the spring of 2007 with a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology.
Jim's father Mike Kiss '76 and grandfather Don Morris '50 are both members of
the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Mike accumulated more
than 300 wins at Geneseo High School while Don accumulated 491 wins at Rock
Island Alleman High School over the course of their coaching careers.
Kiss graduated with his Masters of Organizational Leadership from
St. Ambrose in May 2010. He also serves the University as the Athletic
Eligibility Certifying Official and the Classroom Coordinator through the
Assistant Coach Christopher Spartz
Christopher Spartz joined the St. Ambrose men's basketball coaching staff
prior to the 2011-12 season.
A native of Western Springs, Ill., Spartz played four years at St. Ambrose
and was a member of an SAU team that reached the NAIA Division II Final Four.
During his time at SAU, the Bees won two conference championships, won one
conference tournament title, and made two NAIA National Tournament appearances.
Spartz was an academic all-conference selection and was the recipient of the
Fighting Bee Award, an award given to the student-athlete who best represents
the SAU men's basketball program.
Upon graduation from St. Ambrose, Spartz sought out the invitation to play
professionally and eventually signed with and captained the Washington Generals.
While with the Generals, Christopher competed against some of the world's most
uniquely skilled basketball talent, the World Famous Harlem Globetrotters. He
toured the world and played in over 30 countries in front of over 4 million
people worldwide. While touring with the Generals, he rubbed elbows with
celebrities, presidents, and prime ministers and did so in some of the most
historic and storied venues around the world. Some of his most fond memories
come from the two military tours he participated in.
Spartz is a graduate of Nazareth Academy College Prep.
Assistant Coach Kyle Murray
Kyle Murray has been as assistant on the St. Ambrose coaching staff since the
2006-07 season. Originally from Muscatine, Iowa, Murray graduated from Muscatine High School in 2002.
for the 2002 Quad City Sports Athlete of the Year, Murray earned 13 varsity
letters as a four-sport athlete. He was a First Team All-State selection in both
football and soccer. He earned All-State Honorable Mention in
both baseball and basketball.
In Murray's senior season, he led the Muskies to their
first playoff football win in school history, their first state basketball
appearance in 48 years, and a quarterfinal showing in the state soccer tourney.
In 2009, Murray was inducted into the Muscatine High School Athletic Hall of
After a successful high school career, Murray played football for Division I-AA
Drake University as a wide receiver. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree
in English in 2006. Following Drake, Murray came to St. Ambrose as the graduate
assistant for Sports Information. He received a Master of Business
Administration degree in 2008.