Bart Lundy made it clear from the very start of his formal introduction as UWM’s new head men’s basketball coach that he would pay excruciatingly close attention to details.
Moments after arriving at the podium for a news conference on Monday, Lundy told the crowd he planned to talk for precisely 18½ minutes. Speaking in the Alumni Fireside Lounge at the UWM Student Union, the program’s new leader referred to the “fireside chats” that President Franklin Roosevelt delivered from the White House.
And when Lundy noticed his young son slouching in his front-row seat, he smiled and asked him to sit up straight, drawing laughs from the audience.
Thus ended what Lundy described as a nearly two-week whirlwind period that saw the 50-year-old coach return to the Midwest following a fruitful tenure leading Division II Queens University of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Queens went 30-4 in 2021-22 and made its sixth straight NCAA Tournament, advancing this season to a regional final. The Royals reached two Final Fours under his watch, which totaled 14 seasons over two separate stints.
There were even discussions about a potential lifetime contract at Queens, which just started exploring a move up to Division I. But a move to take over the UWM program, which already plays at the top tier of NCAA basketball, felt right.
He was familiar with southeastern Wisconsin after working under then-head coach Buzz Williams at Marquette from 2009-12. Lundy arrives at UWM at a time when a new practice facility for the men’s and women’s basketball programs is under construction.
“We came on a leap of faith because we think this place can be great,” said Lundy, whose teams posted an .845 winning percentage over the past six seasons.
Lundy said his UWM teams would be tough defensively and play a “tough, fun brand of basketball.” But Monday was as much about getting the campus community, alumni and Milwaukee basketball fans to know him and his big-picture vision than it was about X’s and O’s.
He described his time at Queens as being “more than just a basketball coach. I was an integral part of the campus, which is what I would like to be here.” He served on campus-wide committees, including those that focused on promoting diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as outreach to the city.
UWM Chancellor Mark Mone was impressed with Lundy’s enthusiasm to build a program that has the components to be successful both on and off the court.
“It’s the right place, the right time and the right campus,” Mone said. “Coach Lundy, we’re thrilled to have you here.”
The news conference was held nine days after UWM announced his hiring, just as a weeklong spring break began at the university. Besides his time at Queens, Lundy also was head coach at High Point from 2003-09, and was an assistant coach at Winthrop and North Texas.
Athletic director Amanda Braun described Lundy as a “people person” with a proven ability to win over players, staff, alumni and the broader university community and fan base — a quality she said was evident even during Lundy’s interview at UWM that occurred after just two hours of sleep.
“Why Milwaukee? And this is the most important thing – I said there are no gaps (at UWM), and that’s important,” Lundy said. “But I’ve seen this city, and I’ve seen the excitement when there’s a winner. To me, that was the swing vote.”