GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – When the Green Bay Phoenix men’s basketball team defeated the Milwaukee Panthers 80-79 on February 6, there was cause for celebration.

The Phoenix were on a 14-game losing streak and hadn’t notched a win in months. Plus, the Panthers were a top team in the Horizon League. But in the midst of the craze from multiple Davin Zeigler buzzer-beater shots, Interim Head Coach Freddie Owens humbly made history.

With the Phoenix win, Owens became the first Black head coach in UW Green Bay men’s basketball history to earn a win. Owens took over the position on January 24 when the university announced it parted ways with head coach Will Ryan after two and a half seasons and a 15-61 record.

“The wins were hard to come by this year, and we were finally able to get one. It’s just a great feeling for everybody…winning is fun,” said Owens following the Phoenix’s first practice after the upset victory.

When asked about becoming the first Black coach in program history to record a win, Owens laughed and earnestly stated, “I honestly hadn’t thought about that until you said it.”

“I feel like (the win) could be a big turning point for us,” said Randy Johnson, a junior guard on the team.

While the Phoenix ranks tenth in the Horizon League standings with a 2-12 conference record, the team has six more matchups in the regular season. As the university and Athletic Director Josh Moon begins the search for a new full-time head coach, Owens has an opportunity to notch a few more wins and bolster his case for the role. Though, he’s not focused on himself at this time.

“The attention goes to the players because I see how hard they work day in and day out. You know, to see that the hard work pays off and everything that they’ve been working on finally comes to fruition, it’s just a great feeling. I’m really happy for the players,” said Owens.

The Green Bay Phoenix host Oakland at the Kress Center on February 9.