Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lute wide receiver plans to coach

Senior hopes to become Division I football coach, follow father’s footsteps

By Nathan Shoup, Sports Reporter

Senior Tyler Bowen played the final football game of his career, but the wide receiver’s life in football is just getting started.

After compiling 469 career receiving yards, including three touchdowns and a passing touchdown, Bowen said he is looking to the next chapter in his life in which he plans to pursue a career as a Division I collegiate football coach.

“It’s one of those things that is going to be bitter-sweet,” Bowen said. “I’m sad that I’m not going to be able to play anymore.”

Frequently nicked and bruised, Bowen, who earned the nickname “old man” on the team, is ready move to the sidelines.

“Physically I am ready to be done,” Bowen said.

Bowen started playing football in the sixth grade and said he knew immediately that he wanted to play college football.

Football runs in the Bowen family. Bowen’s father, Gene, is the head coach of the Rodgers High School Rams in the Puyallup School District.

“All I know him [Gene Bowen] as is a football coach,” Bowen said. It didn’t take Bowen long to decide that he wanted to become a football coach also.

Bowen got his foot in the coaching door early, beginning to follow in his father’s footsteps by helping with various football camps run by the Rodgers High School head football coach.

“I’ve always enjoyed coaching,” Bowen said.

Bowen’s ability to coach expanded from the youth football fields of Puyallup to the Lutes’ practice field.

“He is a coach for the younger guys even as their teammate,” quarterback senior Zack Halverson said.

With his career as player over, Bowen said coaching is a way for him to stay connected to the game.

“It’s the best way I can make an impact, I still want to be a part of the game because obviously I’m not going to the NFL,” Bowen said. “I have no grand illusions.”

Throughout his playing career, Bowen said he has been positively influenced by his coaches. He said wants do the same for his future players.

“It’s a great way to give back and mentor kids,” Bowen said. “I know I looked up to my coaches and still do to this day, kids need good role models.”

Bowen remains in contact with his favorite football coach growing up, Larry Marcoe, who coached and heavily influenced Bowen in ninth grade.

“While the football lessons were simple,” Bowen said, “the life lessons of being a decent human being and being kind have stuck with me and help with me even today in college.”

After graduating in the spring with a history major and minors in political science and religion, Bowen said he hopes to immediately receive a job as a graduate assistant coach but realizes the difficulties placed in front of him.

“You don’t work for free, but you don’t work for much,” Bowen said. “You cut up film, set up drills, help the laundry guys, get the helmets ready, make sure the players have their pads, all of the little things that make the team go.”

Despite the family history and deep personal experience with the game, Bowen isn’t sure he wants become a head coach like his father.

“The head coach is the one that has to deal with the media and all that other stuff and I don’t really care about all that,” Bowen said.

It was no secret on the PLU football team that Bowen wanted to coach after this season.

“I know Tyler will be a good football coach because of his overall knowledge of the game,” linebacker senior Mike Warsaw said. “He understands every aspect, he just has a football mind.”