David Bowen has been on both ends of the spectrum in his high school football coaching career.
He spent six years as an assistant at a powerhouse program in Ada, Okla., then tackled a rebuilding project for his first head coaching opportunity.
After helping Stanton County make strides in his two-year stint at the Johnson City school, Bowen is setting his sights on turning around the Thomas More Prep-Marian program.
Bowen was announced Wednesday as TMP’s head football coach, replacing Jason Cauley, who resigned after two seasons to take another coaching job in Arizona.
“I think the thing that excited me most was being able to come and work around like-minded people and kids that have the bigger picture in sight,” Bowen said in a phone interview with The Hays Daily News. “I’ve always heard good things about TMP and the program and the quality of school it was. When the position came open it was definitely something I wanted to go after.”
"It's obvious that coach Bowen has a passion for football strategy and competition," TMP principal Chad Meitner said in a news release. "However, I am most impressed by his desire to help young men become selfless, hard working, honest and gracious followers of Christ."
A graduate of Paola High School and Pittsburg State University, Bowen spent the first 15 years of his life in Ada and moved back to the town after college. He caught on as an assistant coach for Ada High School.
Bowen said he soaked up as much knowledge as he could at the tradition-rich program, which holds the Oklahoma record for most state titles with 19.
“The high school is ran like a college program,” Bowen said. “They expect the most out of their kids in the classroom, in the town and on the football field. That’s something I’ve taken with me at each school I’ve been able to work at. The classroom is important. Your faith with God is important. On Sundays, are you going to go sit in that church and have your faith be open? And then it’s about what are we doing on the field together as a team?”
Ready for the chance to lead his own program after his experience at Ada, Bowen took over a Stanton County program that had one win in three years upon his arrival. He doubled the Trojans’ win total in each of his two seasons, winning two games in his first year and four this past season.
“I really feel strong in my ability to come to TMP and take whatever I’m given and improve on it and get better in an all-around aspect,” Bowen said.
He will take over a team that went 3-6 last season and is 5-13 over the last two years.
“I know other teams are going to look at TMP over the last couple years and maybe come in expecting to get a win,” Bowen said. “When I get there, I’m going to ask the dudes to give me more. I want to play above the scouting report. I want the most out of a person.
“The best player is going to play. I give freshmen through seniors a fair chance during our summer and our workouts during camp and in practice to show they have what it takes.”
TMP’s offensive philosophy under Bowen will revolve around ground and pound.
“We’re going to run the ball, and we’re going to run it and we’re going to run it,” he said. “I believe that’s something that they’re already kind of used to, so I believe they’ll buy into that system.”
Bowen said he got a feel for the team TMP will return by talking with Cauley while in town for his interview.
“He’s a real great guy and very accepting,” Bowen said. “He gave me some information on his junior class that will be my senior class next year. He let me know that the guys are very hard workers, they’re very committed to football and to what it takes to get better.”
Bowen said he plans on moving to Hays on June 1st and will start the Monarchs’ weight lifting program on June 4.
“I’m going to be there building relationships as soon as I can,” he said.