By JON COOK
Not long ago in this very space, I wrote a column detailing my ideas about what it means to be a good coach. Clearly, we have many such basketball coaches in our area. Some as I mentioned in that column are readily and quickly identified by even the casual follower of high school hoops in our area. Others might not have state titles or staggering win totals but for countless reasons they are indeed good, maybe even great coaches.
In and around Lima perhaps no one is a better example of this than Temple Christian head basketball coach Bruce Bowman. I had a chance recently to conduct an interview with the longtime Pioneer bench boss and to discuss with him his career leading young men at a truly special place.
Jon Cook: Who were your biggest influences toward pursuing a career in teaching/coaching?
Bruce Bowman: Coach Kevin Templeton. Honestly, Coach Templeton was probably the biggest influence on me choosing this career and ministry. I really appreciated the influence he had on my life, and I really felt like the Lord gave me the desire to give back and influence young
peoples’ lives the way he and other administrators, teachers, and coaches influenced mine here at Temple. My parents were also a big influence. I couldn’t have asked for a better set of parents. They made it possible for me to attend Temple as a student and to attend Cedarville University
and pursue an education degree in Comprehensive Social Studies. They supported my desire to go into the ministry. It was always my goal to teach in a Christian School and quite honestly, I always had the desire to come back and teach at my alma mater.
I graduated from Cedarville University in 1988. My first year out of Cedarville (1988-89), I taught high school social studies at Heritage Christian School in Indianapolis. I also had the opportunity of coaching J.V. basketball and J.V. soccer. It was a good training ground for me. I accepted a position here at Temple the following year (1989-90) when Coach Templeton left for a position at Tennessee Temple Academy in Chattanooga, TN. I took over as the head boys basketball coach, soccer coach, and baseball coach my first year at Temple.
JC: What do you believe is different about coaching at Temple as opposed to other places?
BB: Temple Christian School is a ministry. Our mission here at Temple is to glorify God by providing students a Christ-centered education marked by excellence and grounded in Biblical Truth. So that mission extends to coaching. Obviously, we work very hard to put the best product out on the floor we can each year; but we put a large focus on developing and displaying Christ-like character and helping our players become the outstanding Christian young men the Lord would have them to be. We make a big point of helping players realize that all of their talents and gift come from God and that we need to thank Him and give Him credit for successes and blessings in our lives. In addition, I have been privileged to work with incredible staff members, families, students, and players here at Temple. This is a special place. It has truly been a blessing to teach, coach, and lead here.
JC: You stepped away as the head coach at Temple for a time. What was the year that you stepped away? What were your reasons for doing so?
BB: I stepped away at the end of the 2001-02 school year after accepting the Superintendent’s position that spring. I was also taking on the role of Athletic Administrator. I just felt like taking on those new leadership roles at the school and trying to continue as a head coach would be too much for me. It was a tough decision because I had really enjoyed my first 13 years of coaching, but I felt it was the best thing to do at the time. I
gave up my head boys soccer position at the same time.
JC: What drew you back to the sidelines?
BB: I returned to the sideline in 2007-08 so this is my 11th year back. Several factors led to the decision. First of all, the position became available. Secondly, I had decided to step away from the lead administrator position at Temple and was heading back to the high school as the H.S. Principal. Even though I ended up serving one more year as the lead administrator before returning to the high school, I felt it was a good time to get back into coaching. So a lot of things kind of fell into place, and I ended up back doing what I loved to do. It was a strange feeling
after being away for five years, but it didn’t take long to get back into the swing of things. I had an excellent group of guys that year so it was a great transition back into coaching.
JC: Do you have an idea for if or when you could see yourself retiring from coaching? What are your plans after your coaching career ends?
BB: I have always had the approach that I am just taking it one year at a time. I have really enjoyed coaching. It requires a lot of time and energy, and it certainly has ups and downs, but it can also be very rewarding. I think I will know when it is time. I’m not sure what I will do when I decide to step away. I guess I’ll figure that out when the time comes.
JC: Please share any other thoughts that you would like about your time coaching at Temple.
BB: The best part of coaching is the players. I really enjoy getting to know them, teaching them, and watching them work hard to reach their potential as a team and as individuals. One of my favorite things to do is to talk to former players when they return to games or stop into a practice. We encourage them to stop in the locker room after games and have even had a few join us for victory celebrations. We want them to be lifelong Pioneers! Our ultimate goal is to see them serving the Lord wherever He calls them. We have many incredible success stories of our former players doing great things for the Lord in their respective communities. In the long haul, I guess that is what it is all about.
It has also really been a privilege to coach my two sons, Brock and Brody. Brock graduated in 2016 and Brody is currently a junior. Before my boys entered high school, I talked to a lot of guys who had coached their sons. I received a lot of interesting responses. In many cases, it worked, but it some it did not. Coaching them has really been a blessing to me and I believe they have enjoyed it as well. Basketball has been something that we could do together. Obviously, they were hanging out with the team when they were barely old enough to walk. Then they spent time as managers and water boys when they were in elementary and junior high. And then they finally had the opportunity to play at the high school level. It has been a memorable time and a special time in my life.
None of this would have been possible without my wonderful wife Rosanne. She has been incredibly supportive over my 24 years of coaching. The profession requires a lot of time and it is a true sacrifice for a spouse. But she has been great. Her encouragement and support have
allowed me to pursue my dream of teaching, leading, and coaching basketball.
The Lord has been good. I want to thank Him for all He has done at Temple and for all of the opportunities, He has given me to serve Him at this special place.
Coach Bowman thanks for your passion, your purpose and your example. Mostly thank you for taking the time to share with all of us and for giving our readers a chance to gain from more than Just My Thoughts.