Jayhawk Insider: A Lawrence Legend
There’s no place like Lawrence; the culture, the people, and the relentless passion for it’s’ sports teams is hard to replicate. Kansas safeties coach Clint Bowen, a Lawrence native, is well aware of this.
Long before he was coach, Bowen was a part of the Kansas football family. Both Bowen and his older brother, Charley Jr., played football for the Jayhawks, a program they’ve been watching since they were kids.
“I was probably 10 and he was 12, we would start riding our bikes to KU football games,” said Bowen. “At the time, you could kind of almost sneak in the backside (of the stadium), so we’ve been sneaking into KU football games since probably ’82-’83 range. KU football has always been a big part of myself growing up.”
After all those years of sneaking into football games and eventually getting to play for the Jayhawks, Bowen always knew that football was something that he was passionate about and wanted to make a career out of.
“I knew that athletics, particularly football, had always been a big part of my life, so I knew I wanted to be in that (career field) in some capacity,” said Bowen. “I started off (coaching) at Olathe North and kind of realized I was kind of wanting to do more coaching. Football and athletics are what I enjoyed most in my life, so I figured I might as well try to make a career path out of it.”
Bowen came on as a graduate assistant during the 1998 season at Kansas, and eventually became the assistant director of football operations in 2000. He saw quite a bit of success during his early years at Kansas, particularly during the 2007-08 season when he served as the defensive coordinator.
“That entire season will probably always be one of the most special times of my coaching career, and then to finish it with an Orange Bowl victory,” said Bowen. “We truly did build that thing from the ground up to where we were at the top of the mountain. To see the way that that season played out was probably the highlight of my coaching career thus far.”
After the 2009 season, Bowen decided to try something new and moved on to coach at Western Kentucky in 2010 as the defensive coordinator and North Texas in 2011 as its defensive coordinator and safeties coach. However, while both programs were good places to be, they weren’t KU.
“I just remember, we would be at game day or getting ready for games in other places and I would be checking the KU football score on my phone,” said Bowen. “Both those places were great schools and great opportunities, but for me, it wasn’t the same as coaching at KU.”
Bowen found himself back at KU in 2012 and has been coaching various positions for the Jayhawks ever since.
Growing up in Lawrence, he has always had a certain fondness for the town, and no place else has ever felt quite like home in the way that Lawrence does. When asked what his favorite part about Lawrence was, Bowen answered without hesitation: the people.
“Even though it (Lawrence) has grown into a bigger city, I still consider it a small town in terms of you can go most places in town and see someone that you know and it just has that familiar feel to it,” said Bowen. “The way that most people in Lawrence support KU and the youth athletics, the high school athletics, you just kind of have something in common with the people in town and that would be my biggest part of what I enjoy about living here.”
Bowen has a wife and two sons, both of whom he is glad get the opportunity to grow up in Lawrence.
“This is a great community to raise kids; the schools are good, it’s a great community, it offers a lot of opportunities for kids to do a lot of different, not just athletic, but academic endeavors all throughout,” said Bowen.
Heading into the 2018-19 season, there is a different atmosphere with the hiring of new head coach Les Miles. Coach Bowen is very optimistic about the future of KU football, and thrilled to be able to be a part of it.
“From what I’ve seen from Coach Miles in the time since he’s taken this job, I’m as excited as I’ve been about the direction of KU football,” said Bowen. “I truly believe that from Jeff Long, his vision and the support he’s putting into football to Coach Miles and the vision that he brings that there’s really no excuses for this not to be the time for KU football to get back to the greatest season that I’ve been a part of.”