UWRF Athletic Director Rick Bowen retires
March 26, 2010
Rick Bowen has been at UW-River Falls for 23 years, working as a basketball coach and also as an athletic director.
“I came to UWRF from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, where I was an assistant [basketball] coach,” Bowen said. Working at UWRF was his first head coaching job, which he began during the 1986-87 academic year.
Before coming to UWRF, Bowen worked as an assistant basketball coach at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., as well as working in Madison.
“Prior to that, I coached high school basketball in Indiana for 12 years,” Bowen said. “I was in the Army as a combat medic in Vietnam all of 1968.”
At 65 years old, Bowen has been working in this field since he graduated from Indiana University in 1966, a total of 44 years. He explained that he thinks it is time for someone with new energy and enthusiasm to take his job.
“I am a little tired,” Bowen said. “[I am] still not old, but still not young.”
He explained that it is not an eight-to-five job, and that it requires energy that he no longer has.
After retiring, he explained that he has some plans for his personal life.
“I plan on working my very large garden, cultivating the orchard I’ve planted, building a woodshop, and helping my son at Bemidji State University where he is the head basketball coach,” Bowen said.
He also said he plans to help Jeff Berkhof, Bowen’s replacement as UWRF basketball coach, with whatever Berkhof asks him to do.
Bowen is leaving UWRF with some very fond memories, he explained.
“This has been the best job I’ve ever had [and] in the best community,” Bowen said. “I would have to say that my favorite memory is of winning the WIAC (Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) basketball championship in 2003-04 and the awards it brought.”
He also explained that being inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame was a distinct honor. “I’ve had some great assistant coaches that have put up with me,” Bowen said.
After retiring, Bowen explained that he plans on staying in the area.
Sports Information Director Jim Thies explained that no interviews have been conducted yet for the replacement of Bowen. Chancellor Dean Van Galen has set a plan in place.
“We will move forward in a timely manner with a national search to identify his successor,” Van Galen said.
Thies explained further what the plan is to hire Bowen’s replacement.
“A search and screen committee will be put together,” Thies said. “It will be the committee’s responsibility to post the position, interview candidates and finally make a recommendation to the chancellor.”
Dori Holter worked at UWRF from 1963-68, took time off to raise her family, and then returned to campus in 2001, when Bowen was the men’s basketball coach and an instructor.
“When Rick became athletic director, the athletic department was operating in the red,” Holter said. “Today, as a result of Rick’s hard work, dedication and determination, we are operating in the black, and have been for quite some time now.”
Holter explained that Bowen has accomplished a great deal in his years at UWRF. “Rick has gained the respect of those he serves and makes this task seem like a piece of cake,” Holter said.
“Rick was also able to acquire an office complex for athletics, which now houses all the coaching staff in one place.”
John O’Grady, a co-worker of Bowen’s, explained his favorite memory of Bowen.
“The moment immediately following the [conference title] win at home and the elation that he and his players displayed was fantastic!” O’Grady said. “It had been a long time since UWRF captured that crown, and everyone present at that game was going crazy!”
Holter explained a few things that she will miss about working with Bowen. “I will miss his friendliness, kindness and gentleness when dealing with others that are great qualities possessed by Rick,” Holter said. “I will miss his compassion for his job, the University and all students as evidenced by his dedication.”
Holter reflected on her years of work with Bowen and explained she believes he will be missed.
“Rick has been a great asset to UWRF and more specifically the athletics department,” Holter said. “He will be deeply missed.”