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CSU Stanislaus mourns loss of legendary coach
Cal State Stanislaus is mourning the death of Jim Bowen, a man who was a mentor to students, taught physical education for four decades and guided the Warriors to two national championships during his 25-year coaching career. He died Thursday after a long illness.
Bowen was a member of the Stanislaus Physical Education Department and Athletics from 1970 to 2007, and he coached the Warriors baseball team from 1971-96 during the program’s early glory days.
His coaching career was highlighted by his winning two consecutive national championships in 1976 and ‘77.
He complied a 639-585 record in 25 years of coaching.
“All of us in the Warrior family are saddened by the loss of a great coach, teacher and personal friend,” said Stanislaus athletic director Milton Richards. “Jim epitomized what is good about college athletics.”
During his coaching career, Bowen’s teams advanced to the NCAA postseason nine times and to the NCAA Division III World Series eight times. His effort sent him to the Warrior Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001 and the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1999.
Bowen was named the head coach of the U.S. Baseball Federation team that played in Venezuela in 1980, after serving the previous year as an assistant coach of the team that competed in Seoul, Korea.
He also made an impact in the classroom. He served as chair of the Department of Physical Education and taught several classes, in addition to serving as an interim athletic director.
Bowen was a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he played on a state champion high school baseball team before he went into coaching high school baseball and becoming an assistant at the University of Iowa. He then came to build the Stanislaus baseball program after earning his master’s degree and doctorate from Iowa and his bachelor’s degree from Northern Iowa, which later inducted him into the school’s Hall of Excellence in 2006.
His impact was also felt outside of Stanislaus.
“Dr. Bowen was a mentor who made me focus not on what I get in life but what I give back,” said Turlock City Councilmember Amy Bublak, a former student of Bowen. “Youth was his passion.”
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Turlock, with a reception to follow at Stanislaus.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.