Friday, July 12, 2019

This is where I want to be’: Clint Bowen provides continuity for KU football

Kansas safeties coach Clint Bowen talks with reporters following head coach Les Miles' Signing Day press conference on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019 in Mrkonic Auditorium.

Kansas safeties coach Clint Bowen talks with reporters following head coach Les Miles' Signing Day press conference on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019 in Mrkonic Auditorium.


It didn’t take long for Les Miles to meet with Clint Bowen.

Once Miles was named the Kansas head football coach last November, he promised to meet with each assistant from the 2018 coaching staff. Bowen, who was KU’s defensive coordinator last fall, was one of the first assistants to sit down with Miles.

Bowen eventually became one of two assistants — along with running backs coach Tony Hull — to remain on the staff. The chance to stay in Lawrence is something that Bowen, who graduated from Kansas in 1995, does not take for granted.

“I think it was pretty clear from the beginning that he was someone you would want to work for,” Bowen said. “I was very fortunate that he gave me the opportunity and I'm grateful for that.”

During his first and only opportunity to speak with the media this offseason, which took place on National Signing Day in February, Bowen referenced his good fortune multiple times, and how grateful he was about the opportunity to coach the Jayhawks' safeties this fall. Yet, in a lot of ways, Miles is fortunate to have Bowen on staff in 2019.

Bowen provides some much-needed continuity on a staff facing a lot of turnover. This will be Bowen’s 21st year at KU. It marks the eighth consecutive season that Bowen will be on the Jayhawks’ staff, despite Miles being the third different head coach over that span.

“This is where I want to be,” Bowen said. “We all get choices every offseason, and you choose to stay or you choose to go. For me, it has never really been that hard of a choice."

In his 24-year coaching career, Bowen has only spent two seasons away from KU. He served as a defensive coordinator for Western Kentucky in 2010 and for North Texas in 2011, during the two years Turner Gill was the head coach at Kansas.

The reaction about Miles keeping Bowen around were positive, particularly from the local players that have formed strong relationships with him.

“It is definitely nice to have a familiar face, especially someone with his football knowledge and just his IQ for football,” said senior safety Bryce Torneden, who graduated from Free State High. “Looking back to when I first got here to the point I am now, it is almost night and day. I credit almost all of it to him."

Bowen has been one of the few constants during a decade of transition for the Jayhawks, but he’s also experienced some of his own adjustments based on his role.

This season, Bowen will be in charge of a veteran safety unit. Last year, Bowen coached the cornerbacks and served as the defensive coordinator. He has coached the linebackers before, as well.

Bowen was once in charge of special teams, and even coached running backs and tight ends during his first two years with Kansas. For Bowen, it has never mattered what title he has held.

“It is about the relationship with the players,” Bowen said. “If you can get your kids to buy in what you are trying to coach them to do, usually buying in happens after they have success doing what you tell them. I enjoy just being out there with the kids at whatever position."

Still, it is an example of why Bowen has never had to think twice when given the chance to stay in Lawrence.

“I think people that have followed me have known that if I have a choice, my choice is going to be staying at KU,” Bowen said. “I'm excited to continue on and continue to work at KU."


Doug Wallace 4 months, 1 week ago

Well Hope Bowen can be part of the solution!Hope Coach Miles can make us at least.500 in the near future!

Doug Cramer 4 months, 1 week ago

Maybe Bowen can learn from Coach Miles on how to develop and run a defense.

Phil Leister 4 months, 1 week ago

How much money does Bowen make, half a mil per year? Yeah, I'd take consistency for my family while living like a king in my hometown for as long as humanly possible.

Mike Bennett 4 months, 1 week ago

Continuity as in continuously bad???? Since when is continuity a good thing when you haven't won in a decade? Continuity is what you don't want.

Glen Miller 4 months, 1 week ago

He has the players respect, he was one of two coaches retained, he has a trust level with local recruits and he is a HUGE pro-KU coach who WANTS to be there. When you've got a new coaching staff every 3 years, I for one like that Bowen has been able to stick around. You think these players don't see him still fighting and still proud of our program and it doesn't resonate with them........ then you're a moron. He's done great things for our University both on and off the field, I think you just like to complain like the others who keep bashing the guy. Wins and loses aren't all that matters and this guy is obviously a coach who many of the regimes have kept around for a reason. You don't get this many opportunities when the records are what they are if you aren't a decent coach and good person. Get over it and eat a snickers.

Mike Bennett 4 months, 1 week ago

Fine guy. Definitely bleeds crimson and blue. No proof he can coach. Going a 100 mph the wrong direction doesn't get you any closer to the finish line. You forget one of the main reasons the coaching staff changed every 3 years was because of the guys he recruited and coached. And I prefer M & M's. BTW, let me know where I can send your rose colored glasses.

Micky Baker 4 months, 1 week ago

How about get off the couch and apply for the job then?

Glen Miller 4 months, 1 week ago

My glasses aren't rose colored, I just don't happen to think it's an all or nothing situation. If you don't feel like Bowen offers anything to our University then that's fine. No skin off my back. I just happen to believe that the man has stuck around for a reason and I, for one am glad to have him around. Do I think he is a Head Coach or D coordinator....... not sure about that one, but there are a lot of players and folks around our program that talk highly of him and the affect that he's had on them. You don't hear that about every coach who's been through here.

Bill Kackley 4 months, 1 week ago

Tired of all the negative comments about a fine coach who was placed in impossible situation by inept offense and special teams. Just look at the defensive backs out of KU playing in NFL.

Steven Haag 4 months, 1 week ago

Amen Bill. If the secondary shines this year, the naysayers will have 100 excuses as to why Bowen had nothing to do with the success. What I want to see is all these assistants getting to stay in the same position and coach the same position for multiple years. Getting moved every year to a new position sure can’t help

Dane Pratt 4 months, 1 week ago

Were it not for his win over Iowa State 2018 would have been our 10th consecutive last place finish. That might garner as much attention as the consecutive first place finishes by the basketball team but for all the wrong reasons.

Stephen Johnson 4 months, 1 week ago

Great guy and a great coach. Coach Miles knew what he was doing.

Titus Canby 4 months, 1 week ago

I love Clint Bowen. He bleeds crimson and blue and isn't afraid to let everyone know it. I will never forget his press conference and the hero's welcome from the players when he was announced as interim coach after we fired Weiss.

Our defenses over the years have been hamstrung by the fact our offense is never on the field for more than 3 plays.

David Robinett is right, he's the next Don Fambrough.

Chris DeWeese 4 months, 1 week ago

I was one of those who was calling for Bowen to exit stage left, tout sweet! Bad continuity is not good continuity. Now that he's a safeties coach, I can take him or leave him. As with Beaty, it's not always about whether or not you like someone (I think Clint Bowen is a fine person). It's about whether or not they can get the job done. As a DC, he simply couldn't do it. I can understand having a bad season or two, but when your defenses consistently rank as some of the worst year after year, how can you keep making excuses? Were people making the same excuses for Mike Stoops? All that being said, he is probably in the right position within a power 5 program. I can certainly see him as a DC or HC in a lesser league (e.g. Sun Belt), but not in the B12.

Bee Bee 4 months, 1 week ago

Agreed. The, BOWEN PREVENT DEFENSE all game every game does get tiring though. When you're out manned in almost every game you attack sometimes and take chances. A loss is a loss whether it's by 21 points or 40.

Randy Bombardier 4 months, 1 week ago

I was happy to hear of Bowen and Hulls retention. I think those two are major keys to recruiting.

Dirk Medema 4 months, 1 week ago

There was 1 year fairly recently when we had a bunch of really good DBs but a really young DL/LBs. Opposing QBs had all day to throw and eventually found open receivers. I think it was 3 years ago that the front line was good but we were replacing 4 of 5 DBs. Unfortunately we might be in the former situation again this year. The front 5/6/7 don’t have experience as a strength but hopefully can come together enough to at least compliment the DB strength.

The non-knee jerk reaction is to realize that football maybe more than any other sport really takes an entire team to win. We are just starting to climb up to the edge of the abyss we’ve been in. Coach Bowen has definitely been a part of the huge improvement in recent years.

Jerry Ryan 4 months, 1 week ago

The ghost of fat a$$ tom Keegan and his really intelligent minions coming back out from under rocks. Coach Bowen is a Jayhawk. Good Coach. Wants to be at KU. I’d take a 100 more people just like him to join the ranks of KU. Naysayers never played sport at a high level but somehow know more then experts.

Lee Stanford 4 months, 1 week ago

I’m sure Clint is a great guy and at least a halfway decent coach. Coach Miles’ keeping him on board is testimony to this. I also hope that Coach Miles found a position for Bowen in which the latter can effectively contribute to the program while continuing to learn and grow.

This being said, I was disappointed to learn from this article that Clint Bowen is still around.

I love the KU sports coverage on this site and I enjoy perusing a few comments from time to time. Seldom do I post a comment - but I feel strongly enough about this to weigh in on this one.

Now I’m going back to enjoying watching Miles and Company rebuild this program with all the fabulous recruiting work they have been doing. Stories about all the great new talent they are bringing in have really made my day with each new addition!

Rock Chalk!

Eric Eakins 4 months, 1 week ago

I took over a company 3 years ago. Had an engineer everyone at the company just railed on. No one wanted to work with him. Young guy. I talked to the guy, asked what was going on and he said no one really came along side him. He was isolated so he was just doing the best he could. I was in the process of hiring a new mature experienced engineer. I told him to take the young guy under his wing and mentor him. That guy everyone wanted to fire is now a rock star in his group. I gave him a big raise this year. Bowen is a Jayhawk thru and thru. He needs a great mentor. Maybe Miles will pave the way for him.

Lee Stanford 4 months, 1 week ago

I certainly hope so - that would be a win for everyone!

Robert Brock 4 months, 1 week ago

Bowen will help KU continue its football version of The Streak.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.