LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas interim head football coach Clint Bowen met with the media for the first time Monday after taking over the reins of the program Sunday morning.
Armed with 16 years on the Kansas coaching staff and 19 years overall with the program, Bowen is no stranger to what it means to be a part of the Jayhawk family.
“It’s been 24 years since I officially joined the KU family as a player,” Bowen said. “I have tremendous respect and admiration for the people that came here before me, the former players, respect for the tradition of Kansas, respect for the values that everyone has at Kansas, what this football program represents, and I’m going to spend every day of the next nine weeks trying to instill that into our players, the values of what that means.”
In his second stint coaching at KU, Bowen has served as the special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach in 2012, before moving over to coaching the linebackers in 2013, then, for the second time adding the title of defensive coordinator in December of 2013, as he was the co-defensive coordinator in 2007 during the squad’s Orange Bowl run and held that title until 2009.
The Lawrence native has always had his sights set on coaching at Kansas and he couldn’t be more thrilled to have the opportunity that he does for the next nine weeks.
“If I can get my years right, but about 20 years ago one of the first dates with my wife at what used to be the ice cream shop on 23rd street there, I was a GA (graduate assistant) at the time and trying to impress her a little bit and she said, ‘What are you going to be in life?’ or whatever that question is and I said, ‘Well, I’m going to be the head football coach at Kansas,'” Bowen said.
The Lawrence native and 1995 KU grad has accumulated 13 years of coaching experience with the Jayhawks prior to his latest return to Kansas in 2012. He began his Kansas coaching career as a defensive graduate assistant coach for the Jayhawks in 1996. Since then, this has been Bowen’s dream job.
“Anyone that would consider this a stepping stone job is an idiot,” Bowen said. “This is a destination job. I’ve heard people say that before and I always defend it. Anyone that knows anything about Kansas, talking to coaches in this business, people understand that this is a sleeping giant of a program. You have an unbelievable community, you have an unbelievable university, you’ve got all the resources available to have a successful football program and all the support from the administration. People that know football, they know that this is an unbelievable job.”
Although the circumstances around his promotion were not ideal, Bowen wishes to instill the same excitement and passion he has for the game of football and the University of Kansas into the players during the upcoming nine weeks of the season.
“Like I talked about earlier – the respect for what came before them,” Bowen said. “To show appreciation for the people that came before them, from the way to go out and work, the way to go out and represent yourself in the community, the way to practice, the way to be physical and tough – the core elements. We have nine weeks to not only help these seniors get out of here with a successful season, but also start to instill in those younger players what this program is going to be about in the future.”