Tom Bowen Named A-State Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics
JONESBORO – Arkansas State University Chancellor Kelly Damphousse announced Wednesday that Tom Bowen, a 25-year veteran leader in collegiate and professional athletics who owns nearly 15 years of experience as an FBS athletics director, has been named the Red Wolves’ Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics.
“Our initial candidate profile described a problem solver with a vision for the future of A-State, who understands the important role that athletics plays in the life of our campus and our community, who shares my passion for student success and competition excellence, who has led athletics departments at aspirational and peer programs, who understands the complex challenges facing college athletics, and who can ‘connect’ with all constituencies,” said Damphousse. “It was also important to me that our next AD embraces the principles that comprise our Discover 2025 Strategic Plan. During my many conversations with Tom, I became convinced that his record and passion match perfectly with that profile. I am excited to serve alongside him as he leads our student athletes, coaches, staff members, supporters, and fans forward into the coming years.”
With his arrival to A-State, Bowen will make his third stop leading an FBS athletics program after previously completing highly successful stints as the director of athletics at Memphis from 2012-19 and San Jose State from the end of 2004 until June of 2012.
“We were blessed with an extraordinary pool of applicants, which spoke volumes about the way our position is viewed nationally,” said Arkansas State University System President Dr. Charles Welch. “Tom Bowen continued to rise to the top because of his experience of almost 15 years as a sitting AD and his very strong track record of managing and leading university athletics departments. From fundraising success, to student-athlete academic success, to fiscal management, to facilities and program growth, Tom Bowen has excelled at every level, and we are extremely excited about the future of our athletics program under his leadership.”
Arkansas State will hold an 11:00 a.m. press conference Thursday, March 11, at the Centennial Bank Athletics Operations Center officially introducing Bowen as the Red Wolves’ 12th athletics director. While the press conference will be closed to the general public due to COVID-19 precautions, it will be streamed live on AState.edu, the official web site of Arkansas State University.
Bowen most recently spent the last two years as the president and founder of Bellwether Athletic Leadership Strategies, a national consulting company for Division I, II and III collegiate programs and private educational institutions providing leadership strategies, feasibility studies, strategic plans, fundraising expertise/structures and organizational design and efficiencies.
Along with his strong history of achievements as a collegiate athletics administrator, which also included stops at the University of California, Berkeley and Saint Mary’s College of California, Bowen’s experience working closely with college institutions across the nation at Bellwether and as an executive with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers were part of his path to Arkansas State.
“I’m very excited and honored to serve as Arkansas State’s athletics director,” said Bowen. “I am grateful to Kelly Damphousse, Chuck Welch and everyone involved in the search process. I truly believe A-State is a special place with a premier athletic and academic identity, and I’m looking forward to being a part of the bright future here. Arkansas State and the Jonesboro community are a perfect fit for me and my family.”
A well-recognized face across the national college athletics landscape, Bowen has been highly involved with prominent professional associations and committees.
Bowen was previously appointed to the National Board of Athletic Directors (LEAD1 Association). In June 2018, Bowen was named to the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee, and he also served on the College Football Playoff organization’s Athletic Directors Advisory Council in 2014.
Additionally, he served on the Athletic Directors Advisory Board of the BCS in 2013. Bowen was the chair of the American Athletic Conference’s Board of Athletics Directors during his time at Memphis as well. In July 2014, he was voted to represent the American Athletic Conference on the NCAA Division I Leadership Council, an advisory body to the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, by his fellow conference athletics directors.
He is a Level 2 certified member of the College Athletic Business Management Association (CABMA) and has memberships in the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Bowen began his Memphis tenure playing an integral role in the formation of the American Athletic Conference. Memphis became a charter member of the new league on July 1, 2013, and Bowen spent time serving as vice chair of the American Athletic Conference Athletic Directors Council.
Bowen’s guidance and vision were primary reasons Memphis was able to set new school records in academics, competition and fundraising while also being active in community service and completing numerous facility upgrades and new construction for sports such as football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, volleyball, track and field, soccer, softball and others.
The Tigers regularly posted a 3.0 all-department GPA or higher and set double-digit academic records while over 300 student-athletes earned their degrees during Bowen’s tenure.
With Bowen at the helm, the football team claimed the 2014 American Athletic Conference crown and made a then-school-record five consecutive bowl appearances from 2014-18. This was after he inherited a program which was 5-31 in the previous three seasons before his arrival on campus and had not experienced a winning season since 2007.
The well-rounded men’s and women’s athletics programs during Bowen’s time in Memphis collected conference championships and made NCAA postseason appearances while at least 22 student-athletes earned all-America recognition.
Prior to Memphis, Bowen served as athletics director at San Jose State. While at San Jose State, the core of Bowen’s mission was building a “Culture of Champions” academically, athletically and in the community.
His impact on the Spartans’ athletics department was evident as he created a new master facilities plan and implemented the first major construction in over 10 years. Bowen also created a Student Success Services component committed to student-athlete success and excellence. He systematically rebuilt the football program and support services as well, resulting in San Jose State’s first bowl appearance and victory in over 25 years.
Bowen served as both an assistant and associate athletics director at Cal from 2000-02 and worked in multiple roles at Saint Mary’s College from 1995-2000, including a four-month stint as interim athletics director. He was also the director of community affairs and executive director of the 49ers Foundation with the San Francisco 49ers from 2002-04.
The 1983 University of Notre Dame graduate majored in theology/sociology and spent time studying for the priesthood with the Holy Cross Fathers. Bowen earned a master’s degree in administration/education from the University of San Francisco in 1990.
He and his wife, Mia, are the parents of three children: sons, Andrew and Peter, and daughter, McKenna.
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