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COMS professor guest coaches for women’s basketball team
By Terell Bailey
Radford University is known for its close-knit campus community. Faculty members see students on a weekly basis in a classroom setting. To continue with the close-knit tradition, professors also have the opportunity for front row seats to see their student-athletes in action.
Dr. West Bowers, a production technology professor, was recently selected for the “Guest Coaching Program” for the women’s basketball team and attended the game against Charleston Southern University.
“It was a great way to see students in another element and also see what happens during a game from how the team talks to each other and what happens during half-time,” Bowers said.
The stakes were high. The women’s team had played Charleston Southern in January, but suffered a loss. Knowing about the previous loss made Bowers feel anxious about the outcome of game two, which he guest-coached.
“I was so relieved when they [Radford] won, because I felt they wouldn’t invite me back if they had lost,” Bowers said.
The “Guest Coaching Program” started in 2013 and each season it allows student-athletes to nominate some of their favorite professors to help coach a game.
Last fall Bowers had three women’s basketball players in his classes so he knew it was one of them who sent the nomination in. Excited about the opportunity Bowers accepted. “The best part was it allowed me to connect to the students outside of lecturing while also seeing something important in their lives,” he added.
Although he has no previous experience with coaching a basketball team he felt he did an excellent job with motivation and making sure players had support.
“[Since] it was my first time doing this, I didn’t want to disturb the rhythm of the game too much but, the next time I will be more hands-on and speak with players more,” Bowers said.
Bowers is hopeful about guest coaching again, “Next season I’d love to help out again, the coaches and staff were extremely welcoming to me, I was super impressed with the professionalism of everyone and they [Radford Athletics] represent Radford very well.”
Although he has been a huge basketball fan his entire life, and knows fairly a decent amount about the game itself, Bowers doesn’t want to consider a career change. After being at the game he realized “these people know way more about basketball than I do,” Bowers noted.
So for now he will stick to teaching production technology to his students but would like for Radford athletics to come guest teach some of his classes. “I think it would be cool if they could see a little more about what we do,” Bowers added.