Bow­er­man leav­ing for alma mater Fayet­teville

■ He was an as­sis­tant foot­ball coach for two sea­sons.

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - SPORTS - By Gra­ham Thomas Staff Writer gth­omas@nwadg.com ■

The Siloam Springs foot­ball pro­gram will look to hire two new coaches this sum­mer.

As­sis­tant coach and act­ing de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Jeff Bow­er­man an­nounced last Fri­day that he is tak­ing an as­sis­tant coach’s po­si­tion at his alma mater, Fayet­teville, ac­cord­ing to Pan­thers head coach Bryan Ross.

Siloam Springs will look to fill his po­si­tion, along with that of de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Marc Jones, who has been out since early March af­ter suf­fer­ing a stroke.

Jones has not re­signed his po­si­tion, but Ross was given the all-clear to go ahead and fill his po­si­tion for the up­com­ing 2017 foot­ball sea­son. When Jones comes back, the Pan­thers will op­er­ate with one more var­sity coach for a to­tal of eight.

“We’ll be hiring two coaches,” Ross said. “One will def­i­nitely be a de­fen­sive coach/co­or­di­na­tor. The other one — we have some flex­i­bil­ity on the staff — it could be of­fense, it could be de­fense.”

Bow­er­man joined the Pan­thers staff prior to the 2015 sea­son as a de­fen­sive line coach and as­sis­tant soft­ball coach af­ter two sea­sons as head ninth grade coach at Spring­dale Lake­side.

He quickly be­came a pop­u­lar fig­ure among both the foot­ball and soft­ball pro­grams.

Prior to the 2016 sea­son, he was given the ti­tle code­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor along with Jones, who is one of his men­tors. He was also the head eighth-grade foot­ball coach last year.

“I hate to lose Jeff,” Ross said. “Jeff’s a great guy and a good coach. But it’s an op­por­tu­nity for him to go back home and coach where he grad­u­ated and be a part of a re­ally good pro­gram. You can’t blame a guy for that.”

Bow­er­man, a 1990 Fayet­teville High School grad­u­ate and for­mer Arkansas Ra­zor­back, will join first-year

S iloam Springs is an awe­some com­mu­nity, and I ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­nity that Bryan Ross, Kevin Down­ing, Ja­son Jones and Ken Ramey pro­vided me. — Jeff Bow­er­man

head coach Billy Daw­son at Fayet­teville. Daw­son, the for­mer Siloam Springs head coach (2004) was hired a few months ago to re­place Bill Blanken­ship, who guided the Pur­ple Bull­dogs to the Class 7A state ti­tle.

On Wed­nes­day, Bow­er­man ex­pressed his grat­i­tude for be­ing able to coach in Siloam Springs. He wrapped up spring ball with the Pan­thers last week and has al­ready be­gun prac­tic­ing with Fayet­teville.

“Siloam Springs is an awe­some com­mu­nity, and I ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­nity that Bryan Ross, Kevin Down­ing, Ja­son Jones and Ken Ramey pro­vided me,” Bow­er­man said. “I love and will miss all the student ath­letes that I coached. I look for­ward to re­turn­ing home and coach­ing at my alma mater.”

The Pan­thers hope to get Jones — a 30-year coach­ing vet­eran — back for this sea­son, but Jones and the coaches know he won’t be at full speed when he re­turns.

“We’ll see what he can do,” Ross said. “He knows he won’t be able to do ev­ery­thing. He’ll be very lim­ited. Just hav­ing a guy of his ex­pe­ri­ence and stature around is good. I know the kids miss hav­ing him around.

“You know I think the kids han­dle it bet­ter than the adults do. They still ask about coach. We’d like to see him get back out. But they also keep go­ing for­ward with what we ask them to do. It’s like I told them, it’s been a crazy, chaotic spring, but I felt like we got maybe as much out of this spring as we have in oth­ers. It’s been a lot more spread out. We’ve been able to get a lot of foot­ball work in.”

Bow­er­man

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