One of my heroes Coach teacher Kelly Bowers remembered fondly

Michelle Berg / Saskatoon StarPhoenix Bowers retired in 2007 but remained a constant presence around Bedford Road, most notably serving as one of the key pieces behind the scenes at BRIT — which remains one of Canada’s most prestigious high school hoops tournaments.He was inducted into the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame and long served on the organization’s board. He was once named Kinsmen sportsman of the year.He was often heard on the radio airwaves for Hilltops and University of Saskatchewan Huskies games. Bowers spent untold hours helping the Saskatoon Minor Football League and Kinsmen Football League.Well into the 2010s, Bowers refereed high school as well as men’s and women’s basketball games in the city league. Bowers and Don ‘Butch’ Steponchev even refereed together in the third-place final at the 50th annual BRIT; the two had been around the tournament for every year of its existence.Brian Towriss, the legendary former U of S football coach, said Bowers will be missed.“Kelly’s infectious enthusiasm, work ethic and endless energy left a huge positive impact on the football community and the lives of so many young men and women in Saskatoon,” Towriss wrote. “May his voice and memory echo at (Gordie Howe) Bowl for all time.”In a post to BRIT’s official Facebook page, Bowers was remembered as someone who “touched the lives of many young people with his passion and dedication to sport and encouraging students to get involved.“We mourn the loss of a great man. His endless energy and positive attitude will be missed. There’s a massive hole that no one else can fill, and the hallways of Bedford Road will be a little bit quieter.”[email protected] Gord Waldner / Saskatoon StarPhoenix Bowers — a teacher, coach and volunteer, husband to Sandy and father to Kasie and Aerin — died on Tuesday. Word quickly spread through the community to those who coached with him or were coached by him, who taught with him or learned from him, or who simply recognized him for his larger-than-life personality.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.The Saskatoon Hilltops called Bowers’ death “heartbreaking.”The community “is lost with a massive hole,” Saskatoon Minor Football wrote in a Facebook post.“One of my heroes and one of the most influential people in my life and the reason I got into sports announcing,” wrote Bedford Road graduate Jordie Hughton. “He will be sorely missed by many in this community.”Bowers, the oldest of eight children, began his teaching career at Churchill Elementary School in 1973. A proud graduate of Bedford Road, he returned there as a teacher in 1974, coaching senior football, senior wrestling, basketball and track. He later taught at Mount Royal, and served as athletics consultant with the Saskatoon Secondary Schools Athletic Directorate (SSSAD), before returning to Bedford in the late-1990s. Of his nearly 34 years as an educator, he was a coach for 24 of them.During that second stint at Bedford, he provided a season for the ages when the Redmen ended a three-decade drought and won a city and provincial championship.“We had that dream season of 1998 for high school football and it was very exciting around the school,” Bowers said in 2007, the year he retired as a teacher. “The whole deal was unbelievable.”Ralph Schoenfeld, the long-time coach and educator in Saskatoon who credited Bowers as an early mentor at Bedford Road, talked in 2007 about the legacy Bowers was leaving.“He’s a piece of work, but I mean that in a very good way,” Schoenfeld said.“Boundless energy and total commitment, that’s the way I’d characterize Kelly. Nothing was beyond his capacity to coach and nothing was beyond his willingness to accept a challenge.” Whether he was delivering the punchline or on the receiving end of the joke, roaming the sidelines as a coach or behind the scenes as a volunteer, as long as he could bring a smile to someone’s face Kelly Bowers was happy to play whatever role was required.There was the time he took part in a skit at Mount Royal Collegiate. He was “arrested” and charged with whispering in the library. He couldn’t have done it, “court” heard, because Bowers — famous for his booming, gravelly voice — never whispered a day in his life.There was the media day in advance of the 50th annual Bedford Road Invitational Tournament in 2018, when Bowers showed up in the warm-up pants worn by the Redmen basketball team in the 1960s.Who could forget his triumphant return as a teacher to Bedford, when he helped guide the Redmen in 1998 to their first provincial football championship in 30 years? Certainly no one around the school that year. Bedford Road Invitational Tournament referees Don Steponchev and Kelly Bowers at the BRIT press conference at Bedford Road Collegiate in Saskatoon on January 9, 2018. Long-time coach and teacher Kelly Bowers, in a 2007 photo read more