July 12th, 2024

Bowie heading back to ASHOF this fall

By Lethbridge Herald on June 22, 2022.

Herald Photo by Justin Seward Gary Bowie will be inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in October for his efforts in starting up the Western Intercollege Conference.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

Claresholm product Gary Bowie will be inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame for a second time this fall.

This time, Bowie will be going in to the ASHOF under the ACAC Founding Members- Pioneer Award category at a reception in Red Deer in October.

“It’s humbling,” said Bowie.

“You work hard, you work with wonderful people, you put together some ideas with the group and you start working towards your goal and objective to have something that’s really good for the athletes in Alberta.”

His first induction was in 2014 for being a multisport builder.

Bowie, along with Ben Brooks, Al Buttle and Gary Meadus were the first executive officers of the Western Intercollege Conference that was put together by the colleges at the time, including Lethbridge College, Mount Royal College, SAIT, NAIT and Camrose Lutheran College.

Bowie came back to Lethbridge in 1962 after being in the States for a number of years with stops at Utah State University, two separate stints at Brigham Young University and moving over to Washington State University in Pullman,Wash.

“(I) wanted to be a coach and teach physical education,” said Bowie.

Bowie had the opportunity in those years in the USA to be involved in athletic programs and take Physical Education.

When Bowie arrived at Lethbridge Junior College in 1962, it was shortly after that he found himself coaching the basketball programs.

“We got involved and that and started trying to develop an athletic program,” said Bowie.

“… So my original background was in hockey and then when I went to the States, I got involved in basketball. I played high school basketball, so I thought well I’ve taken courses in that area. So I might give that a shot.”

Bowie ended up coaching both the College’s men’s and women’s basketball programs.

“We needed to have some competition,” he said.

“We tried to play in around the city with commercial league and so on. And the first year we didn’t have a very good men’s team but we had a good women’s team — so it was an interesting time that first year. But there was no competition really to play with other colleges in Alberta.”

LJC made some connections with Mount Royal and luck would have it that Bowie met an old friend in Ben Brooks, who was from Cardston and coached track and field at BYU.

“So we started talking about wouldn’t it be nice to put together a group of people so we could get something going in the way of athletics at the college level,” said Bowie.  

It was by the end of 1962 that it was time they needed to find information on how to set up a constitution.

“We got a hold of the junior college organization in the United States to see what they would suggest as a material for constitutions— so they sent us some material,” recalled Bowie.

“Then Ben and I had connections at BYU. So we got a hold of the conference that they were in —their conference constitution, bylaws, code of conduct. So we got information put together, long story short.”

It was after that,Brooks, Bowie met with Meadus from NAIT and Buttle form SAIT.

“Gary Gibson was at Camrose Lutheran College, but we felt that the four of us  would get things moving down the road,” said Bowie.

“We started meeting at motels in Red Deer whenever we had a chance because we were operating trying to run programs, trying to get this thing off the ground.”

The group got WIC off the ground and running but had to indicate to the  Mount Royal principal at the time that they had something to present to him.

“He visited with us and liked what we had put together,” he said.

“So that meant we started to move forward.”

In 1963 and 1964 a lot of the ground work was done and in 1964-1965 WIC began.

“It was modified, it wasn’t a big-time operation, he said.

“In the fall, we had a golf tournament, we also had a cross country meet. Then we did some things in regard to all our constitutions and that sort of thing worked out.”

The group remained on the conference council for a few years where he was chair for four years, Brooks was vice chair, Buttle was secretary and Meadus was treasurer.

A name change was made after the fifth year to Alberta College Athletic Conference.

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