On Sept. 26, Kansas lost a man who cared deeply for its schools and young people attending them.
Rick Bowden, who served as the Kansas State High School Activities Association’s assistant executive director for 18 years, died on his farm in Nebraska in an accident involving farm machinery. Bowden, 66, was a former high school administrator for football, wrestling, baseball, softball, and track and field.
“Rick Bowden was dedicated to the KSHSAA and to the student-athletes of Kansas,” new assistant executive director Mark Lentz said. “All decisions and initiatives he was responsible for had the kids in mind first.”
As a tribute to Bowden, officials are wanting to wear the traditional white knickers during the upcoming games instead of the newer black pants.
“Mr. Bowden believed strongly in the traditional knickers as part of the officials uniform,” Lentz said. “He worked tirelessly to give the students the best but was also very dedicated to the officials of Kansas. He believed in offering students a chance to play the game by the rules.”
The Lincoln Journal Star reported that relatives found Bowden’s body beneath a riding lawnmower he was working on that had been knocked off its stands. He did everything he could to serve the state of Kansas, including his tenure from 1985 to 1993 as a member of the Kansas Legislature.
Bowden also taught and coached at multiple schools in the Wichita area and was a U.S. Army veteran.
“Although I have replaced him at the KSHSAA, I just hope to accomplish some of what he accomplished over his 18-year career,” Lentz said.
Bowden is survived by his wife, Sue, and two daughters along with his four grandchildren.
–This story was written and compiled by Beau Tiongson