As part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Awards Day, Arizona Christian head coach Jeff Bowen was named the recipient of the 2021 NAIA Coach of Character Award.
Bowen will be recognized in person at the NAIA National Convention next April in Kansas City, Missouri.
ACU is located at 1 W. Firestorm Way, Glendale.
Last year Bowen led the Firestorm to a program record nine wins and a berth in the NAIA championship game.
Per the NAIA website, the Coach of Character Award is presented annually to an NAIA head coach dedicated to teaching character through sport. The winner must be a head coach that has been at the nominating NAIA school for a minimum of five years.
Bowen becomes the 18th recipient of the special award.
“Coach Bowen has been steadfast in his approach to use football to teach character and instill Biblical values with those on his team,” ACU Director of Athletics Dr. Peter Dryer stated in a campus news release. “It is very important to him, and he spends significant time and energy to ensure that it happens. He is very deserving of the NAIA’s Coach of Character Award and I am excited for him to be recognized for his significant impact and genuine interest in teaching our students character through sport.”
Since being the named the head coach at Arizona Christian in 2016 and helping start the ACU program in 2014, Bowen has ingrained the team’s core character values into the Firestorm football team.
“I have served in college athletics for 17 years and I have never experienced a coach or program do more to develop the entire person than Coach Bowen,” ACU Transformational Coach Randy Chambers stated. “One of the taglines of the football team is Changed Men Change the World and Bowen creates an unwavering system to support it. Young men’s lives and futures are being transformed through Coach Bowen’s leadership.”
While winning an SAC championship during the 2020-21 athletic year, the football team accumulated 5,800 hours of leadership and spiritual development.
“In adversity, Coach Bowen is steadfast in character and a source of wisdom, direction, and strength,” Spencer Sablan, an Arizona Christian football player from 2015-18, stated. “In success, he taught us to enjoy victories but always celebrate others and not let pride have a place on our team or in our minds. Coach Bowen is a father to the fatherless, a counselor to the hurt, and a role model to all of us.”