The local sports community is mourning the sudden loss of one of Saskatoon’s most vocal advocates for youth and amateur sport.
Teacher, official and coach Kelly Bowers has passed away.
Bowers was involved in a variety of sports, but football and basketball were the most prominent.
“Kelly Bowers had a passion for Bedford Road Collegiate, graduating in 1967 and returning to teach in 1974. Although he retired after 34 years as a teacher in 2007, he never really left,” BRIT Basketball said in a Tweet.
“His enthusiasm for Bedford Road and “The BRIT” was infectious and some would say that Bowers is the heart of the school and tournament. We mourn the loss of a great man; His endless energy and positive attitude will be missed.”
On the gridiron, Bowers spent nearly four decades coaching amateur football and was heavily involved with the high school and Kinsmen football leagues.
He spent 12 years as the offensive co-ordinator of the Saskatoon Hilltops and was part of national championships in 1991 and 1996.
Hilltops head coach Tom Sargeant said Bowers cared about the city and the people who live here.
“He wanted every kid to have great opportunities,” Sargeant said.
“I was blessed to coach with him for a lot of years … he just knew what to do and how to do it.”
“We know that he’s a legend and Saskatoon lost a great man today (Tuesday) and he can’t be replaced.”
Saskatoon Valkyries head coach Pat Barry said there was no one like Bowers.
“Just an amazing person just for motivating people, motivating kids, I’m even wearing this T-shirt he got for me a couple weeks ago at the Kinsmen camp,” Barry said.
“It was hard to say no to Kelly when he asked you something so I’m just still kind of stunned and I know a lot of us are. We’re really going to miss him.”
Bowers was also active in water polo, slo-pitch and the Riverside Tennis Club, along with being the radio voice of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, a role he started in 1998.
He was inducted into the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 as a builder, received the Saskatchewan High School Athletic Association Award of merit in 2007, and was named the Kinsmen Sportsman of the Year in 2001.