Tom Bowen (athletic director)

Last updated
Tom Bowen
Biographical details
Born (1961-05-27) May 27, 1961 (age 61)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Alma mater University of Notre Dame
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1987–1995 De La Salle HS (CA)
1997–2000 Saint Mary's (associate AD)
2000 Saint Mary's (interim AD)
2000–2002 California (associate AD)
2004–2012 San Jose State
2012–2019 Memphis
2021–2022 Arkansas State

Thomas Michael Bowen (born May 27, 1961) is an American athletics administrator. He served as the athletic director at San Jose State University from 2004 to 2012, the University of Memphis from 2012 to 2019, and Arkansas State University from 2021 to 2022. He previously worked in the front office for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL).


Early life and education

Bowen was born in Denver, Colorado and spent his childhood and Stone Mountain, Georgia and San Francisco, California. [1] He played one year of college football at the University of San Diego, before transferring to the University of Notre Dame and studying for the Catholic priesthood. [1]


Bowen began his career as a high school football coach in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 1987, he moved to Concord, California to become athletic director at De La Salle High School, a Catholic secondary school. [1] After eight years at De La Salle, Bowen became director of foundations and corporate relations at nearby Saint Mary's College of California in May 1995. At the beginning of 1997, Bowen moved to the Saint Mary's athletic department to become an associate athletic director overseeing budget, sponsorship, and student-athlete affairs. Bowen held that position until April 2000. [2] Briefly in 2000, Bowen was also interim athletic director at Saint Mary's. [3]

From July 2000 to September 2002, Bowen was associate athletic director for fundraising at the University of California, Berkeley. [2]

In 2002, Bowen became director of community affairs in the front office of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, later becoming the executive director of the 49ers Foundation. After three years with the 49ers, and with the endorsement of the 49ers' former head coach and general manager, Bill Walsh, Bowen accepted the athletic director job at San Jose State University on December 20, 2004, overseeing the San Jose State Spartans intercollegiate sports program for eight years, until 2012. Bowen was credited with the improved performance of the San Jose State Spartans sports teams and for the improvement of the San Jose State athletic facilities. [2]

In 2012, he became the athletic director for the University of Memphis, where he oversaw the transition of the Memphis Tigers sports program from Conference USA to the new American Athletic Conference. He was also inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa at Memphis in 2014. His Memphis contract was extended through June 2019 in 2015, [4] after he had been rumored to be a sought-after candidate for other NCAA Division I athletic director positions. [5] At the time of his extension, Bowen was praised for leading the $40 million capital upgrade campaign of Memphis' athletic facilities and for the improved academic performance of Memphis Tigers athletes during his tenure. [6]

On May 14, 2019, Bowen resigned from Memphis to pursue another career opening. [7]

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  1. 1 2 3 Frank Murtaugh, "Tom Bowen, University of Memphis Athletic Director Archived 2015-10-29 at the Wayback Machine ," Inside Memphis Business (June 2014). Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 "Director of Athletics: Thomas Bowen". San Jose State University. Archived from the original on May 5, 2012.
  3. Faraudo, Jeff (March 25, 2015). "Athletics: Report says Memphis athletic director Tom Bowen one of two finalists for Cal assignment". The Mercury News. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  4. Associated Press, "Memphis athletic director Tom Bowen gets 2-year extension," Fox Sports (October 8, 2015). Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  5. Phil Stukenborg, "Rudd: Tom Bowen to remain University of Memphis athletic director," The Commercial Appeal (April 12, 2015). Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  6. "University Of Memphis Extends Contract Of Athletic Director Tom Bowen," MyFoxMemphis (October 8, 2015). Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  7. Giannotto, Mark; Hill, Drew (May 14, 2019). "Tom Bowen steps down as athletics director at Memphis, search for replacement begins immediately". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis. Retrieved May 15, 2019.