Ed Bowes, the longest tenured track and field coach ever at Bishop Loughlin H.S., Fort Greene, died on July 31 at the age of 78. A revered teacher and coach for nearly 40 years, he will be remembered as a true legend of the sport responsible for the boom of track among student-athletes in the 1960s and 1970s.
Bowes himself was a track runner at Bishop Loughlin before attending Manhattan College, the Bronx. His competitive running career included a 1960 Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America cross-country championship for the Jaspers.
After graduating college in 1964, he began teaching and coaching track at his alma mater Bishop Loughlin. All the while, he continued as a competitive runner and almost achieved running immortality.
In 1972 — the year of the third-ever New York City Marathon run in Central Park — Bowes emerged as the race leader after 23 miles. However, his underdog bid for glory was derailed when he collapsed due to dehydration, causing him to be evacuated from the race route in an ambulance.
As head coach of the Loughlin Lions, Bowes captured three Championship of America titles at the Penn Relays, as well as 12 CHSAA girls’ championships and four boys’ titles. He also spent 31 years as director of the Bishop Loughlin Games, an annual indoor track meet that generates scholarship funding for students in need.
Bill Heaney, a member of the 1970 Bishop Loughlin city championship team and captain of the 1971 team, compared his coach to the late great Jack Curran of Archbishop Molloy H.S., Briarwood. If you follow local CHSAA sports, you know that’s high praise.
“His (Bowes) loyalty to Bishop Loughlin was unmatched,” said Heaney, a Lions Hall of Famer. “He bled purple and gold all the way through. It’s amazing what he meant to the school. He was an icon and legend.
“He made a difference for thousands and thousands of kids. When you say you went to Loughlin, everybody knew you ran track. It’s the Notre Dame of high school track.”
In 1973, Bowes organized the first-ever Manhattan College Cross-Country Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park, the Bronx.
Since its beginnings, the race has evolved into the nation’s largest, one-day high school track meet. The event now attracts 10,000 runners from across North America and offers 40 intermediate to varsity level races throughout the competition.
“Ed Bowes was an iconic figure in New York City track and field and a proud Manhattan College Jasper,” said Manhattan College’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Marianne Reilly.
“I was blessed to have worked with him on the largest high school cross-country meet in America, which he created and built over many decades. He will be sorely missed by Bishop Loughlin High School and his track family.”
Bowes retired from Bishop Loughlin in 2003, yet he still maintained a track office at the school. When Loughlin in-stalled a new purple and gold track in fall 2016 to match the school’s colors, he was the first to point out that Central Islip H.S. on Long Island and Louisiana State University were two schools with similar track colors. When it came to all things track, Bowes was an encyclopedia of knowledge.
He was inducted into six different Halls of Fame — including the St. James/Bishop Loughlin Brother Aurelius James McManus Athletic Hall of Fame and the Manhattan College Hall of Fame — and was a recipient of the McGuire Foundation Award. Last fall at the Manhattan College Cross-Country Invitational, the Jaspers honored him with a sign reading “Ed Bowes Way” at the finish line at Van Cortlandt Park to commemorate his years of dedicated service as meet director.
To honor the late coach and keep his memory alive, Bishop Loughlin has set up the Ed Bowes Endowed Scholarship for deserving students. Donations can be made to Bishop Loughlin H.S., 357 Clermont Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11238.
Though Bowes will be missed, the impact he had on thou- sands of Bishop Loughlin student-athletes will not soon be forgotten.
Contact Jim Mancari via email at email@example.com.