Gene Bowman

Gene Bowman, Hall of Fame Athlete

Santa Barbara High fans who were around in the late 1940’s will remember Gene Bowman as not only an accurate passer in the Dons’ football single-wing offense, but as one of the top pitchers to come out of the local high school.

In the 26 games Bowman guided the Dons during his three year career, he threw a total of 35 touchdown passes and ran for 10 more. Of his 35 m passes, 9 of them went to ·his cousin, Eddie Mathews, who went on to be a Major League Baseball Hall of Farner. Mathews is also in the Santa Barbara Hall of Fame.

During his junior season in 1948, Bowman was selected to the All-CIF first team as a quarterback as he guided the Dons to a 11-0-1 overall record and the CIF championship game against St. Anthony’s of Long Beach. Although the final score ended in a 7-7 tie, St. Anthony’s won the game on more first downs.

Bowman, who threw a total of 23 touchdown passes in 1948, had his biggest game that year when he threw four passes and kicked four PATs in a 28-6 win over East Bakersfield.

During the 1949 season, Bowman started off strong, including throwing 3 ms and scoring 3 PATs in a victory over Ventura. He completed 28 of 34 passes for 383 yards in the game.

His high school football career, however, was cut short when he broke his wrist early in the season. He watched from the sidelines as the Dons went on to post a 10-2-0 record and lost to Compton 19-13 in the CIF finals. Although Bowman lettered two years as a guard on the basketball team, he excelled on the baseball diamond as well as the football field.

During his varsity baseball career, the right-hander posted a 23-4 record and was voted to the All-CIF first team his senior year in 1950. He also pitched the Dons to the CIF finals in 1949 and 1950. He lost to San Diego Hoover 10-3 in 1949 and to Long Beach Wilson 4- 3 in 12 innings in 1950.

Following graduation, Bowman went to the University of Georgia on a football and baseball scholarship but he hurt his shoulder his freshman year and never went back.

Bowman’s athletic career, however, wasn’t over. He was signed by the Boston Braves and played in the Braves’ minor league system from 1951 to 1954. He posted a 12-12 career record as a relief pitcher.

Bowman still makes his home with his family in Santa Barbara.