Bowles completed his college degree in youth and community development through Mount St. Mary’s University, fulfilling a promise he made to his mother, Joan, before her death in 2009. At that time, Bowles served as an assistant coach with the Miami Dolphins.
“As a coach, I don’t think I can use it very much [but] as a father, it is a good time to get it because I have a sophomore at Rutgers, and I have one that’s a senior now, and I have one in sixth grade,” Bowles told the media on Wednesday, September 7. “So just getting that hopefully helps them get theirs and they can do something with it.”
“For me, it was a personal thing as far as a promise I made to my mother before she passed that I would go back and get it,” Bowles said.
Bowles left Temple University early for the NFL in 1986 as an undrafted free agent. He played seven seasons in the league before becoming a coach in both college and then the NFL. He began pursuing his degree in 2020 online through Mount St. Mary’s at the recommendation of his agent, Anthony Agnone, a 1979 alumnus of the school, per Buccaneers.com’s Brianna Dix.
Bowles: ‘You Need to Get it as Early as Possible’
Bowles will participate in Mount St. Mary’s commencement in May 2023, which will mark 37 years since he left Temple for pro football.
“Sometimes life gets in the way and things come up, and you finally put your foot down, and you try and do it, so it’s something I just did,” Bowles told reporters.
Bowles mentioned he studied before practice and late in the evenings to get the coursework done, which was through the school’s Center for Accelerated and Adult Education. He served as the Bucs defensive coordinator during most of that time period before taking on the head coaching job in March this year.
“I think you need to get it as early as possible, so you can do something with it,” Bowles said about earning a degree. “But at the same time, for the people that go back and get it, it’s a sense of personal accomplishment and hopefully gives somebody hope that it’s never too late. You’d rather get it early than later, but you better get it when you can.”
Bowles’ Winning Philosophy?
Though Bowles won’t directly use what he learned to help the Bucs win games this season, he developed his coaching philosophy amid his course work, Mount St. Mary’s professor David McCarthy told Dix.
McCarthy, who is also an Associate Provost for the school, worked closely with Bowles on the interdisciplinary degree, which included studying philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato.
“We would laugh often about how well his years of coaching have brought him to the same place as classics in moral philosophy,” McCarthy said per Dix.
Bowles noted that his degree applies to his off-field work with children through community projects.