Bowen takes basketball reigns at Lely

Ryan Bowen goes from a Titan to a Trojan as he takes over the basketball reigns from legendary Don Stewart.

It will be Bowen’s first varsity head coaching job, having served as the junior varsity coach at Golden Gate for three years. He also worked with Bill Carufe, formerly a very successful coach at Community School.

While at Golden Gate, Bowen’s record was 40-17.

Bowen expects to meet with his new team following Easter break.

Bowen loses three major starters in 4A Player of the Year Parker Ayers, three-point shooter Brandon Love and all-purpose player Dennis Marcelin. Coming back are starters Zach Hornsby, who was All-County, and point guard Christian Tateo, who led the team in assists. Both are outstanding defensive players.

Bowen, 27, says he will take a wait-and-see approach to the offense.

“I want to evaluate the talent and fit the system to their strengths,” he says.

“On defense, I like man-to-man and half to full court pressure, depending on team depth.”

Kim Francisco, who served as Stewart’s assistant for four years and was the JV coach, talked with Paul Ruby, athletic director, and Principal Ken Fairbanks, but decided not to seek the position. He also decided not to coach the JV team, but will continue to handle the boys varsity golf team.

“I was varsity coach at Everglades City for 17 years, winning nine district championships,” Francisco said of his prior experience.

“At this point in my teaching career (30 years) I am in the twilight of my career and I wouldn’t have coached very long. I was doing double duty as JV and varsity assistant and just thought this would be a good time to concentrate on the golf team. I think (Bowen) will do a great job.”

Ruby said Bowen is a great fit to the puzzle of getting a good coach and having to find a teaching position at the school. Bowen will fill an opening in the Exceptional Student Education program.

Ruby said Bowen came highly recommended by Carufe and got the endorsements of Stewart and Francisco.

“He is very organized and a student of the game,” Ruby said. “He’s a real basketball guy.”

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