New St. Edward's football coach Mark Gowin ready for return to sidelines after almost a decade away from field
It’s been almost a decade since Mark Gowin last coached a high school football game, but he never lost his desire to return to the sidelines.
The 67-year-old was named head coach at St. Edward’s School on Tuesday.
“To be honest, I think since the day I left Episcopal (in Virginia in 2012), I was missing the interaction with the kids, the chess match of the games and really the relationships,” Gowin said Wednesday morning. “Friday nights are pretty special, and going through those things with those coaches and student-athletes are so wonderful.
“I missed it. I always had in the back of my mind that boy I would like to do it again.”
Gowin won more than 100 games and three conference titles in 24 seasons at Episcopal, which was his most recent stop in a 37-year coaching career. He also has been a linebackers and wide receivers coach at the collegiate level.
“I try to stay abreast of the latest ideas and things, but I want to build relationships with students and staff,” Gowin said. “I’m not a screamer and a yeller. I want our young players to feel confident to feel cared for, and I want to do it in a positive way in every way and form. Sportsmanship is crucial to me. I am a coach that wants to do it the right way, and I expect players and coaching staff to treat officials and opponents the right way.”
Gowin plans to be the Pirates' primary play-caller on offense and will hire a defensive coordinator. He prefers an open, versatile offense, but will look to tailor his scheme to his personnel. When he was at Episcopal, Gowan coached running back Tim Hightower and wide receiver Danny Coale. Both players went on to be selected in the NFL Draft.
“The important thing right now is look and adapt,” Gowin said. “I’ll look at our strengths. I’ll study the game tapes from last year. I’ll adapt the offense to the strengths of our players.”
One of the biggest issues St. Edward’s has had in recent years is having the smallest roster on the Treasure Coast, often with fewer than 20 players. Former coach Bill Motta often talked about the team having to play iron man football.
The team did see a boost in numbers last fall and had a five-win improvement from 2018.
“I think being here in the school on a daily basis and getting to know students will help,” Gowin said. “We’ll talk to kids. I want to go to basketball games and go to other sports and see who the athletes are. Once you work with the students and student-athletes and have that rapport, kids will be the best sellers of the program. It might not be next year, but hopefully by the year after, we’ll work hard to build those relationships.”