Jonathan Bowen recently started his first year as head wrestling coach, while LT Kevin Bissmeyer began his second year coaching basketball at MMA with a promotion from assistant to head coach.
WHY DID YOU BECOME A COACH?
BISSMEYER: I played just about every sport up through high school. Basketball, football, baseball, lacrosse, boxing. … I became a coach after tearing ACL multiple times at the University of Cincinatti and was forced to watch from the sidelines and learn the game. It made me a much better player and gave me an appreciation for what it takes to be a coach.
BOWEN: I’ve been competing and/or coaching wrestling at some level since 1999. … After graduating high school in 2002, I attended a local junior college on full academic scholarship and was hired as a volunteer assistant wrestling coach at my old high school. During my first semester at college, I performed in a walk-on tryout at Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis. After the tryout, I was offered a wrestling scholarship and transferred to MBU in the fall of 2003. Soon after arriving on campus I sustained a few injuries that prevented me from pursuing my dream of becoming a national qualifier at the NAIA level. I was allowed to keep my scholarship by performing a variety of administrative roles for the wrestling team that would later help me as a coach. I was hired to be a head middle school coach/assistant varsity coach at the Grandview School District in the Kansas City area in the fall of 2007.
I got into little league wrestling in 2011-12 season when my oldest daughter brought home a flyer from the local wrestling club and was adamant about becoming a wrestler like daddy. Since then, we have adopted an at-home wrestling routine with mats in our basement. … One of my passions for the state of Missouri’s wrestling scene is to see a girls only division at the middle school and high school levels. I’ve been one of the front-runners in promoting this reform to the sport in our state along with several other coaches in both the Kansas City and St. Louis areas. We see this as creating a level playing field for both boys and girls throughout the state while growing the overall number of participation in MSHSAA athletics. Last year, I brought the inaugural Girls Folkstyle State Tournament to MMA, which was quite successful with girls from all over the state.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR YOUR TEAM?
BISSMEYER: I really want MMA to take a big step forward in the next few years. I want them to go from occasionally getting teams that compete to having teams that are consistent threats every year. I want the players to realize their potential as individuals and as a team. I want to develop a team atmosphere of competition and motivation that challenges every player to give their best every day and every play.
BOWEN: I want to both re-establish some older traditions and bring in some new ones as well. The first being is having pride in all that we do. The second goal is that we are going to compete the entire match, no matter the opponent. Third, I want … the team’s GPA to be a benchmark for other athletic programs across campus. Fourth is to grow the program in every capacity. This of course includes winning and reaching the aforementioned goals, but also working on becoming a self-sufficient program by fundraising for our own team projects. Also, after talking with my assistant coach, we as a program are going to try and bring first-class clinics and camps to MMA throughout the spring and summer to further educate our current wrestlers.
ARTICLE BY CONNOR PEARSON
Connor is in his second year as marketing intern at Missouri Military Academy. A communications major at William Woods University, he is the captain of the WWU Improv Team and a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He graduated from Edmond North High School in 2013.