ANDERSON — With a roster depleted by injuries, Anderson Prep was forced to cancel the balance of its 2019 football schedule after just four games.
Like every other team and athlete, the Jets hope to return in their pads and helmets to the field this fall, and they’ll have a new coach at the helm when and if they do.
A former United States Marine and coach with area ties, Tony Bowman has taken the leadership position for the APA football program, becoming the fifth head football coach for the Jets since 2014.
Bowman has served as an assistant at both Frankton and Anderson University as well as Muncie Central in the past. He was head coach at Covenant Christian in 2019 and finished with a 6-5 record. He recognizes the challenges that go with this job but is ready to face them head on.
“I took this job with specific goals, knowing it would be an adventure, and it’s proving to be that,” Bowman said. “We’ve got 18 kids right now, and at least three or four more on the fence. I’m hoping to have at least 18 or so when we open up for official camp that last week before school starts.”
Bowman, 61, feels APA is a good fit with his military background. He served in the Marines for 24 years, which included seeing action in Fallujah as well as coaching football on military bases. He is looking forward to the challenge of kick starting a program that has won three games in the last four seasons.
“I’ve been around and just recently came back to central Indiana,” he said. “I’ve built a program from the ground up in the military, and I wanted a chance to do it again. It’s frustrating, but it’s a lot of fun and fulfilling. That’s where Anderson Prep’s football program is right now.”
The main reason the Jets job appealed so strongly to Bowman was what he saw from the players last year. Despite mounting injuries and a dwindling number of available players, there was never any quit in the Jets.
“Last year was a tough year,” Bowman said. “We have four seniors out right now and a couple juniors, and my hat’s off to them, what a resilient bunch of kids. That was one of the things that attracted me to the program, was that the kids were resilient. … To have kids there at the end of the year still fighting in the third quarter against Indiana Deaf before the season was canceled, that shows the kind of character of kids I want to be working with.”
The Jets are set to open their season Aug. 21 at Frontier.