E.A. Sports Today

Bowen heading to Southside

Oxford OLB coach, baseball pitching coach approved tonight as Southside’s new defensive coordinator, won’t go full-time until Oxford baseball is done

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – Justin Bowen has wanted to be a coordinator at some point in his coaching career. New Southside football coach Miles Holcomb is giving him that chance before he turns 30.


While he was fully immersed in Oxford’s third-round baseball playoff series Thursday night, Bowen was approved by the Etowah County school board and will become the Panthers’ new defensive coordinator. The meeting was scheduled for Tuesday but postponed by the weather.

Bowen is currently Oxford’s outside linebackers coach and the pitching coach on the baseball team. He was solid in both positions, but the opportunity to be a coordinator at 27 was too appealing a career move to pass. 

“It’s just an opportunity to go and advance my career as far being a coordinator,” he said. “I’ve kind of felt throughout the year this year that I wanted to take that next step if the right opportunity presented it.”

He’s committed to the Oxford baseball team and won’t start his new position full-time until the Yellow Jackets’ season ends. They opened a third-round playoff series with Hartselle at Choccolocco Park Thursday night.

Bowen will be in charge of Holcomb’s self-proclaimed “Wefense” defense in which the goal will be to swarm the football. The defensive staff will include Wynn Knight (defensive line), Kennith Nesmith (secondary) and Jordan Baker (corners).

“Being able to be a 6A coordinator at 27 years old, it’s just a really good opportunity for me,” he said. “Just having the opportunity to go and be in charge of 40 or 50 guys on my own on defense and being able to run that show at my age is just a really good opportunity.”

He said the move should in no way be misconstrued as disfavor with new Oxford head coach Sam Adams. The opportunity was in the works even while former coach Keith Etheredge was still at Oxford.

As he steps into the new position, he’ll reach back on all the lessons from all the coaches and coordinators who helped him become a coordinator. The list includes Will Wagnon, Ryan Herring, Keith Etheredge, Jonathan Miller, Frankie Perez, Jon Mark Lovell, Wes Brooks, Eric Firestone and Chad Cochran.

“I’ve been under some very successful coaches in my short career as a coach,” he said. “I think almost every single head coach I’ve been under has won a state title at some point in their career, if not multiple times. They’ve all been great leaders for me and have set a great example for the way you should lead a program.

“As far as my football career goes, Eric Firestone and Chad Cochran and Jonathan Miller are guys I have worked under on the defensive side of the ball. They have helped mold my defensive mind and getting to work for them and see how all three of them run their side of the ball in their own way has helped me take things away that I’ll hold onto forever and use in my own program in the future.

“I can’t say enough about all the amazing role models and coaches I’ve had around me that have not only invested in me, but my future. We have so many quality coaches in this state in all sports and it’s been a blessing to get to learn from some of the best and experience some of the things I have. I just hope I can carry over the things I have learned through my experience and help other coaches and players along the way.”

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