University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Falcon Sports

Rick Bowen - Head Men's Basketball Coach

UW-River Falls Falcon basketball has experienced a great deal of success since Rick Bowen assumed the helm 18 years ago. Setting the standard for wins among UW River Falls basketball coaches was accomplished years ago. Bowen currently is 7th all time in the WIAC win column. Despite a successful record establishing UWRF as a top tier team in the Conference of Champions, a WIAC title has eluded him. Close enough in 2001-02; the Falcons needed only a win in their last two games. The disappointment of coming close, but finishing a disappointing 3rd, increased the non-championship string to 52 years and counting.

2003-04 will go down in history as the season that ended 54 years of frustration. The Falcons are the 2003-04 reigning WIAC basketball Champions. Rick Bowen finally brought the elusive title home to Karges Center, the campus and the city of River Falls.
He was awarded the WIAC Basketball Coach of the Year award for 2003-04. His peers also selected him as the NABC West Region Coach of the Year.

This was not the only national recognition Bowen and the Falcons received. The NABC named 6’8" Rich Melzer as the Division III National Player of the Year and a 1st team All American for the second consecutive year.

The 2003-04 season was one of landmarks. The Falcons hit the 20-win mark for the first time since the 1950 season. The season was also the 5th consecutive season with 14 or more wins. Bowen has totaled 15 or more wins 7 times and 14 or more wins 11 times during his 18 year River Falls tenure, far surpassing any previous Falcon coach.

This past year Rick Bowen was named the permanent UWRF Athletic Director. He is the only coach in the WIAC doing double duty serving as a coach and Director of Athletics.
Bowen came to UW River Falls in 1986 following five years as a Wisconsin Badger assistant coach. He previously was an assistant coach at Ball State University, working under Coach Steve Yoder at both institutions.

Bowen began his career in Indiana teaching government and coaching basketball for 12 years. Arriving in 1986, the basketball program at UW River Falls has grown into one of expected success. The seven consecutive winning seasons from 1989 to 1996 was a stretch that was last equaled in the 1915-22 basketball seasons. Bowen’s Falcons made school history for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th time by landing a spot in the NAIA District 14 playoffs in 1987, 1990, 1991 and 1992.

This past season the 20-7 record is the first 20-win season in 54 years. The Falcons were close to greatness losing six of their seven games by a total of 13 points. Losses by 2, 3, 1, 1, 3 and 3 accounted for six of the seven blemishes on the Falcon record. The 56-38 loss to Stevens Point opening the WIAC season was the only game lost by more than three points the entire year. River Falls began WIAC play 0-2 and then won 12 of their next 14 games to finish at 12-4.

Bowen graduated from Indiana University with a BS in physical education in 1966. He served the Hoosiers as a student manager under two time National Champion Branch McCracken. Rick earned a masters degree from St. Francis College in 1971. He served in the United States Army as a combat medic from 1967-69 with service in Vietnam from December of 1967 to December of 1968. For his actions in Vietnam he was awarded a Bronze Star.

Rick and his wife Sandy met as students while at Indiana University. They have been married for 38 years and have two sons. Sandy retired this past year after teaching in the science department at River Falls High School the past 18 years.

Mathew is assistant basketball coach at Valparaiso University. Like his father, Matt was an Indiana University basketball manager serving under Bob Knight. Matt is married to Ashli. They have a daughter, McKenzi.

Mike and his wife Pam, a UWRF graduate in marketing communications and former Falcon tennis player, own and operate Bowen’s Garage on Main Street in River Falls. Pam also works in the Graduate and Outreach department at the University.


Contact Coach Bowen.

Rick Bowen
Rick Bowen

The Bowen File

Year W L Pct WIAC Place
2003-04 20 7 .740 12-4, 1st
2002-03 16 10 .615 10-6,tie 3rd
2001-02 17 9 .653 9-7, 5th
2000-01 14 11 .560 9-7, tie 3rd
1999-00 14 11 .560 8-8, 4th
1998-99 9 16 .360 4-12, tie 7th
1997-98 14 11 .560 7-9, 6th
1996-97 11 14 .440 5-11, tie 6th
1995-96 13 12 .520 5-11, 6th
1994-95 14 11 .560 7-9, tie 5th
1993-94 16 9 .666 9-7, tie 4th
1992-93 12 12 .500 6-10, 6th
1991-92 15 12 .555 7-9, 5th
1990-91 16 12 .586 10-6, tie 3rd
1989-90 14 13 .535 8-8, tie, 4th
1988-89 12 14 .461 5-11, 7th
1987-88 11 15 .423 5-11, 8th
1986-87 13 14 .481 6-10, tie 5th
Totals 251 213 .540 132-153, .463

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