Br. Francis Bowers, FSC
Induction to the Jasper Hall of Fame Citation
The De La Salle philosophy has always included dedication to all that one does whether it be to academic or athletics. Brother Francis Bowers, F.SC, found a way to combine the two throughout his career as an athlete and student, teacher, coach, academic advisor to athletes and more. For 44 of those years, he has proven his passion for sports at Manhattan College. When many would have been preparing to retire, Brother Francis took on a whole new responsibility of working with Jasper athletes as the first coordinator of academic achievement for athletes on scholarships (1988 to 2004).
In this position, he moved Manhattan College’s athletic graduation rate to one of the highest in the nation. In fact, during his 16-year watch, at least 50% of Jasper athletes have achieved a 3.0 GPA or better each year. While a member of the Faculty Committee on athletics in the 1960s, Brother Francis was instrumental in providing the building blocks Manhattan needed to strengthen its athletics program by improving the quality of team schedules, increasing financial aid, and establishing the position of sports information officer, full time. He also helped level the playing field for men and woman at Manhattan, when the college became coeducational. Within four years of joining the committee, Brother Francis saw the fruits of his success as the Jaspers took the Indoor National Championship in 1973 in track and field.
An athlete at Cathedral Boys High School, Brother Francis played both baseball and basketball. Throughout his high school teaching career, he could be found on a court or a field coaching. Brother Francis coached prominent track stars at St. Augustine’s including 1960 Olympian Jasper Hall of Famer Tom Murphy. He started the track team at St. Peter’s High School on Staten Island and coached his team to victory over Tom Murphy the first year. Brother Francis continued to be dedicated to high school track while at Manhattan as a member of the College’s Spiked Shoe Club. He can always be found working with fellow Hall of Famer Ed Bowes at the Biggest and Best cross country championship held annually in Van Cortlandt Park on Columbus Day Weekend.
A team player in his career as well as on the field, Brother Francis did whatever was needed of him when he became a member of the arts faculty at Manhattan College. After serving as Dean of Arts and Sciences for ten years, Brother Francis wanted to go back to the classroom and teach. He was asked to take the position of provost for a semester while the College searched for a replacement. Brother Francis “pinch hit” as provost for five years. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Brother Francis did return to the classroom to teach English for several years before taking on the role of academic advisor.
Brother Francis Bowers you have shown that dedication can be found on and off the field. You found a way to combine your passion for athletics with your passion for education throughout your career, giving that fire to countless athletes along the way. For the success of your athletes in their sport and in their lives, Manhattan College proudly welcomes you into in Athletic Hall of Fame.