January 19, 2012

Willamette hire stays close to home

More news about: Willamette
Glen Fowles played at Willamette and has been on the coaching staff for 16 seasons.
Willamette athletics photo

By Tim Walsh
Special to D3sports.com

SALEM, Ore. -- The last time Willamette University’s football program had a head coaching vacancy, then-athletic director Bill Trenbeath called then-offensive coordinator Mark Speckman and offered him the head coaching job the same day.

This time around, the positions reversed.

“Once Mark made his decision, the first email I sent was to David,” said newly minted Bearcat head coach Glen Fowles. “I wanted to let him know that I very much wanted the position.”

The sentiment was mutual. Fowles was announced as Willamette head coach on Tuesday, in front of a packed crowd of media, coaches, and players. A two-time all-NWC selection at Willamette as a player from 1994-95, Fowles spent the last 16 years on the Bearcats’ coaching staff – 14 as offensive coordinator.

“I am and always will be a Willamette guy,” said Fowles. “I can’t imagine anybody doing this job at this time other than me.”

As director of one of Division III’s most unusual offenses, Fowles has been a candidate for other coaching jobs in the past. Most recently, he was one of three finalists for the head coaching job at the Bearcats’ NWC rival Pacific, but withdrew his name from consideration to return to Salem.

“I had to ask myself, ‘Do I want to be a head coach, or do I want to be Willamette’s head coach,’” said Fowles. “And the answer was always the same: [Willamette] is the job that I want.”

But while much of the Bearcats’ football program will stay the same – Fowles has already announced that the entire coaching staff will remain intact – the new head coach has hinted that some changes might be on the way. Fowles plans to look outside the existing staff for an offensive coordinator, and extensive knowledge of Willamette’s traditional “fly” offense might not be a requirement for that job.

“My name’s not attached to any offense or anything,” Fowles said. “I want to build the Willamette offense.”

“But our offensive philosophies aren’t going to change ... we’re going to play a system that enables our guys to compete with the best.”

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