Published: 09:59 PM, Sun Dec 02, 2012
Terry Sanford coach Gil Bowman retires due to illness
Terry Sanford High's Gil Bowman, one of the longest tenured and most successful coaches in Cumberland County history, is retiring for health reasons, effective immediately.
Bowman, who coached girls' basketball and girls' and boys' tennis at Terry Sanford High School, submitted his resignation Sunday to Terry Sanford principal David Haggerty. He has been a teacher and coach at the school for almost 41 years.
For the past four years, Bowman said he has been battling chronic lymphocitic leukemia. The treatments he has been undergoing for the disease recently have made it difficult for him to continue his coaching duties.
"I was either sick or lethargic,'' he said. "I just have no energy. The main thing is I have to be concerned with my health.''
Haggerty said Terry Sanford can only hope to find someone half as good as Bowman to fill the void he will leave on the coaching staff. "We hope the best for him,'' Haggerty said. "It will be impossible to replace Gil.''
Gerri Williams, Bowman's assistant coach, will serve as interim head coach for the girls' basketball team for the remainder of this season. The team is off to a 2-0 start. A replacement for Bowman for the tennis teams has not been named.
Bowman was inducted into the Fayetteville Sports Club Hall of Fame in 2009. At the time his girls' tennis teams had a record of 339-36 while his boys' teams were 532-40. He coached multiple state champions in team, singles and doubles competition.
His basketball record at the time was 463-278, and he guided three teams to state title games.
"You put your heart and soul into something and it's kind of hard to walk away from it,'' Bowman said. "I knew a time would come eventually and if there is such a thing as a good time, this was a good time to walk away.''
Scholastic sports editor Earl Vaughan Jr. can be reached at email@example.com or 486-3519.