John Bower Joins NAIT as Athletics Director
Following Contract Termination, Former Concordia Assistant Athletics Director Joins Albertan College
Former Concordia Athletics Assistant Athletics Director John Bower has joined the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology as Athletics Director. Bower’s first day at the helm of the Edmonton-based Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association school will be on Aug. 1.
“It was not in my plans to leave Concordia,” said Bower. “But sometimes life has a funny way of changing the best laid plans so it opened up the door there.”
Bower’s job search started in January when the structure situation at Concordia shifted. With the departure of former Athletics Director Patrick Boivin for the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes and Associate Director of Recreation Vladimir Palvlicik retiring, Concordia decided to re-evaluate the structure of its athletics department.
“It gave them the opportunity to take a look at the complete structure and the way that the contracts work at Concordia is that a position has to be renewed before an extension can be offered to somebody,” said Bower. “And, as such, the university deemed that it would not be prudent to continue with the current structure given the fact that they would potentially be changing that structure going forward.”
Despite wanting to stay at Concordia, Bower’s position was terminated and so began the search for a different position. The sudden winds of change allowed him to search for an Athletics Director position—which was an objective of his for some time.
Having applied for position in both U Sports and the CCAA, it was NAIT—which is part of the latter—that pulled the trigger on Bower. Similar to the CEGEP system in Quebec, the CCAA applies to higher education institutions the operate under U Sports.
“There are some nuances but most of the [CCAA legislation] when it comes to eligibility, scholarships, doping, all mirrors what is being done in U Sports,” said Bower. “So the transition for myself going from the university to the college level is not going to be that big.”
With NAIT, Bower states that he is not coming in with a rebuilding mandate. After former Athletics Director Linda Henderson left in the spring to pursue the same position at Olds College, also a CCAA school in Alberta, Bower is focussed on keeping the ball rolling.
“With NAIT, I have a very solid house already built,” he said. “It’s added value, it’s the additional support mechanisms to put in place for student-athletes which is what I’ve been doing at Concordia for the past four-and-a-half years.”
One aspect of his time at the Concordia Stingers that Bower would like to bring to the NAIT Ooks is the student involvement. He was inspired by the Stingers United program that brought students from different parts of Concordia into the Stingers operation to give them experience.
“I’ve been inspired by that and I want to take that model with me to give students the opportunity to build up their portfolio as they move forward into the workforce,” he added.
Bower also had kind words for former Athletics Director and current President of the Montreal Alouettes Patrick Boivin. He knew of Bower’s intentions to one day become an Athletics Director and encouraged him to make the necessary work to achieve his goal.
“I interviewed at a francophone institution two years ago and Patrick was the one that was coaching me and pushing me to take the opportunity,” said Bower.
Boivin’s influence on Bower is something that he wants to take with him to NAIT. He would like to pay back what Boivin did for him during his time at Concordia.
“If [NAIT coaches or staff members] want those experience as part of their priorities or if they want to become an Athletics Director, I will work with them so that they gather that experience so that they can realize their dreams.”
Moving from U Sports to CCAA and from Montreal to Edmonton, Bower realizes the differences in situations. However, he is ready to take on his new chapter in sports management.
“My department is not going to be as large as Concordia’s but it is very robust so it’s a great opportunity for me to gain valuable experience that I don’t have yet,” said Bower. “Which is to lead an athletic department in a Canadian college or university.”
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