The Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association (PGAA) will present its Volunteer Excellence award to Harry P. Bowser at the Alumni Celebration Dinner to be held Saturday, October 1, at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg as part of Blue & Gold Weekend: Homecoming 2016.
The PGAA Volunteer Excellence Award was established in 2009 to recognize alumni who volunteer their time to the PGAA and the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. The award honors alumni who have dedicated a significant amount of personal time to attending alumni meetings and events, working on special projects, and contributing to the overall success of both the alumni association and the University it represents.
Bowser graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1972 with a degree in secondary education and history after attending the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg from 1968 through 1970. After graduation, he completed his term of service with the Pennsylvania National Guard and was then hired by the Southmoreland School District. There he taught social studies to grades seven through 12 for 35 years and served as head of the Social Studies Department.
In addition to his service in the classroom, Bowser was active in Southmoreland athletics, serving as head baseball coach, assistant football coach, assistant baseball coach, and assistant basketball coach. He is probably best remembered for his two stints as head basketball coach with the Scotties where he turned around a program that had not registered a single win in the year prior to his taking over the team.
What many may not know about Bowser is that he was a member of Pitt-Greensburg’s inaugural basketball team and continues to remain involved with the team today. He first served as an assistant men’s basketball coach under John Hunter (1972-1973), and then as a volunteer assistant men’s basketball coach with Matt Furjanic (1998-1999), Karl Radday (1999-2001), and as a volunteer and paid assistant men’s basketball coach with Marcus Kahn (2001-2003).
In 2013, he joined Pitt-Greensburg head coach Sean Strickland’s staff as a volunteer assistant men’s basketball coach and character coach through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Today, he continues as a volunteer character coach and holds “character sessions” where he provides instruction to the team on developing positive attitudes. These sessions also provide team members with an outlet to share their goals, frustrations, and friendship in a way that has a positive effect on both the team and the individuals.
Bowser also serves on the board of the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association (PGAA). This past year, he assisted other members of the Pitt-Greensburg’s inaugural basketball team in developing the Men’s Basketball Alumni Club (MBAC). The group, led by Bernard “Bernie” Cobetto ’73, Carlyle Carter, Thomas “Tom” Jollie ’72, and Frederick “Fred” Charles ’72, has had a great reception, hearing from former players responding from as far away as Alaska, Rhode Island, Florida, and California.
“Harry’s determination to connect his former teammates with the current student athletes has helped us to create a model for developing other alumni communities within the PGAA,” said Sheila Kudrick, Pitt-Greensburg alumni coordinator. “His enthusiasm and ability to bring people together stand out as distinguishing qualities in his success. We look forward to building on the foundation that he has helped us to put in place.”
Bowser’s work continues in the community, as well, where he volunteers with the Fairview Church of God in its Soup Kitchen and doing lawn work. He also volunteers with the Buchanan Church of God Soup Kitchen.
Bowser and his wife, Karon, have two sons, Adam ’03 and Ryan. A resident of Alverton, PA, Bowser notes that he enjoys spending time with his granddaughters Alexis and Mikayla, and traveling.