In Their Words is a weekly feature appearing Sundays in The Blade s sports section. Blade sports writer Maureen Fulton talked with Kirk Cowan, who played basketball for Bowling Green State University and is now the men s basketball radio analyst on the Falcon Sports Network.
As a player, Kirk Cowan was one of the first people coach Dan Dakich wanted to introduce recruits to. Cowan, a center for Bowling Green State University from 1995-1999, came to the Falcons from New York and could always offer a perspective on being at BGSU far from home.
Still around the program as the radio analyst for the Falcon Sports Network the past two seasons, Cowan doesn t hesitate to offer his perspective to current players upon request from Dakich.
Cowan, a 6-foot-7, 190-pounder, is ranked sixth all-time on the BGSU career shot blocks list with 92. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and moved to New York City before high school. His freshman year of high school was his first time playing organized basketball. As a senior at Madison High School Cowan averaged 23 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks a game.
At BGSU he was a part-time starter under coach Jim Larranaga his freshman and sophomore seasons. Dan Dakich replaced Larranaga for Cowan s junior year and Cowan started every game. It was his best season as a Falcon, averaging 11 points and 8.7 rebounds. He earned an honorable mention All-Mid-American Conference nod. His senior year he averaged 9.5 points and pulled down five rebounds.
After college Cowan played one season of professional basketball in Melbourne, Australia, for the Knox Raiders of the Australian Basketball Association. Cowan has lived in Bowling Green since he returned from Australia and works for the Bowling Green police department. He married his wife, Kelly, in the summer of 2005.
I HAD THE opportunity to go to probably a couple of schools bigger than Bowling Green, but my freshman year of college would have been only the fifth year that I had played basketball. I was a little nervous going to a bigger school they might just recruit over me. When I came to BG to visit, I met Antonio Daniels and visited the same time as Anthony Stacey. We had about four other New Yorkers here who I spoke to and they really enjoyed it here. Coach L [Jim Larranaga] was known to go to New York and recruit. I just felt comfortable with the guys here on the team.
FROM COACH L days, my sophomore year when we were winning, that year was something special. We would go to a game on the road and we knew we were going to win the game, it didn t matter who we were playing. We had kind of a confident swagger about us.
MY SENIOR YEAR in the tournament we went to Akron and beat them and made it to the Seagate Centre. We lost to Miami on a backcourt violation call. Our point guard DeMar Moore, he was bringing the ball up and talking to coach Dakich and the refs called us for a 10-second violation. If we go up and score we might have won the game. It was kind of hard to end our careers like that.
AFTER MY SENIOR year, Charlie Coles from Miami received a phone call from a coach in Australia looking for a big guy. Charlie didn t have a guy that fit that so he was nice enough to give BG s number to the coach. I got home and I hit play on my answering machine and there s this guy with an Australian accent. I automatically thought that it was a joke. I played it a couple times for my roommate and said, This is someone messing around. But then our assistant coach Keith Noftz called me and said there s a guy really interested. So we spoke and three weeks later I was on a plane to Australia.
I STOPPED PLAYING basketball there because when I was playing, I was 24 and the second-oldest guy on the team. I was playing with guys who were maybe freshmen in college in Australia terms. I d score 30 points and we d win and that was OK, and then I d score 30 points and we d lose and it was put on my shoulders. They were adamant, we re paying you to make sure we win games. When I got back home, I didn t know if I wanted to go back to that team, and then I just was so turned off about it I didn t even look into playing overseas anymore.
A COUPLE OF weeks before the season ended, the team asked where they should purchase the plane ticket to, I thought about it for a while and I told them BG. For people who know me, I m a very laid back guy, and New York is just too fast-paced for me. I was only there for six years before I moved here. I ve been here ever since except to visit my family.
WHEN COACH L made it to the Final Four, the guys who used to play for him with me all called each other and were talking. It was so interesting watching them practice when they showed it on TV. The same thing that they were doing, playing baseball after practice and stuff like that, those were things we did here. It was nice to see him do really well in the NCAAs.
I VE GONE IN and talked to the team on three separate occasions where coach Dakich felt that they just needed to hear stuff from former players as opposed to the coaching staff. That s been awesome for him to ask me and a couple other guys to do that. I think it s just when I played, the guys I played with just had such a mutual respect for each other. He wanted us to try to relay that to the younger guys that no one person makes the team. It s got to be a team effort every night.
Contact Maureen Fulton at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6160.