Menlo School philosophy teacher and boys' water polo coach Jack Bowen has been named a 2012 Positive Coaching Alliance's Double-Goal Coach Award winner.
The award recognizes 20 coaches nationwide whose goals are twofold: striving to win and more importantly, teaching life lessons through sports. Bowen will receive his award at Positive Coaching Alliance's 2012 National Youth Sports Awards Dinner and Auction on March 10 at Sharon Heights Country Club.
"I am very excited about it -- this award reflects what's important to me as a coach and an educator," Bowen said.
Bowen was the lone water polo coach among the 50 finalists who were chosen from nearly 250 nominations, bolstered by testimonials. Menlo School head football coach and history teacher Mark Newton was a PCA double-goal coach winner in 2010 and Menlo humanities teacher and water polo coach Kyle Utsumi won in 2003.
Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) is a national non-profit committed to providing all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience.
Bowen and the Menlo School boys' water polo team hold a longstanding message to Be Your Best.
"It's not to Be the Best, but Be your Best. This puts everyone on the same page from the All-American to the student who just came out for varsity for the first time," Bowen explained. "It's teaching us all to take complete ownership of our goals. … It achieves so much more than a results-only approach."
That the team has won five Central Coast Section championships since Bowen's first year in 2000 is a by-product of that approach. In connection with PCA, being your best doesn't focus singularly on winning championships, Bowen said.
He points to a time in 2008 when the Menlo team was participating in its annual Navy SEALs-type training in Coronado. One year as the teammates were carrying one another up and down the dunes, a 16-year-old player saw that his coach, Bowen, was struggling, and lifted him up to help him finish.
That was one of many anecdotes Bowen has of his players showing their best.
"Special moments seem to happen a lot on our teams, though I certainly don't take it for granted," said Bowen, who encourages all his players and students to truly engage in all aspects of their lives.
Bowen has published three books, including "The Dream Weaver", which made the San Francisco Chronicle's best-seller list and the Amazon top 500. He also has been invited to speak at academic philosophy conferences throughout the United States and in England.
"The nomination and testimonial letters submitted on behalf of the finalists are incredibly moving and show the power of a Double-Goal Coach to have a positive impact on young lives," PCA Founder and CEO Jim Thompson said.