The Virginia Tech Hokies head coach, Brent Pry, went to the NFL to find the program’s new offensive coordinator, Tyler Bowen. He, like defensive coordinator Chris Marve, is a very young 32 years old. This means that VT will have two of the youngest coordinators in the FBS. Before anyone panics, remember that Lincoln Riley was 33 when he took over as head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners.
A native of Helena, Georgia, Mr. Bowen played college ball for the Maryland Terrapins, as on offensive lineman, from 2007-2009. Bowen started his coaching career at his alma mater as a graduate assistant. He spent one season coaching the tight ends at Towson where the Tigers made it to the national championship and finished ranked No. 2 in the FCS. Like our new DC, Bowen has found himself on multiple young coaches watch lists. He was named to 247Sports’ list, College Football Rising Stars: The 30 Under 30 Coaching Prospects and the AFCA’s 35 Under 35 Coaches.
Bowen is currently the tight ends coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars and will be finishing his NFL season with the Urban Meyer led squad before joining the Virginia Tech coaching staff. The final Jaguars game is against the Indianapolis Colts on January 9, so we can expect him to be in Blacksburg shortly thereafter. Although there are few bright spots for the Jaguars this season the performance of Jacksonville’s tight end corps has been one of the more positive aspects of the embattled offense. When TE, Dan Arnold, was acquired by Jacksonville from the Carolina Panthers, he became one of Trevor Lawrence’s go-to targets. In fact, he was the team’s leading receiver in four of the eight games he played before being placed on IR after an injury against the Atlanta Falcons during week 12.
Prior to joining the Jaguars staff Bowen served as the co-offensive coordinator, tight ends coach, and the offensive recruiting coordinator for the Penn State Nittany Lions. Described by Rivals.com’s Adam Friedman as a “recruiting rockstar” Coach Bowen is expected to be very active in repairing the recruiting doldrums Virginia Tech has found themselves languishing within. As PSU’s offensive recruiting coordinator his recruiting pinnacle came in 2019 when the average ranking of his class was 3.83 stars and was overall ranked No. 11 by Rivals and No. 13 by 247Sports and ESPN. That same year Bowen acted as the interim offensive coordinator during the Cotton Bowl Classic. Bowen handled play calling duties and the Nittany Lions defeated the Memphis Tigers, 53-39, breaking Penn States’ previous bowl scoring record. The 2019 Cotton Bowl Classic is not his only experience as an offensive coordinator. In 2016 he served as the Fordham Rams OC where his offense finished ranked fourth, in the FCS, for total offense and scoring offense.
Questions regarding Coach Bowen’s experience may understandably concern some, but I find the influx of coaching youth exciting and refreshing. Long have we lamented the lack of ingenuity in the Hokie offense. I firmly believe that providing eager young coaches an opportunity to shine is a superlative endeavor. Not only does this provide a path to modern schemes it will hopefully mean a willingness to be strategically flexible. Rather than attempting to force some system, or recapture the success of a previous program, these young coaches may be keen to adjust and adapt when an initial concept doesn’t meet the challenge.
Welcome to Virginia Tech, Coach Bowen!