Although Kyle Bowen has been named a top All-American Basketball Official, he said there’s always room for improvement.
The Detroit native, who graduated from Grand Valley in April 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management, competed with more than 50 college officials at the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association National Basketball Championship at North Carolina State University in April. Bowen was evaluated based on his ability to make judgment calls during a game, communicate with players and manage games. He is Grand Valley’s first NIRSA All-American Basketball Official.
Bowen started officiating intramural sports games at Campus Recreation as a first-year student in 2009. After two years, he began managing student officials as a sports event supervisor.
“It’s an honor to be ranked among the best sports officials in the country — it still hasn’t hit me yet,” Bowen said. “Although I feel I’ve done really well, I also feel that I can always find areas to improve on.”
Bowen said he didn’t know what to major in coming to Grand Valley, but quickly realized how many opportunities there are in campus recreation. In 2014, he completed an internship at Virginia Tech University in its campus recreation office.
Bowen officiated hundreds of games during his time at Grand Valley, including intramural basketball and flag football games. He said an official’s responsibilities include making sure the field or court is safe to play on, interacting with fans, and building a rapport with coaches, players and score keepers.
“When my crew and I first get to a game, we talk about case plays and rules, how the event will go, and how to handle certain situations,” he said. “Our mentality is ‘What can I do for the game? Not, what the game can do for me?’”
John Rosick, assistant director of Intramural Sports for Campus Recreation, said it’s been great to see Bowen grow as a sport official over the years. Rosick oversees a staff of 90 student intramural sport officials at Grand Valley. He said there are more than 4,000 student participants and 800 registered teams in a given year.
“I will never forget Kyle and his dad coming into my office during his Grand Valley orientation asking about opportunities within the intramural sports program,” Rosick said. “From that initial meeting, I had a strong feeling about his potential with our program and his future in campus recreation. He will make Grand Valley proud. Don’t be surprised if we see him officiating a Final Four someday.”
In May, Bowen will move to South Bend, Indiana, where he will serve as a campus recreation program coordinator for the University of Notre Dame.