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From the basketball court to the virtual classroom: a unique journey

Author: Chad Sanborn | Image: Chad Sanborn

From the basketball court to the virtual classroom: a unique journey

In an era when professional athletes often prioritize endorsements and fame, Darrell Bowie chose to focus on a unique path. Splitting his time between slam dunks and studies, Bowie’s dedication to youth and community development is noteworthy. He is leaving a lasting impact on and off the court.

Bowie, former basketball player for Iowa State University, graduated in Spring 2023 with a master’s degree in youth development, a degree that can positively impact a community’s next generation by supporting youth social, emotional, cognitive, and academic development. So Bowie’s degree was not the end of his journey. Rather, it was a new beginning.

“I still play professional basketball,” Bowie states. “But during the offseason, I commit my time to training, mentoring, and coaching kids. This summer, I had the privilege of coaching juniors entering their senior year in high school basketball.”

His decision to pursue an online degree was primarily due to his professional basketball commitments overseas. With stints in China and France, Bowie found that Iowa State’s online program offered the flexibility he needed to balance both of his passions. But he also wanted to pursue his degree with Iowa State because of the strong connections he had with the university.

“The community and fan base make this place special,” Bowie reminisces, highlighting the tight-knit relationship he fostered with Iowa State since his first recruiting trip during his undergraduate days. The warmth and genuine interest the community showed him made his journey all the more worthwhile.

From online courses in sports psychology to courses in adolescent development, relationships, upbringing, after-school programs, and challenges for kids from single-parent households, Bowie’s academic journey has not just been about earning a degree. It’s also about being part of a support system for the youth that he works with. “I want them to know they can reach out anytime, about anything,” he said. “It’s about being a mentor, on and off the court.”

Asked how his academics tie into his current role, Bowie emphasizes, “It’s about being a mentor, both on and off the court.” While earning his master’s online, he was able to immediately apply what he learned about the power of motivational speaking. He also learned about the significance of addressing mental health and the importance of being available to his players.

Coach Steve Prohm once advised him about “leaving your jersey in a better place.” It’s a principle he’s held close to his heart. For Bowie, it’s about creating a lasting impact and representing more than just oneself. “I constantly think about my daughter and strive to be the best example for her and others,” he shares.

In the world of academia and sports, Darrell Bowie is certainly leaving his jersey in a much better place.

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Whether someone is balancing their studies with a career in basketball or other professional responsibilities, Iowa State University’s online programs involve high-quality learning opportunities for a variety of students. Be one of the many students reaping those benefits. Unlock your full potential through the transformative power of online education through Iowa State Online. Request more information about Iowa State Online courses and programs today.

Darrell Bowie