Cotter girls’ basketball coach Pat Bowlin reached a significant milestone on Friday night in a victory against Fillmore Central. Bowlin won his 500th game and became just the 14th girls’ basketball coach in Minnesota history to win 500 games in their career.
Bowlin is now 500-290 and he has the fifth most wins of any active coach. He has won six conference titles in his career and has three state tournament appearances. He led St. Bernard’s to a state tournament berth and has led Cotter to state in 2001 and 2006. Bowlin was elected to the Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2009 and he has only had three losing seasons in 30 years of coaching basketball. The impressive thing about Bowlin’s success is that he has largely done it without superstars. Bowlin has only had one player in his 30 years of coaching basketball that has gone on to play Division I or Division II basketball. The one player was Jenny Gilbertson who just finished her career at UW-Green Bay.
Bowlin has also been one of the most successful softball coaches in state history. He has won 621 games as a softball coach and is second all-time in Minnesota history behind Bob Mertz from New Ulm Cathedral. He has won six state titles in softball while taking 18 teams to state. Cotter is tied for the state record for most consecutive state tournament appearances with eight in a row from 2000 to 2007. Bowlin was also the football coach at Cotter for 12 years and led Cotter to state in 2006.
Bowlin’s career path may have been completely different if his family had turned out differently. He has five daughters and one son and he says if he would have had five sons instead he probably would have made the transition to boys’ coach sometime during his career.