Indiana high school football coach dies after suffering stroke during playoff game, officials say

An Indiana high school football coach died Monday after suffering a stroke during a playoff football game last week, officials said.

Phillip Bowsman had coached at West Washington High School in Campbellsburg for the last 16 seasons. He suffered a stroke due to a blood clot while coaching in the semi-state finals game against Indianapolis Lutheran, West Washington School Corporation officials said in a statement on Facebook. West Washington lost, 49-0.

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“In true Coach Bowsman fashion, he made his final act of giving by being an organ donor,” the school district said in a Facebook post Monday. “Please take time [and] show love and support for all members of our community because his impact was great and this loss will affect many.”

The school district canceled classes Monday and Tuesday and offered counseling to those who were grieving the coach’s death.

Bowsman, who was in his 40s, was with the West Washington School Corporation for 19 years as a health and physical education teacher. He had been the high school’s athletic director for the last seven.

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He was remembered as a person who was always there for his students when they needed him.

“If they needed a ride home, if they needed equipment, cleats, if they needed anything at all, just someone to listen to, he was there,” Cynthia Ball, a parent of a student-athlete, told WLKY-TV.

Bobby Cleek told the station that his son played for Bowsman more than 10 years ago and said the two always kept in touch.

“He coaches because of Phillip. Him and Phillip are still close and they talk all the time. He was just a really good guy,” Cleek said.

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The school district said it was holding a walk to remember Bowsman and all were invited to attend.