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Free State Softball Hires New Coach

Free State Softball Enters New Era, with New Coach

Reece Dunker

A familiar name to many KU Football fans is now the head man for Free State High School softball.

The Lady Firebirds, fresh off a win over Shawnee Mission South, are rolling to start the season. Led by Charley Bowen, they’re 4-1 with much of their season still to go. 

Bowen used to roam the secondary at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Now he’s the Lady Firebirds’ first new head coach since 2009. 

Coach Bowen has goals in mind for his players and knows there’s a lot more to softball than just playing it.

“We’re going to do things right, not only on the field, but in the classroom and we’re going to make them better women at the end of the day,” Bowen said. 

After graduating from KU, Bowen spent time in Texas. Now that he’s back in Lawrence, he knows where’s his focus lies. 

“And that’s, you know that’s a priority, you know but I, we’re going to get one percent better every day, and we’re going to compete every day,” Bowen said.

Bowen’s predecessor, Lee Ice, was dismissed following the 2021 season. After being hired, Bowen decided to keep the rest of the staff in tack. After all, that staff has been a part of two state titles and one fourth place finish in the past three seasons. 

Both the Lady Firebirds and Charley Bowen are adjusting well to their new partnership. All that’s left to see is how deep their postseason run takes theem.