The Red Life with Zack Bowman

By NU Athletic Communications
Zack Bowman hopes to make an impact for the Huskers on the field, in the classroom and in the community in 2007.
Zack Bowman hopes to make an impact for the Huskers on the field, in the classroom and in the community in 2007.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

By Keith Zimmer

Assistant A.D. for Student Life


On a recent summer day at Memorial Stadium, Nebraska football senior defensive back Zack Bowman met a young boy, the boy's mother and grandmother who were touring around the stadium. 


Bowman introduced himself to the group and proceeded to give an unscheduled, personalized tour of the stadium to the family. Bowman capped the visit for the young fan by presenting the boy with Bowman's old Nebraska practice jersey. 


Bowman understands and accepts that he is a role-model in the state of Nebraska.  He vividly remembers looking up to his Uncle James Lewis, who was a student-athlete at East Carolina.  In fact, it was Uncle James who took extra time to mentor Bowman and talk about the importance of both academics and athletics.


“I never want to be stereotyped as just a football player," Bowman said. "I want people to know I'm serious about school and serious about making an impact in the community in which I live.” 


Bowman's background has helped form his commitment to community, while also fueling his fire to return to the field after suffering knee injuries in successive seasons in 2006 and 2007 at Nebraska. After enduring the back-to-back injuries, Bowman said he considered a change in his future plans as a football player. But a visit from his mother, who resides with his father in Anchorage, Alaska, helped him focus on his return to the field.


“I'm a very hard worker with a history of pushing forward until I achieve my goals,” Bowman said. “My mom came to Lincoln to be with me during the surgery. Afterwards I put in a couple of tapes from my high school and junior college days where I was spotlighted for making some big-time plays.  It was clear to me then that I couldn't give up. I love the sport of football, and I want to be the guy that makes the big play.”


Nebraska football coaches, teammates and fans are optimistic that a fully recovered Bowman will be making big-time plays against big-time opponents in the Husker secondary this season.


Not only is Bowman working hard to return to the Husker defensive backfield early in the fall, he is focused on completing his college degree.  After successful completion of eight summer credits, Bowman will play his senior season while enrolled in 15 hours in order to complete his sociology curriculum by this December.  


Bowman is proud to say that he will be the first in his immediate family to earn a college degree. He also takes great pride in his commitment to helping others.  He has been a regular volunteer for hospital visitations in Lincoln, Omaha, San Antonio and Dallas.  And as he demonstrated with his personal tour to a young Husker fan, he also likes to go out of his way to do something special for others. 


Although Bowman might like to spend more time as a Memorial Stadium tour guide, summer classes and conditioning have kept his time at a premium. Blessed with NFL size, speed and potential, Bowman is spending long hours during summer conditioning rehabilitating his injury. His life experiences and his recent injuries have helped Bowman realize that he can't bank his future entirely on a professional football career. 


Bowman has secured an internship with Smith Hayes Financial. He works approximately six to eight hours per week conducting research, analyzing data and completing various office projects at Smith Hayes. 


“The internship has not only taught me a great deal about money management and investing, but especially about how to build long-term relationships while earning the trust of customers,” Bowman said.  “I could see myself in investments or also working as a youth mentor with high school kids to keep them on the right path.”


Bowman is working hard to make the 2007 season a memorable one.  In November, he plans to run out of the tunnel onto the FieldTurf at Memorial Stadium in front of 85,000 fans for the last time on Senior Day. In December, he plans to walk across the stage at the Bob Devaney Sports Center to accept his college degree with family, friends and teammates watching. Along the way, he hopes to continue to reach out and make an impact on more youngsters as a role-model for life. 


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