Staff report

Coach Richard Bowers Court

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County started providing services to Arcadia’s youth at the Louis and Gloria Flanzer Boys & Girls Club in July 2018. The city of Arcadia transferred the lease of the Smith-Brown Recreation Center that sits adjacent to the existing service location to our organization earlier this year. With unanimous support from the city of Arcadia council, our organization will transform the structure into a multi-purpose gymnasium for youth with designated space for physical activities, project-based learning and enrichment programs that further fosters positive youth development. The facility will become a valuable community asset, and be available for public use outside of the club’s operating hours. The renovation will include tributes to the Smith-Brown’s significant impact on the community, as well as local trailblazers like Coach Richard Bowers Jr.

In honor of Coach Bowers dedicating his lifelong career to empowering Arcadia’s youth as an educator and coach, the organization will name the gymnasium’s floor the “Coach Richard Bowers Court.”

You can help our organization celebrate Richard Bowers’s legacy at the newly renovated Louis and Gloria Flanzer Boys & Girls Club by making a gift to support the Coach Richard Bowers Court.

About Richard Bowers:

Richard Bowers Jr. devoted his 43-year career in education to empowering children and teens across DeSoto County to reach their full potential. From 1956 to 1998, Bowers worked tirelessly as a teacher, coach and Dean of Students to connect students and athletes to opportunities that helped them chart a path toward a successful future.

Bowers is the son of Richard Sr. and Florence Bowers and was born and raised alongside three siblings in Mt. Dora, Florida. His family was very involved with the local church, and he attributes much of his strong work ethic from being responsible for bell services during worship throughout his childhood years. Outside of church, Bowers was always helping his father complete household tasks and earning extra income for the family by picking oranges.

After high school graduation, Bowers attended Florida A&M University and played football under legendary Coach Jake Gaither. Bowers played in the 1953 and 1954 championship games and helped the Rattlers secure both national titles.

In 1956, Bowers graduated from Florida A&M University, relocated to Arcadia, Florida, and began his career as an educator and coach at the Smith-Brown School. That same year, he was deployed to serve in the military. He returned to Arcadia in 1958, and became the head basketball coach for Trojans at Smith-Brown School. He coached the team for over a decade before the school closed after desegregating in 1970. He continued his teaching and coaching career at DeSoto High School.

Although Bowers retired in 1998, the impact of his work is still apparent across the community. Bowers is noted for being a trailblazer in Arcadia and beyond who played an instrumental role in thousands of children’s lives. He continued to make a difference in the community throughout the first eight years of his retirement as a mentor and tutor for the DeSoto County Education Foundation. Then in 2014 Bowers co-founded and chaired the Smith-Brown Community Foundation with a goal to restore the Smith-Brown Recreation Center. Bowers and other prominent community members raised funds locally and at the state level to renovate Phase 1 of the initiative. The success of this initiative led to the opening of the Louis and Gloria Flanzer Boys & Girls Club.

Courtesy Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County

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