Bernard Bowman is not a physical education teacher. Not that there's anything wrong with being one.
He runs the science department at Glenn Hills. He teaches biology.
Bowman tries to keep in perspective the reason student-athletes are not called athlete-students. An education is priority No. 1.
"It's very important that students see coaches teaching. It's nice when they can see them teaching math, science, social studies," Bowman said. "There's a lot more to coaching than just physical education."
That being said, he's a pretty fair coach, too.
Bowman is the Augusta Chronicle Georgia All-Area Girls Coach of the Year after he led his young squad on a state playoff run.
Bowman guided the Lady Spartans to a 22-9 record and an appearance in the state semifinals, nearly equaling the state title his squad won in 2002. They defeated Class AAA powerhouse Hephzibah to win the Region 3-AAA title.
At the start of the season, it was slow going for a team playing two seniors, a junior and two sophomores.
"This was a young team, but they really came together and played hard," said Bowman, who completed his 10th season as Glenn Hills' coach.
"It took some progression after Christmas to get some continuity. We started coming together in January.
"From that point on, they just started believing in themselves."
For Bowman, the motivation to start coaching came out of his desire to help young people.
"I've tried to show them how to use basketball as a tool to help them live their lives," said Bowman, who added that his motivation hasn't changed over the years.
"It's just about trying to get them to understand how life is. That you must work every day and give it your all. They understand if they believe in themselves, they can achieve something."
With both Glenn Hills squads making the state Final Four, Bowman said the rare feat brought the school closer together.
"It was really exciting for our school to see the alumni from years past get behind us," Bowman said.
His players appreciate his effort on the court and in the classroom.
Senior Ciara Lyons said classmates thought she would be given an easier time.
Instead, it was exactly the opposite.
"It's crazy. A lot of people thought that I would get special privilege, but he probably was harder on me because he expected a lot from me," Lyons said.
"I learned a lot from him. He really talked about the mental things, being prepared. I learned that I have to be prepared and keep my mind focused at all times."
Reach Justin Williams at (706) 823-3304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.