By Blaze Fugina, Community Editor
After having only two wins in the past four years, the Mound Westonka Football Team will look to finish on a more positive note next season with their recently hired new head coach.
Barry Bower, whose resume includes a 61-36 overall record as a head football coach over eight seasons and multiple state tournament experiences, said that he understands next year could be a rebuilding year for the White Hawks.
"I’m excited to see what type of kids we have here," he said, adding that he will be happy with any type of progress for the team next year. "I am going in with my eyes wide open."
The MWHS football team, which went 1-8 last year with a win at Henry/West Metro, will retain a good portion of its team after graduating only 11 seniors. Bower said that when he arrives in July, he will immediately begin searching for a coaching staff and planning for the fall season.
"I plan to dive right in with the passing league," he said. "First of all, it must be about the kids. You never know what’s going to happen. As long as you teach the kids, the playing is going to take care of itself."
In order to improve the record for the 2012 White Hawk Football Team, Bower said that the attitude of the players is the most important factor. Bower said that often, when he has taken over a struggling program in the past, he is asked whether it will be a rebuilding year or if they will win games. Bower said his answer always is that it is impossible to predict headed into the season, and it depends on what his players will believe about themselves.
"If the kids buy in, they will play their hearts out and we will see success," he said.
Besides coaching the White Hawks football team, Bower will be also be taking over as the new Recreation/Facility Use Coordinator beginning July 1. This position was left vacant by Joel Dahl, who was named the new Director of Community Education and Services for the Westonka Public School District.
"I am thrilled to death to be a part of the Mound Westonka family," said Bower. "I know my kids and wife are ecstatic."
Dion Koltes, the Activities Director for the district, said that he is hopeful that the past experience and success Bower has experienced will transition into the White Hawks football program.
"We’re very excited to have coach Bower on board as our new head football coach," said Koltes. "We look forward to him bringing his energy, passion, and past experience and success to our Mound Westonka football program."
Bower said that when he and his family moves to Minnesota from his current location in Mohave Valley, Ariz., they will be living in nearby Plymouth.
The Bower family includes Barry, his wife Bobbi Bower, his 11 year-old son Isaac, his 8 year-old son Taylor and his 6 year-old daughter Breeana. Bower said that he expects to open enroll his children into the Westonka Public School District.
A native of Iowa, Bower said that he is excited to move back to Midwest.
"This was the perfect opportunity to get back to the Midwest," he said. "There always is a feeling I’ve had about Minnesota. It is a beautiful state."
Bower met is wife, Bobbi, while he was in Iowa. He attended Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa between 1994 and 1999 for his bachelor’s degree in elementary education. He also went to Drake University between 2002 and 2004 in Des Moines, Iowa for his master’s degree.
While at Morningside College, Bower played Division II football at the corner back and safety positions.
Bower moved to Arizona because his wife, who at the time was his fianc