August 18th, 2017

Remembering Trinity coach Joe Fowler

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Conor Revell

Staff Writer

Remembering Trinity coach Joe Fowler
Joe Fowler / photo from Trinity

If you ever roamed the halls of Trinity during the 1970s or later, chances are you knew Joe “Coach” Fowler.

Fowler died Tuesday night following complications from a recent medical procedure. He had battled circulation problems in his leg in recent years.

Coach Fowler was a true Trinity legend. A man the Louisville community will miss. And when I say community – everybody that’s involved at Trinity to former opponents he coached against and others who knew him because that’s the type of guy he was.

“Rest in peace Joe,” longtime St. Xavier head football coach Mike Glaser said on Twitter. “Respected by rivals and friends. I am proud to share the title of COACH with you.”

Fowler coached many sports – baseball, football, bowling, and bass fishing– and taught math and economic classes.

“I had great baseball battles with Joe,” Jefferson County Public School Director of Athletics Jerry Wyman said on Twitter. “What a great guy. Sad news.”

Older generations knew Coach Fowler as a baseball and football coach. Younger generations knew him as a bass fishing and bowling coach.

He was a beloved member of the Trinity community. I personally had him for homeroom and Introduction to Technology as a freshman.

I have fond memories of his class. One of my buddies texted me shortly after the news was released about his death and reminded me how we would get him off topic to discuss bowling, fishing, life or any other type of sports rather than work on schoolwork. Oh, and who can forget his jokes.

It didn’t matter whether you were an athlete or not. Coach treated everybody fairly. My locker was right outside of his classroom on the third floor of Floersh Hall my freshman and sophomore year and I often stopped to badger him about Trinity or collegiate sports after school. There were few days I didn’t stop and chat with him even though I didn’t have a class with him my sophomore, junior, or senior year.

Sure lots of teachers loved to banter or small talk about life before or after school like Coach. But something stood out about Coach and that was because he has been a member of the Trinity community for 50 years.

Fowler entered Trinity as a freshman in 1967 and graduated in 1971. Fowler then played baseball at Bellarmine before returning to his Alma Matter to teach and was the head baseball coach for many years and assisted with the football team in the fall.

During his later years, Coach Fowler was heavily involved with the bowling and bass fishing teams. In 2002, Trinity fielded its first ever bowling team and won four state championships (03,04,08,&09) before it became a KHSAA sport in 2012. The Shamrocks made it to the state tournament every year but once with Fowler at the helm.

Current and first year Trinity head bowling coach John McCarthy III played under Fowler from 2003-07 and assisted with him this past year. The plan was for Fowler to help McCarthy coach during his first season as the head guy.

“The one thing that made Joe stand out was his approach to bowling,” McCarthy said. “Joe always preached to his teams even before we were a KHSAA sport that bowling should be treated as a first class sport. This belief pushed is players and made Trinity one of the top bowling programs in the state. He expected a lot but he gave even more.”

That approach may have helped pursue the KHSAA to start sanctioning the sport in 2012.

Fowler was also an organizer and planner of the Shamrocks Bass Fishing Classic which brought the Trinity community together for a big fishing tournament.

But Coach was more than just a baseball, bowling, fishing, and football guy. Ever since I have been with LCSN, I chatted with Coach at numerous basketball and other sporting events. He supported all the sports, not just his sports.

RIP Coach, you will be missed by not just the Trinity and bowling community, but everybody in Louisville.

Visitation will be at Arch L. Heady Westport Village, 7410 Westport Road, on Friday, Aug. 18 from 1 – 8 p.m. The funeral service to celebrate his life will take place at the funeral home on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 12 p.m. 


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