Cheltenham High School (CHC) Class of 1997 graduate Ben Bowman returns to his alma mater this fall as the new head coach of the varsity girls basketball team, CHS Athletic Director John Creighton announced recently.

“Cheltenham High School Athletics is excited about the return to campus of Ben Bowman as the new varsity girls basketball coach,” said Creighton. “Mr. Bowman has coached at a very successful girls program at Souderton Area High School and we believe that success will carry over to CHS. Thank you to former Coach Brendan Nolan for his years of service to the CHS Boys and Girls Basketball teams, and I wish him good luck in his future endeavors.”

Bowman has spent the past 13 years guiding various levels of the Souderton Area High School Girls Basketball program, including a 131-38 record as the junior varsity coach and a 7-0 mark during an interim head coaching stint. In his final two seasons at Souderton, the Indians qualified for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association 6A state semifinals. This past season, the team finished 29-3 and won the District I tournament before falling to the eventual state champion Upper Dublin in the state tournament semifinals.

Bringing a “flexible but consistent approach” to the Cheltenham hardwood, Bowman wants to change defenses and offenses within the game to exploit opponents’ weaknesses, adding, “We will do some run and gun but also slow things down to run offensive sets when needed.”

At Cheltenham in 1997, Bowman was an extension of the coaching staff as the starting point guard for coach and mentor Scott Eveslage when the squad qualified for the second round of the district playoffs. According to Bowman, the team’s crowning achievement that season was defeating undefeated Plymouth-Whitemarsh, the eventual District I champion.

“I think was a solid player. My hard work on and off the court earned the respect of my teammates and coaches, which helped me be a leader on the team,” said Bowman, who graduated from Rider University with a degree in communications in 2001.

A pharmaceutical researcher for Bristol-Myers Squibb for the past 15 years, Bowman will judge the team’s success on short- and long-term timelines.

“Early on, success is about creating a positive culture that the players can rally around. Understanding this is a team game and playing as one can take us far,” he said. “Once that mindset is established, I would love to add to the championship banners hanging in our gym. Our goal is a long-sustained success that will be talked about much like the teams that came before ours. We have a tremendous alumnae, wonderful parents and a supportive athletic department, which will help us to a bright future. The goal is to build a respected program on and off the court, which is the true meaning of Panther Pride.”

Practices begin on Saturday, November 17 and the season gets underway Friday, December 7 at the Owen J. Roberts Tip Off tournament