|Title:||Director of Intercollegiate Athletics|
|Years at VC:||9th Year|
|Bachelor's Degree:||B.S. UC Santa Barbara, 2000|
|Master's Degree:||M.Ed., Azusa Pacific University, 2002|
In January of 2009, Ventura College president Dr. Robin Calote announced Will Cowen as the new Director of Intercollegiate Athletics for the Pirates. Later that spring he added the title of Head Men's Basketball Coach, directing the Pirates for two years on the hardwoods. Cowen's return to his hometown has seen a resurgence of Pirate Athletics in all sports at both the conference and state level.
Cowen first arrived at Ventura College assisting the football and men's basketball teams from 2005 to 2008. During his tenure with the men's basketball (assistant coach, 2008-09; head coach 2009-2011), the team finished with the best record in the Western State Conference twice, recorded 10 victories over ranked opponents in California, and eleven sophomores continued their basketball careers at the next level. Most notably, in 2011 James Ennis graduated from Ventura College, transferred to Long Beach State and is currently playing for the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies. Most recently from 2015-2017, he was able to help the pirates win back-to-back conference championships in men’s basketball.
Prior to his arrival at Ventura College, Cowen worked at Pacifica High School in Oxnard, CA in various capacities from its inception in 2001-2008: head football coach, head girls' basketball coach, and athletic director. Cowen began coaching at his alma mater Ventura High School, coaching football, basketball and baseball from 1995-2000. Cowen returned briefly in 2004 as an assistant girls' basketball coach, helping the cougars defeat Long Beach Poly in route to a CIF Division 1 state final four appearance.
As Athletic Director, Will Cowen immediately initiated a five-year budget reorganization plan within the department. Each of the 19 intercollegiate programs has received new uniforms and a complete overhaul of all equipment in that span. Through the pooling of resources, the department has fulfilled over 95% of the requests made for six consecutive fiscal years.
Additionally, Cowen worked extensively as Interim Dean to renovate and upgrade all athletic facilities. Most recently the Ventura College Sportsplex has become the premier outdoor venue in Ventura County. The playing surface was redesigned and replaced, a Steeple Chase pit was installed, wireless interned enhancements were installed and the bleacher backdrops were added to honor our heritage. The VC Sportsplex hosted the 2016 CCCAA Soccer Championships and the event will return in 2018. The VC Athletic Event Center has also been awarded the CCCAA Basketball Championships for 2018 and 2019.
Cowen is active in the participatory governance process on campus, serving on the following committees: campus planning committee, budget resource committee, student success committee, and in an advisory capacity to the academic senate. In 2016, the department was able to successfully hire full time head coaches in women’s water polo, women’s swimming, women’s tennis and men’s tennis.
In 2010, Cowen led the re-construction of the Ventura College Athletic Hall of Fame. Along with the guidance of Ric Ruffinelli and Mike Morostica the annual event returned to the Crowne Plaza Hotel with a new commitment to bridge VC Athletics' storied past with the current student athletes and coaches. On May 16, 2010 the Crowne Plaza ball room was sold out for the induction ceremony and dinner, honoring new Hall of Fame inductees and 35 current student athletes from all 19 sports. This tradition has continued since on an annual basis each May.
Since 2008, Ventura College Athletics have been honored extensively at the local, state and national levels. On five occasions VC Athletics finished the year ranked in the top ten for community colleges in the NATYCA Cup standings (National Two Year College Association). On 17 occasions Ventura College has received recognition as a state scholar team by the CCCAA Awards Committee, and has had 33 teams recognized since the inception of the awards in 1996 (best in the state). In 2016-2017 the average GPA of a Ventura College student-athlete rose to 3.12; with 14/19 teams above the 3.0 mark. The women’s basketball program was honored with their 13th WBCA Academic Honor Roll award, and VC Football led the SCFA with 15 scholar athletes.
During Cowen's tenure the College has amassed five state championships and 64 conference championships since 2008-2009. In 2017 three VC Baseball alumni were chose in the Major League Baseball draft. The men’s golf program placed third in the CCCAA tournament, led by Joey Herrera claiming the runner-up medal. In the spring of 2016 Ventura College competed in women’s beach volleyball for the first time as a CCCAA sanctioned sport and in 2017 the program won its first conference championship.
Since 2009 over 71% of the sophomore student athletes at Ventura College have transferred and over 8 million dollars in annual scholarships have been earned. In 2017, 130 student-athletes transferred to four-year universities.
Cowen has made it a priority to actively represent the college in the community. He serves on the Ventura Sports Committee under the Charter of the Ventura Visitors and Convention Bureau. The committee allows the college to work closely with the VCLA, DVP, Ventura County Fairgrounds, Parks and Recreation on all community events related to athletics. This unique relationship has allowed the college to participate and contribute to significant economic impact studies that enable the city of Ventura to grow and become a national destination to host events. In addition, Cowen has served on the advisory board for athletics at Foothill Technology High School and as a consultant for Florida State and Texas Christian University basketball. The Ventura College Athletic Facilities are now being rented and utilized for national level events such as: robotics, gymnastics, softball, professional soccer and Triple Crown World Series, Olympic Development programs.
In addition to his duties on campus and in the community, Will Cowen is very active at the state level. Most recently he was elected by his peers to the executive board of the CCCADA (the professional organization representing athletic administrators in California) to a five year term where he is currently the president of the organization. Cowen is also the outgoing president of the Western State Conference and most recently appointed to NATYCAA/NACDA Executive Board.
Ventura College is now the permanent host of the CCCAA Tennis Championships, hosted by the Ojai and Cowen serves as the event director and liaison between the CCCAA and the Ojai Board of Directors as a member of the management council.
Cowen earned his BA from UC Santa Barbara in 2000 and his MA from Azusa Pacific University in 2002.