Ed Bowman enjoyed a 25-year sports broadcasting career in Tacoma, calling action ranging from Cammarano Brothers-Double Cola Little League Caravan baseball (featuring future major leaguer Ron Cey), all the way through high school, college and professional sports.
Bowman’s broadcasting career got its start in 1955while he was a student at College of Puget Sound. “Clay Huntington gave me the opportunity to do radio play-by-play of six or seven games at the Washington State High School Class B Basketball Tournament at the College of Puget Sound Fieldhouse,” Bowman recalls. For the next 25 years until he moved out of the Puget Sound area, Bowman did radio and television broadcasts of hundreds of sports at all levels.
Bowman worked with long-time Tacoma Cubs play-by-play man Don Hill on the broadcasts of the team’s run to the 1969 Pacific Coast League championship. The Cubs defeated the Eugene Emeralds three games to two in a five-game series. “We had to win the final two games of the series in Eugene for the championship,” recalls Bowman, who for three years handled public address and public relations duties for the Cubs, in addition to writing game stories for Associated Press and United Press International.
When Hill took a group of Tigers boosters to Honolulu for games against the Hawaii Islanders, Bowman slid into Hill’s chair doing local re-creations of those games based off of wire reports. “I remember signing off the air at 2 or 3 a.m. on those re-created live broadcasts from Honolulu,” Bowman says.
The Islanders’ play-by-play man at the time was Al Michaels, who would go on to a long and distinguished career as a national sports broadcaster. When Michaels came with the Islanders to Tacoma, he provided Bowman with “one of my most interesting interviews. He was a real nice guy.”
Another broadcasting highlight for Bowman came at the 1976 NCAA Division II basketball championship tournament, where the University of Puget Sound defeated Tennessee-Chattanooga, 83-74, in the national title contest. Bowman worked alongside Doug McArthur calling the action as the Loggers topped Old Dominion in the semifinals before beating Chattanooga in the championship game.
The national basketball tournament action was just a small part of a broadcasting partnership shared by Bowman and McArthur. The duo worked together on many radio and television broadcasts of college and high school football, baseball and basketball games, along with some swim meets.
Once, when McArthur became ill and couldn’t travel to Bellingham for a collegiate football contest between Puget Sound and Western Washington, Bowman pulled an unusual broadcasting doubleheader. He did the television broadcast opening and closing from the stadium roof, with a radio play-by-play sandwiched between. Following the game he took the television game tape back to KTNT Channel 11 and, while seated in front of a monitor, did the play-by-play for the 9 p.m. telecast.
Among the broadcasting luminaries with whom Bowman had the privilege to work were Huntington, McArthur, Hill, Bob Robertson, Walt Brown, Rod Belcher, Jerry Howarth, Art Popham, and Bill Doan.
While all of those men earned great reputations as this region’s best sports broadcasters, one of Bowman’s partners for a college football game had national renown – as a Hollywood star. While handling Puget Sound football play-by-play, Bowman welcomed actor James Garner, seated in front of him, into the Baker Stadium broadcast booth as a color commentator. Bowman had met Garner at a University of Puget Sound college night in Los Angeles while recruiting Garner’s daughter, Greta, to matriculate to UPS. Garner attended the game while visiting his daughter, and soon he joined Bowman in the booth.
Bowman’s broadcast career ended in 1980 when he and wife, Kathy, moved to the San Francisco Bay area where he became an executive in international transportation, trade development and marketing.