Head Football Coach
2011 - Present
Bruce Fowler was named Furman University’s new head football coach on Dec. 13, 2010.
Fowler, a Cincinnati, Ohio, native who served as an assistant coach on the Paladin staff for 16 years before spending the last nine seasons in the capacities of defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Vanderbilt University, becomes the 22nd head coach in the history of Furman football, which dates from 1889. He succeeds Bobby Lamb, who resigned his head coaching duties at the end of the recently completed 2010 football campaign.
While at Vanderbilt, Fowler directed defenses that laid the groundwork for success the program had not enjoyed in a quarter century. In 2008 Vanderbilt, aided by a Commodore defense that ranked 15th nationally in pass defense, 21st in scoring defense, and 30th in total defense, opened the campaign with a five-game winning streak, including a September victory over South Carolina and a 14-13 thriller over Auburn with ESPN’s popular College GameDay show broadcasting from the Nashville campus. After the Auburn win, the Commodores were ranked No. 13 by the Associated Press, its highest ranking in more than 50 years. Vanderbilt went on to post its first winning season since 1982, and only its the fourth winning season since 1959, by going 7-6 and recording a 16-14 triumph over Boston College in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl. It marked the first bowl victory by a Commodore squad since the 1955 Gator Bowl.
He began his collegiate coaching career in 1984 as a graduate assistant under Dick Sheridan and was on staff in the same capacity the following year when Furman went 12-2, defeated N.C. State (42-20) for a second consecutive season, won the SoCon championship, and finished as national runner-up.
Fowler earned all-conference honors as a defensive back at Cincinnati’s Mariemont High School before joining the Paladin program as a walk-on in 1977 under Art Baker. He lettered two years as a cornerback and was a member of Furman’s first SoCon championship team in 1978 coached by Dick Sheridan. He started as a junior, racking up 35 tackles and a team leading three interceptions, and as a senior in 1980 helped Furman notch its second league crown.
He graduated in 1981 with a degree in physical education and began his coaching career as an assistant at nearby Wren (S.C.) High School, remaining there for three years before returning to Furman in 1984 as a graduate assistant. He later earned an M.A. in education from Furman.
Fowler and his wife, Lindy, a native of Ocala, Fla., and 1983 Furman graduate, have a son, Jake, 16, and a daughter, Maddie, 14.