Section Identifier



John McGowan

Professor Emeritus

Hurl Education Center, 307

After graduate school, I began teaching for 5 years at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School in New Jersey. I taught Physical Education and coached a number of sports including Swimming & Diving, Track & Field, Soccer and Softball. I came to Bethany in 1980 as a Physical Education Instructor and the head coach of the Swimming & Diving team and the Track & Field team.

During my 40 years at Bethany, I have taught courses in physical education, exercise science, education, aquatics, adapted physical education and athletic administration. In 1982, I added Cross Country to my Swimming & Diving and Track & Field coaching duties. I continued coaching all three sports until being asked to coach the first varsity Women’s Soccer Team in 1986, which replaced Cross Country and Track & Field. I continued as the Soccer coach until I returned to Cross Country in 1990 and continued in that role until 2005 with the exception of 1992 when I took over the Track team for the spring of 1993. In 2011 two Physical Education professors left Bethany and I took over some of their classes/duties and, as a result, had to give up coaching Swimming & Diving after 30 years.

When I entered college my intent was to become a Mathematics teacher and a coach. After coaching summer swimming teams, life guarding and teaching swimming for three summers, I realized that my passion was really in the physical education field. I completed my degree in Mathematics and then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Physical Education.

M.S., Springfield College (1979)
B.S., Manhattan College (1972)
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pa. (8 credits in Aquatics)
University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo. (2 credits in Aquatics)

Areas of Passion & Research
My area of passion lies in coaching young athletes. In addition to coaching on the college level, I have coached multiple age-group, youth, and high school teams and Special Olympians. I thoroughly enjoy working with them as they learn the techniques of their sport. Nothing compares to the feeling of watching young athletes do something that they didn’t think they could do.

Personal interests
I enjoy spending time with my children and grandchildren. I like running, swimming, cycling, triathlons, orienteering and volunteering as a coach.

Favorite Quote, Book, or Movie … Why?
“In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these two means, man can attain perfection.”  Plato (The name given to Aristocles by his wrestling coach, Ariston of Argos  meaning wide, broad, broad-shouldered.)

This is the best description of how learning and moving are interwoven and why physical education is so important.

Fun facts
I attended an elementary school without a gym and then in high school athletes were excused from physical education to reduce the size of the large physical education classes. As a result, I never really had any physical education classes until I became a Physical Education major and then I spent 45 years teaching physical education.

Volunteer Work
I volunteer as a Swimming Coach for Weir High School and the Martins Ferry Aquatic Club. I have also volunteered as the Brooke County American Red Cross Aquatic Chairman and the West Virginia State Representative to the AAHPERD Aquatic Council.