Kent State dismisses football strength coach for lack of proper certification

Henry Palattella

Kent State fired Ross Bowsher, the strength coach who oversaw the football practice on June 13 where incoming freshman lineman Tyler Heintz died. 

According to a press release sent by the university Monday, it conducted an internal review, which showed the workouts were “in accordance with national protocols,” but discovered Bowsher provided false information about his certification.

Bowsher not being certified would be a violation of NCAA bylaw 11.5, which states that a strength coach “must maintain current certification through a nationally accredited strength and conditioning certification program.”

Eric Mansfield, a spokesperson of the university, released the following statement:

“The safety and well-being of our student-athletes is paramount at Kent State University, and we have continued to assess and review all policies and circumstances relative to the June 13 summer football workout that occurred prior to the death of Tyler Heintz. We continue to mourn the loss of Tyler, and the Kent State family is focused on joining with the Heintz family in honoring his memory in our thoughts and actions.”

Heintz died on June 13 following a conditioning practice for the football team. The preliminary autopsy showed Heintz had an elevated body temperature, and the initial cause of death was ruled as hyperthermia.

Bowsher was in his second year of coaching at Kent State, after previously being at Arkansas Tech University and Purdue University. 

Bowsher lacked an SCCC certification, which stands for “Strength & Conditioning Coach Certified.” On August 1, 2015 the NCAA required that all full-time Division 1 strength and conditioning coaches had to be certified by an accredited certification. 

The Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coaches association has a list on their website of all coaches with the proper certification, which anyone can view. 

“All athletic administrators are strongly encouraged to check this directory when evaluating a potential strength and conditioning hire as it is extremely important to have appropriately credentials individuals on an institution’s strength and conditioning coaching staff,” CSCCa Exectuive director Chuck Stiggins said in an email Tuesday.

CBS Sports had previously released a report which said Kent State could not produce a proper form of certification for Bowsher.

Henry Palattella is the sports editor, contact him at [email protected]