MELBOURNE — Melbourne Bearkatz head basketball coach Scott Bowlin has been a teacher of basketball for 38 years. From starting out at Knobel High School that had a total of 138 kids from kindergarten through the 12th grade, to coaching at the largest school in Arkansas, Springdale Har-Ber, Bowlin has been successful.

In 2007 and in 2009, he coached Greene County Tech to the boy’s state championships. His impressive resume includes coaching at Clay County Central (Rector), Gibson County, Tennessee and at Caruthersville, Missouri.

“I left Springdale Har-Ber three years ago to come to Melbourne,” Bowlin said. “I am from this area, raised in Sharp County. My dad (Jim Bowlin) was the head coach at Highland (1966-1975), so my formative years were up here in the hills. Both my parents are still here and still healthy, so it was time to get close, but not too close. We enjoy Melbourne. It has been a very good place for us to live.”

Basketball has been Bowlin’s life and coaching has been his livelihood.

“One thing I really love is being able to make a difference in a kid’s life,” he said. “We give him the building blocks of what it takes to be a good husband, someone who is productive everyday and understands there is going to be pitfalls. All that being said and done, you keep moving forward. This is probably my selfish part, but I am a very competitive person and I enjoy seeing kids get better. I think sometimes how long I am going to do this, but as long as my health stays good and I feel like I am making a difference in these people’s lives, I will continue to do it.”

Bowlin came to Melbourne knowing of the Bearkatz tradition in basketball.

“The boy’s have some tradition in basketball and obviously our girls did outstanding,” he said. “The last few years has been a great opportunity to be closer to my parents and to come back to where I was raised. I knew this team had suffered and struggled for a while, but I always enjoy a challenge and I have always been a builder of programs. I have never just walked in and it be there.

“That goes back to that challenge deal,” Bowlin continued. “I like to see things change and get better. We have been very fortunate and won the conference championship two years in a row. We made the quarterfinals last year of the state tournament and I think we have a really good group of guys coming back. Hopefully, we can continue to get better and maybe make another run at the state tournament in March.”

The 2021-22 Bearkatz are Grant Wren, Hilton Wyatt, Kyler Caraway, Bradley George, Garron Miller, Roby Cooper, Caden Griffin, Wyatt Wilkerson, Bradie Gunther, Jason Sanders, Robert Langston and Keyan Hennings.

“We have Brady Gunther, an all-conference player,” Bowlin said. “Jason Sanders, who is very athletic and we have Caden Griffin from Batesville High, who is an outstanding athlete. He is a scorer and he definitely can create a lot of things for us. Other people, I moved up a freshman for only the second time in my career. Grant Wren, he is 6-3 and 260 pounds. He has good hands and can run the floor and there is Roby Cooper, who decided to play this year.

“As far as 2A through 5A, we have athletes that normally 2A school’s don’t have,” he added. “We have five or six or seven. We don’t know how deep we are yet and e have a young team. There will be ones who will start and ones who will get minutes off the bench. We are going to have some growing pains early, but hopefully we get our shot. I don’t want us to peak in January, that’s when we need to start climbing the mountain. It is a long season and there are a lot of games.”

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