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Buccaneers Coach Todd Bowles Earns Bachelor’s Degree from Mount St. Mary’s University

Donna Klinger

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach Todd Bowles

Thirty-seven years after he left college to pursue a professional football career, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Todd Bowles has earned a bachelor’s degree. Last week, he completed the requirements for a bachelor of science in youth and community development from Mount St. Mary’s University, a small Catholic liberal arts university with a 214-year history located in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Bowles began his untraditional adult educational journey in the summer of 2020 prior to the Buccaneers’ eventual Super Bowl championship season at the suggestion of Anthony Agnone, his longtime agent and 1975 Mount St. Mary’s alumnus. Agnone recommended that he reach out to the Mount about completing his degree through the university’s Center for Accelerated and Adult Education, which is highly experienced in adult learning and academic programming in nontraditional settings. Working with Associate Provost David McCarthy, Bowles designed an interdisciplinary degree in youth and community development that will serve him well, especially in his community work.

“Completing my degree was something I had always wanted to do over the years because it was something I had promised my mother when I went to play in the NFL, and I wanted to follow through on that promise,” said Bowles. “Over the years, as I became a father, it became something I wanted to do in order to set a proper example for my sons as they continue on their educational paths. I have also worked pretty extensively with children through my various community projects, and I felt it was important to show them they can achieve whatever they set their mind to.” 

bowles-1-2-in-text.jpgBowles’ professors describe him as a pleasure to teach and work with, noting that he was consistently engaged, responsive and hard working. “Todd’s success in football, both on the field as a player and on the sidelines as a coach, is not at all surprising given his work ethic and attention to detail. These same traits were evident in his assignments,” said Director and Associate Professor of Human Services Timothy Wolfe, Ph.D.

Bowles shared similar praise about his experience with the faculty and staff during his time in the program.

“I am extremely appreciative of the faculty and the administration at Mount St. Mary’s for helping me navigate through what seemed like a daunting task when I started this journey,” said Bowles. “When I had questions, or needed some guidance along the way, I always felt supported and that played a large role in my ability to successfully complete the program.”   

McCarthy, professor for the required course “Ethics and the Human Good,” shared that in addition to completing assignments about the teachings of Plato and Aristotle, Bowles developed and presented his philosophy of coaching as well as strategies, struggles and barriers in developing a team and individuals for the good – in both a football and human sense. “We would laugh often about how well his years of coaching have brought him to the same place as classics in moral philosophy,” McCarthy said.

“A successful NFL coach obviously doesn’t need to put in the extra work required to complete a bachelor’s degree, but Todd is clearly the kind of person to keep his promises and finish what he starts,” Wolfe added.

Although Bowles completed his studies online, he has been generous in sharing advice with Mount St. Mary’s sport management students and middle schoolers in the university’s summer College Experience Camp. He served as a guest lecturer in a Spring 2021 class of Associate Professor of Sport Management Corinne Farneti, Ph.D. This summer he shared stories and messages about overcoming adversity with middle schoolers from Baltimore attending the College Experience Camp.

“If we could mold someone directly from our mission statement, Todd would be it—from giving back to the community, grit, and strong leadership—he’s it,” Farneti said.

Bowles plans to attend the university’s commencement exercises in May 2023. Ironically, while Mount St. Mary’s has 24 NCAA Division I teams, most of which compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the university does not have a football team.

Donna Klinger