LORMAN, Miss. – The Alcorn State University department of athletics was saddened to announce the passing of legendary head baseball and assistant football coach Willie E. “Rat” McGowan. He passed away on Tuesday.
McGowan amassed a career head coaching record of 720-663-7 in baseball. He has more wins than any coach in the history of Alcorn Athletics.
The McComb, Mississippi native coached the baseball team for 38 seasons from 1972-2009 and was the longest-tenured coach in the SWAC. He won five regular-season titles, including the SWAC East Division in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1988 and 2002.
McGowan coached Alcorn to 14 20-win seasons. He won 29 games in each of his final two years in 2008 and 2009, which remain the most in school history for a single-season.
On Sept. 4, 2010, Alcorn’s home baseball stadium was named after him and still stands as William “Bill” Foster Baseball Field at Willie E. “Rat” McGowan Stadium. Plaques commemorating the dedications were added on May 6, 2011.
In addition to his head coaching duties, McGowan played a vital role within the athletic department and also won championships as an assistant coach with the football program. He worked with Alcorn’s defensive backs and defensive linemen.
Prior to coaching, McGowan was a two-sport student-athlete at Alcorn from 1957-60 and lettered in baseball and football. He was named Team Captain and Team MVP of the football team in 1959 under head coach E.E. Simmons. Upon graduation, McGowan spent eight years teaching in high schools before returning to become an instructor at Alcorn in 1968.
McGowan was inducted into the Alcorn A-Club Hall of Fame in 1998 and received a proclamation from the State of Mississippi in 2005. In 2005, he also received the Tom Joyner Award and the ASU Humanitarian Award.
Courtesy: ASU Athletics
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