The phone line went quiet for a minute as an assistant went to look for Clark Atlanta University head football coach Tim Bowens for his 2 p.m. interview appointment with this reporter. It can be understood that the first-year head coach has his hands full with the Panthers season opener fast approaching.

Clark Atlanta will host Livingstone College on Sept. 7 under the lights at CAU Panther Stadium and Bowens and his staff are busy readying the troops. When the coach finally got on the line he was quick to establish the “we” in the Panthers coaching room, locker rooms and in the program overall.

“Some of the things we wanted to bring to this program are vision and direction,” said Bowen, a Florence, Alabama native, a husband, and a father of five. “We wanted to make an impact wherever we go and be productive and effective wherever we go.”

Bowens explained a steady stream of “we’s” that permeated our half-hour-long Monday afternoon interview.

“We want to build the people, be the example, talk it, speak it,” said Bowens, who also explained that his entire staff is to be represented as one, hence the “we.”

He described his work as a head football coach as “not a job, but an assignment.”

Asked if Panthers were ready for their first Morehouse rivalry game, Bowens, who has worked as a college assistant for over a decade and as a high school head coach in Alabama, said, “We can’t think about Morehouse right now because we have

Livingstone coming up. Before we can think about any opponent we have to make sure we are not our own opponent.”

Bowens spent time as the receivers coach at the University of Alabama from 1996-99 and, most recently as the assistant in charge of running backs last season at Georgia State University; so he knows a thing or two about preparation.

He also understands what a gift coaching in the AUC can be in regards to recruiting. The Panthers will have a new face at quarterback this season, both being transfers.

“Preparation is vital and I feel like we are almost there,” Bowens said. “We still need these next couple of days of preparation. We are getting close, we’re still learning, trying to get on the same page.”

The combined experience of the Panthers offensive line is another thing on Bowen’s mind.

“We’re young up front,” he said. “It’s hard to say that we are ready for Livingstone today.”

It’s a good thing the Panthers don’t have to worry about that at the moment. Instead, Bowens and crew have been acclimating themselves to one another and, when time permits, to their fellow CAU student body members.

A few weeks ago, the football team assisted students with move-in day. Bowens said he hopes that the favor will be returned on opening night.

“Hopefully, there’s some excitement, we want to do something special here and it starts by taking care of our place first,” Bowens said. “To me, you have to win at home first.”

The program is taking shape and Saturday night in the AUC against Livingstone will be the debut of the Tim Bowens era, otherwise known as the “era of we.”

(Photo: Courtesy of Clark Atlanta University)

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...

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