Chad Bowden | To the point | Background Pt. I


They must have looked crazy back then.

Damn they thought they were crazy then.

But looking back, that explains a lot.

“We were both also psychopaths and we kind of pushed the psychopath into each other, if that makes sense,” Jac Collinsworth says of the time he and Chad Bowden spent living together in Hollywood, California in their late and early teens. -20s.

“It got to a point where we would be racing at 5 a.m. to get to LA Fitness. Then on the way back the sun was coming up and we were sprinting up the hill because Chad didn’t want me to beat him up the hill on the way back to the apartment.

And whether their bosses knew it or not, they would then rush them to work, trying to be the first to turn on the lights – Collinsworth in a production agency and Bowden in a call center selling Google Ads.

“Chad’s dad would be in our ear, my dad would be in my ear, so we’d be the last to go,” Collinsworth recalled. “We would come home at 9:30 at night and have dinner together, whatever we could get out of the fridge.”

The sons of famed broadcaster Cris Collinsworth and longtime MLB executive Jim Bowden certainly didn’t live the glamorous, glamorous lifestyle of Hollywood as the children of hugely successful parents.

“(Chad) was really hustled over there in LA, living paycheck to paycheck paying his bills, paying his rent at the apartment, which wasn’t really an apartment, I have to say,” said Collinsworth. “I mean, it was a sofa bed, it was a bed, and it was a tiny little kitchen. It all managed to fit in one room and that’s where we lived.

“That was kind of what summer was like. But I think we both toughened each other up through that process and that’s why we’ve been close friends until today.

Bowden thinks their parents were trying to teach them a lesson.

“Obviously they could afford to put us in a house if they wanted to, but I think they were trying to teach us to be humble and to overcome that,” Bowden says.


Even younger versions of Chad Bowden and Jac Collinsworth

You don’t have to tell Bowden he was lucky enough to grow up with a silver spoon. Damn, this spoon was golden, according to him.

But he didn’t end up with one of the first jobs in his profession at the age of 28 because he was given things. In fact, quite the opposite.

He was able to rise through the industry ranks — leading recruiting at Cincinnati before eventually being named Notre Dame’s recruiting director this offseason — precisely because he wasn’t given those things.

“A lot of people think that when you grow up with a golden spoon in your mouth, you don’t learn the values ​​of hard work,” Bowden says.

“I still have to repay student loans. What, because I grew up in a family that has money, people think that means they should pay for my stuff? No, my dad wanted me to pay my student loans because he had to pay his student loans.

“My parents never wanted me to feel like I had a golden spoon in my mouth. They wanted me to work for things.

Somewhere along the way, a nagging desire to compete emerged and he is now headed firmly towards his father.

“My biggest thing is that I always wanted to be better than my dad,” Bowden admits.

Bowden’s father served as senior vice president and general manager of the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals for a total of 16 years.

“I think for me, that’s why I am who I am today,” Bowden says. “My dad was brash, arrogant, arrogant, but he was also very hardworking and understood talent, understood player personnel, understood people.”

In 1992, Jim Bowden became the Majors’ youngest managing director when he took the job with the Reds aged 31.

“Obviously he was a big public figure in the city of Cincinnati,” Bowden said of his father. “He was able to bring in Ken Griffey Jr. and I was part of it. I was able to watch that, I was able to see him working day by day.

As a youngster, Bowden accompanied his father for entire days in the office from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“I was able to really learn, whether it was contract negotiations, trading or dealing with people, players, managers or whatever,” he recalls. “I was able to enter all these rooms. I wouldn’t be who I am without him.

“I learned so much about people and politics and tried to be myself. That’s one thing I really learned from my dad was to try to always be yourself. even when you have the role that could change a lot of things in a program or an organization, try to stay yourself because that’s what gets you where you are.

And now he wants to use those lessons and his position at Notre Dame to accomplish things his father never could.

“I want to crush his career and be so much better than him,” he says. “He’s my best friend, but I want to be so much better than him. And I want him to know that too.

Collinsworth can understand.

“When you grow up like that, the expectations are really high, maybe even sometimes without being spoken to,” Collinsworth says. “You sort of readjust it in your own head, or you readjust it in your relationship with your friends, with guys like Chad.

“Your fathers or your family or whoever gave you these opportunities, set the bar at a certain level and it’s up to you to take it to a different level. It’s not up to you to reach that level. It’s up to you to take it somewhere else. I think that’s the way we’ve always thought about it. We wanted to pull something even deeper within ourselves to be able to achieve that.

Bowden is quick to point out that his father was the director of player personnel, not the general manager, when the Reds won the title in 1990.

“He never won a World Series as a GM,” he says. “I want to win a World Series. I want to win a national college football championship. That’s what I want to do.

Bowden expressed his goals to his father “several times”.

His father’s reaction…

“Good luck.”


Chad Bowden wants to ‘crush’ his best friend’s career

After his freshman year at Anderson High School in Ohio, Bowden transferred to Highlands High School in Kentucky, where he quickly befriended everyone, including Collinsworth.

Highlands has a long history of football with 23 state championships and was in the midst of a run that would see the school win six straight when Bowden arrived. Not the kind of place where newcomers wander easily.

“Most of the guys had grown up together, had been together forever,” Collinsworth says. “He immediately integrated into the group. He was funny, but he took everything very seriously. He got along with older guys and he got along with younger guys. He was sort of the glue piece culturally, probably within a year.

And he proved his dedication, often in hilarious but serious ways.

Bowden broke his nose during practice in January during the offseason, but refused to quit.

“It couldn’t be further from the start of the football season and Chad refuses to stop winter training,” Collinsworth laughs now. “His nose couldn’t have been more twisted in his face and just refused to see the coach, refused to stop training, ended it all. Then goes to the doctor at 9 o’clock at night and gets his nose broken.

“I think that perfectly describes who he was and why everyone immediately turned to him.”

After his career at Highlands, Bowden was excited about the prospect of playing college football. He considered marching to Akron or playing Kentucky Wesleyan or Mount St. Joseph.

“All I loved was football, but my dad was pretty adamant that I had to move to Los Angeles and start working,” Bowden explains.

He interned with MVP Sports Group under Dan Lozano, then got the cold call job for a company called Link Tech.

“I would make 350 phone calls a day and your job is to get three of them to answer ‘yes’,” he explains.

Saying “Yes” meant giving a child their credit card so their ads could show up on the first page of Google. He would have basically hooked 347 times just to get his three for the day.

“I learned so much about life in those times and tried to stay consistent and positive,” he says now.

Collinsworth recalls Bowden seeking positivity and constantly playing motivational clips on YouTube as they raced to beat their bosses at the office.

“He would find a clip of a guy giving us this crazy pompous speech,” Collinsworth laughs. “It’s 6:30 in the morning and we’ve just finished training. Now we are preparing to leave for a full day at work.

“We were just a little crazy that way. I think we’re still kinda crazy in exactly the same way to be honest with you.


Bowden and Collinsworth kind of “made their careers real.”

They stood up and challenged each other to the point where simply achieving their individual goals was not enough. They had to achieve these goals as soon as possible.

“He was like, ‘You’re going to be on ESPN before you’re 25,'” Collinsworth explains. “I would be, ‘You’re going to lead the Miami Dolphins,’ or whatever he dreamed of when he was 20 or, ‘Run Notre Dame Football and get all these guys.’

“He always had one of those brains where he could make people believe. He did it in high school football. He was sort of the coach’s voice on the pitch.

That voice kept reminding Bowden on the pitch and it wasn’t the only voice doing so.

To be continued…

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