Fall Ball Focus: Cerebral Will Bowen Fitting Right in with Georgetown


Will Bowen was a first-team All-American at North Carolina before transferring to Georgetown.

It’s easy to think of Will Bowen as a man with a plan. After all, the way the defenseman has mapped out his college career on both the academic and athletic sides is nothing short of methodical.

And both he and Georgetown’s men’s lacrosse program are already benefiting from one of this season’s most notable transfer decisions.

Bowen, a first-team All-America pick at North Carolina, realized during the pandemic he could earn an undergraduate degree in three years. He would have stuck around Chapel Hill longer, but the specific two-year master’s program in finance he wanted was unavailable there.

Thanks to both a redshirt season as a freshman and the extra season of eligibility granted by the NCAA to all players active in 2020, Bowen could conceivably spend as much time with the Hoyas as he did with the Tar Heels. At minimum, he intends to be at Georgetown for two years while completing a graduate degree.

This fall, though, the plan was to get settled in a new city with a new program.

“I’m pretty analytical, and I like to put thought into the things that I do and be intentional about them,” Bowen said. “I definitely didn’t just pick out of a hat and end up at Georgetown one day. I put a lot of thought into how I was going to transition out of Carolina and what I wanted this experience to be like. Things really have gone as planned. There are always a million little variables that are out of my control, but in terms of things I was expecting to get into from an academic standpoint, it’s been rigorous, it’s been exciting, it’s been interesting.”

Georgetown coach Kevin Warne might say the same thing. The Hoyas, who have played in the last three NCAA tournaments and last year reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 2007, return a formidable defense that includes another first-team All-America selection in goalie Owen McElroy. Gibson Smith IV was a second-team All-America pick last season.

Still, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Bowen is a bit different from what Georgetown has enjoyed in recent years.

“He’s a mature guy,” Warne said. “He’s very Type A. He just knows what he wants. Obviously, looking at him physically, you go, ‘Holy smokes, I hope [basketball] coach [Patrick] Ewing doesn’t see him or anything.’”

Warne said the Hoyas’ offensive players have noticed the difference when Bowen locks up an opponent compared to a typical defenseman. Bowen is making adjustments, too, as he makes the most of a decidedly two-track decision that moves along both his lacrosse career and his aims of a professional life in the financial services sector.

The academic program Bowen is enrolled in is designed for full-time workers, so his class schedule is a little heavier on night sessions than he was accustomed to as an undergraduate. There’s also the need to adapt to what’s happening with a new team.

One commonality for Bowen is he spent the last three years playing for one of the most upbeat coaches in the sport in Joe Breschi. Warne fits that category as well, though it’s fair to say he’s more visibly emotive than the Tar Heels’ coach.

But there’s still subtle differences, from terminology to practice plans to learning about an improved culture that’s been crucial to the Hoyas’ rise over the last five seasons.

“It’s easy to have a couple conversations with a coach and try to wrap your head around how another program is run,” Bowen said. “It’s college lacrosse, and while there’s so much overlap, everyone is doing their own thing. I had a sense of what Georgetown lacrosse was all about when I was coming here, but I’ve been blown away by the experience itself since I’ve come through these doors.”

Bowen’s cerebral approach to things has helped, too. His inclination in a new situation is to take things in, ask questions and figure out how to best blend into the environment.

“He has done a really good job of just trying to see where he fits in. He hasn’t overstepped any boundaries,” Warne said. “Not that we have any specific rules or anything, but typical Will, he looks at the whole situation, sees what he can say. He just leads by example. He plays really, really hard, is really, really tough and is really, really focused.”

So what has he picked up? Georgetown’s program is built on relationships and led by upperclassmen, neither of which is much of a surprise for the Hoyas or uncommon elsewhere. The experience has been different, which was to be expected, and Bowen has enjoyed the transition phase.

As for what comes next, Bowen has some general framework in mind. Helping to continue the Hoyas’ upward trajectory is a general but important aim.

But as much as he likes to plot things out, he knows some of the best of what’s to come at Georgetown will develop in its own time.

“There’s some groundwork laid in my head, but no specific plan,” Bowen said. “I’m ready for two years of an awesome experience, lacrosse-wise and academically.”

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