June 6, 2011
Remembering Scott Bostwick
By David Boyce
Scott Bostwick embraced life with such passion that any contact with him left you feeling upbeat.
Bostwick loved his family, loved his job for 17 years as Northwest Missouri State defensive coordinator and loved living.
He was absolutely ecstatic when he was named head coach for the Bearcats, replacing Mel Tjeerdsma, who retired in late December.
Awesome was how Bostwick felt about his new job and responsibilities. He was ready and eager to tackle the challenge of leading one of the top NCAA Division II football programs.
It seems so cruel that he will never get that opportunity. Bostwick suddenly died Sunday morning at his home while he was mowing his lawn. He was 49. He leaves behind his wife, Sue, daughter, Leah, and son, Eric.
"He was a man of faith and his priorities were with his family and Northwest. Those are pretty admirable qualities to have," Northwest athletic director Wren Baker said.
"What I remember most about Scott is how he cared about people. Scott was genuinely happy for good things to happen to people. He wasn't a guy who played politics, who gave lip service and said what people wanted to hear. He knew players' families, the families of his co-workers. He cared about them and prayed for them. I hope that's what people remember about him."
It's why so many people were absolutely thrilled he got the opportunity to be the Bearcats' next head football coach when Tjeerdsma decided to step away to spend more time with his family.
"You feel so bad that he never got a chance to lead this team on the field," Tjeerdsma said. "That's what we all work for. I know he was so excited for the first game to actually be the guy. He just never got there."
It's hard to find a lesson in what happened to Bostwick on Sunday and how it affects his family, friends, the team and all the Bearcat fans who got to know him.
Bostwick was loyal. Instead of looking for a head coaching job elsewhere, he stuck with Tjeerdsma for 17 years.
Bostwick was successful. His defenses were consistently the best in the MIAA. Six players were named MIAA defensive players of the year under Bostwick.
Bostwick was passionate. He had an enthusiasm for everything he did.
"What comes to mind with Scott are loyalty, passion and dedication," Baker said. "That's something that people throw around a lot in the athletics realm. But I'm not sure I've ever been around a coach or player who lived it every day like Scott Bostwick did. He was loyal and passionate about his family, about his friends, about his players and about the Bearcats.
"From the day I met him through the past six months we worked together, what I take away from it more than anything else was his passion."
If ever a person deserved to be a head coach of team, it was Bostwick for Northwest.
The Bearcats meant everything to him. He was the person behind the annual golf tournament that raised money for the football program.
The 17th annual Shawna Zeck Memorial Tournament, which is scheduled for June 17 at Mozingo Golf Course, was much more to Bostwick than raising money. It was about family.
"Seeing the old guys come back and listen to all the old stories and seeing guys you haven't seen in a while is absolutely the best part of the deal," Bostwick said in late June.
The golf tournament was always a perfect way to showcase Bostwick's personality. He loved people and having a good time.
When you think about Bostwick, you can't help but get an image of a man smiling and excited about whatever he's doing at the moment.
"Scott didn't have many enemies," Tjeerdsma said. "He was one of those guys that everybody liked. You couldn't help but like him because he had a great attitude. He had just a great outlook on life. He was a guy who enjoyed life to the fullest."
Naturally, when someone as young as Bostwick is taken away so unexpectedly it comes as a devastating shock. It's impossible to comprehend. It doesn't make sense.
Unfortunately, it happens and you must somehow find a way to cope. Fortunately, Bostwick leaves behind so many good memories that you can somehow smile a little through the tears.
"We are mourning the loss of our friend and our coach," Baker said, "but we are also remembering what he meant to each of us.
"As we met with the family, the coaches and the players, we would cry, but we also would laugh as we remembered the good times we had with Scott and what he had done for all of us.
"The mood is one of mourning, but also one celebrating the laugh Scott had and taught all of us during his time here."
Obviously, Sunday was a difficult day for Tjeerdsma. Tjeerdsma would have been happy for Scott if he had decided to leave Northwest for a head coaching job at another school.
The fact that Bostwick decided to always stand by Tjeerdsma all these years meant everything and words alone can't possibly describe the feeling.
"He's a guy who was with me for 17 years," Tjeerdsma said. "He was so loyal. He was a guy who bought into everything here. He really believed in Northwest and family and this community. He was all those things we talked about."
Somehow, some way, Northwest will get through this tragedy and move on. The strong foundation helps immensely.
"We met as a team and to see the hurting and yet the bonding and the love the guys had for each other, it's neat to be around a family," Tjeerdsma said. "We are fortunate to have that kind of family attitude and atmosphere when you have tough times.
"I've said it a lot of times that's why the Bearcats, in the last couple of years, have won a lot of games because they believe in each other.
"No matter how tough things are, they always seem to find something good out of it. That's what will happen this time, too."
For more information, please contact:
Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
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