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'He touched too many lives to count' | Beloved West Washington coach, organ donor remembered at football game

A special ceremony was held in honor of Philip Bowsman. The coach died in 2019 due to complications of a stroke.

CAMPBELLSBURG, Ind. — At any high school or collegiate sporting event, senior nights are always a special occasion. It gives a chance for athletes to reflect on their careers in their final appearance on the home field and for fans to shower them with admiration. 

However the annual celebration took a backseat to another commemoration Friday night at the Salem and West Washington game.

"He touched too many lives to count," the West Washington PA said over the loudspeaker. 

Fans from both schools honored the life of Philip Bowsman, the late football coach for the Senators. Bowsman died due to complications of a stroke during a game in 2019. 

He had connections to Salem as well as he graduated from the high school and was a football player during his high school years.

"He was doing what he loved," the PA continued. "Playing Football. And his family was there."

Holden Bowsman is the son of the late football coach. He shared how his father taught him leadership qualities on and off the field. 

"Everyone was asking me they were like, 'Are you going to stay are you going to stay? Or are you going to go?' And I was like, I'm going to stay," Holden said. "Because, that was the type of leader he was and that was the type of leader he taught me to be."

Before his death, Bowsman made the decision to become an organ donor. 

"He touched countless people's lives and for his last act to be giving other people life," Holden said. "I think it just suits him very well." 

The organization that coordinated Bowsman's organ donorship, Donate Life, was present at the football game Friday and handed out bracelets encouraging others to sign up to become organ donors.

"There's about 110,000 Americans right now, waiting for a transplant, about 1,400 people in Indiana," Donate Life's Corinne Osinski-Carey said. "So, it's hitting us right here at home in every county."

A simple sign-up, a life saved and two teams inspirited.

If you'd like to learn more about Donate Life, click here.

RELATED: Be Special: West Washington football returns to semi-state a year after coach's death

RELATED: Students gather to honor Coach Bowsman as he gives the gift of life

 Contact reporter Tom Lally at TLally@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter. 

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