2011: Year in Review – Coaching icon Bowling reports to prison

By Patsy R. Brumfield | NEMS Daily Journal

Fabled Smithville ex-coach Dwight Bowling finished 2011 in a federal prison with a pending divorce.
Bowling’s reputation as a mentor and championship leader came crashing down with two guilty pleas to federal and state charges. In April, he admitted his guilt to transporting minor males across state lines for sex. Two months later, he entered another guilty plea to fondling and sexual battery of minor males.
Both federal and state prosecutors got guilty pleas from him to trying to bribe a witness to lie about their longtime sexual relationship.
U.S. District Judge W. Allen Pepper Jr. sentenced 56-year-old Bowling to 300 months in federal prison. He’s serving that time in a Virginia medium-security facility.
In state court, Circuit Judge James L. Roberts Jr. sentenced Bowling in such a way that after or if he completes his federal sentence, he still faces years in a state prison.
Bowling’s name was stripped from the football stadium, where he coached so many times through his 25-plus years. Then that stadium was heavily damaged by a tornado, which raked Smithville the same day Bowling was sentenced by Pepper.
To compound those losses, his wife filed divorce papers in Itawamba County.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com