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Born in 1962, Michael J. Bowen grew up in Washington Park, North Carolina, water-skiing on the glassy water of the Tar River and playing competitive sports. On November 19, 1985, during his senior year of college he made the fateful decision to play an extra in an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. That decision ultimately led to a car accident, paralysis, and a spiritual intervention that taught him lessons about faith, empathy, and overcoming adversity. Today, he is a “walking” quadriplegic, a retired phys ed teacher, a high school tennis coach, and a motivational speaker. He’s also a self-proclaimed beach bum and an amateur drummer who lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, with the love of his life—his wife Laura—and their dog, Tessa. The Viewfinder: Michael’s Story is his first book.

Jacket Cover Head Shot.jpg

Education and Certifications

M.A.Ed., East Carolina University 2006
B.A.E., University of North Carolina at Wilmington 1987
A.S., University of Mount Olive (MOC) 1982
United States Professional Tennis Association Certification 2003
National Board Professional Teaching Certification 2002

Achievements and Awards

University of Mount Olive – Athletics Hall of Fame 2022

University of Mount Olive – Excellence in Teaching Award 2022

NCHSAA – 4A Tennis State Championship Coach 2020
USTA – North Carolina Tennis Coach of the Year 2015

MEC – Coach of the Year 2006-2010, 2014, 2017, 2019
Myrtle Grove Middle School Teacher of the Year 2006
New Hanover County Middle School Teacher of the Year 2006
Merit Award – National Spinal Cord Injury Association 1991

Teaching and Coaching Career

John T Hoggard High School Tennis Coach 2006-Present
USPTA Tennis Instructor 2003-Present
Fellowship of Christian Athletes Leader 1992-2020
Myrtle Grove Middle School Health & PE Teacher 1987-2020
Lake Forest Junior High School Health & PE Teacher 1986-87



Speaking on the topics of Living with a Disability, Overcoming Adversity, Building a Rapport with Athletes, School Bullying.




An annual event sponsored by Wilmington Parks and Recreation and the YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina. A free community event that offers families the opportunity to participate in active play and educational opportunities designed to promote health and wellness.



A group of dedicated individuals who assisted me in bicycling across America visiting rehabilitation centers for the purpose of improving the quality of life for those living with spinal cord injuries. This organization also raised money on behalf of the National Spinal Cord Association for spinal cord injury research.

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