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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 avid drummer who lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, with the love of his life—his wife Laura—and their dog, Piper. The Viewfinder: Michael’s Story is his first book.

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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

ECU Lecturer: College of Allied Science 2021-Present

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

UNCW Intern Teacher Supervisor 1991-2002
Lake Forest Junior High School Health & PE Teacher 1986-87

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