Legendary football coach Vic Rowen passes away

Legendary SF State football coach Vic Rowen, who built the Gators into one of the premiere small-college football teams on the West Coast, died Jan. 14 at the age of 93.

Rowen was the head coach of the Gators from 1961-1989.

"SF State has lost an important member of our community,” SF State President Les Wong said. "Coach Vic Rowen's influence on student-athletes, faculty and staff members was immeasurable. He will always be a memorable part of the rich history of San Francisco State University."

A photo of former SF State football coach Vic Rowen.

Vic Rowen served as head coach of the SF State football team from 1961-1989 and built the Gators into a small-college powerhouse.

Rowen’s early tenure established SF State as a West Coast small-college football powerhouse. Under his leadership SF State won five Far Western Conference titles. These successes led his team to attract top football talent to the University, including future NFL standouts Floyd Peters, Bill Baird, Charlie Fuller and Elmer Collett.

Later in his career, Rowen became known for developing outstanding coaching talent. Two of his assistant coaches later led teams as head coach in Super Bowls: Andy Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles and Mike Holmgren with the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. Another, Bob Toledo, became head coach at UCLA and Tulane University.

“Vic Rowen was a visionary coach, educator and mentor who always had the best interest of his students and athletes at heart," said Michael Simpson, Director of Athletics. “His contribution to intercollegiate athletics at San Francisco State transcended any reasonable expectation and enriched the heritage and vitality of the University and its community. Likewise, his imprint on the sport of football was significant and universally acknowledged and respected. His legacy will endure in the hearts and minds of all of us who were fortunate enough to know him as a colleague and a friend.”

To honor his legacy on campus, alumni and friends installed a statue of Rowen in front of SF State’s gym in June 2011.

-- Jonathan Morales