Bowman began his coaching career in 1961 as a volunteer assistant for the Delaware freshman football team. A year later he received his first paid coaching position at the University of Dayton.
After serving as an assistant at Lebanon Valley College and Colorado State, Bowman left coaching to become Colorado State's assistant Athletic director. He decided to return to coaching the following year and contacted Hamilton Tiger-Cats head Al Dorow to inquire about any possible coaching vacancies. Due to an ongoing dispute with Team President Ralph Sazio over the hiring and firing of assistant coaches, Dorow decided to hire whomever the next applicant for the coaching position and Bowman was hired on the spot. He was let go after one season and joined the coaching staff of the Edmonton Eskimos as a Defensive Line coach. Bowman left coaching again in 1974, but later returned as an assistant at Bemidji State. He returned to the CFL in 1985 as the Defensive Line and Special Teams Coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He left the Bombers in 1989 to become the Ottawa Rough Riders' Offensive Line Coach, but returned to Winnipeg in 1991.
Murphy returned in 1993 and Bowman moved to his prior position as Defensive Line and Special Teams Coach. In 1995 he joined the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as Assistant Head Coach. In 1997 he was promoted to interim head coach after Don Sutherin was fired. The Tiger-Cats would win only one of their remaining eleven games and Bowman was let go at the end of season.
During the 2004 season, Bowman joined the Blue Bombers as special teams coach. He rejoined the Winnipeg coaching staff midway through the following season when linebackers coach Rod Rust left the team to attend to personal matters.