Vic Rowen

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Vic Rowen
Sport(s) Football, basketball
Biographical details
Born (1919-07-24)July 24, 1919
Brooklyn, New York
Died January 14, 2013(2013-01-14) (aged 93)
Chico, California
Playing career
1940s Long Island University
Position(s) Tight end
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1946–1948 Thomas Jefferson HS (NY)
1951–1953 Defiance
1954–1960 San Francisco State (assistant)
1961–1989 San Francisco State
1951–1954 Defiance
1957–1958 San Francisco State
Head coaching record
Overall 131–174–10 (college football)
54–34 (college basketball)
Bowls 0–1
Accomplishments and honors
5 Far Western (1961–1963, 1965, 1967)

Victor Rowen (July 24, 1919 – January 14, 2013) was an American football and basketball coach. He served as the head football coach at Defiance College from 1951 to 1953 and at San Francisco State University from 1961 to 1989, compiling a career college football record of 132–173–10. His tenure of 28 years as head coach San Francisco State spanned over half of the length of time college football was played at the school. Rowen was also the head basketball coach at Defiance from 1951 to 1954 at and San Francisco State for a season in 1957–58, tallying a career college basketball mark of 54–34.

Early years[edit]

Born Brooklyn, New York, Rowen played college football at Long Island University, and later went on to earn a doctorate in physical education from Columbia University. Rowen got his start as a college coach at Ohio's Defiance College in 1951. He joined San Francisco State as an assistant coach in 1954 under Joe Verducci, until becoming head coach in 1961.[1]

San Francisco State[edit]

In Rowen's first years with the program, San Francisco State was a west-coast small college football powerhouse, winning eight Far Western Conference titles before 1967. This early success lead his team to attract a great deal of football talent to the university and San Francisco State was well known for its football during this time. All of that changed during the student strike of 1968, which crippled football at SFSU.

San Francisco State did not have a winning season between 1973 and when the program was cancelled in 1995. While noted for producing outstanding players and coaches who would go on to win with other programs, San Francisco State football under Rowen’s later years was not as successful as other Division II college football teams.

Rowen was also the president of the American Football Coaches Association in 1986.

Coaching tree[edit]

Rowen has had two of his assistant coaches go on to lead teams as head coach in Super Bowls: Andy Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles and Mike Holmgren with both the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. Holmgren was a teacher of American history at Oak Grove High School in San Jose in 1981 when Rowen offered him his first collegiate coaching position. Dirk Koetter, head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got his first college coaching job under Rowen, serving as his offensive coordinator in 1985. Gil Haskell, now offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, also was an assistant coach to Rowen. Bob Toledo, now head coach at Tulane University, played quarterback at San Francisco State under Rowen. Floyd Peters, former defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders, was a defensive lineman under Rowen.


Rowen's son, Keith Rowen, coached in the National Football League (NFL) with various teams for over 25 years.


Rowen died January 14, 2013, aged 93.[2]

Head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Defiance Yellow Jackets () (1951–1953)
1951 Defiance 0–6
1952 Defiance 4–4
1953 Defiance 8–0
Defiance: 12–10
San Francisco State Gators (Far Western Conference / Northern California Athletic Conference) (1961–1989)
1961 San Francisco State 8–2 4–1 T–1st
1962 San Francisco State 6–2–1 3–1–1 1st
1963 San Francisco State 6–2–1 3–1–1 T–1st
1964 San Francisco State 6–3–1 3–1–1 3rd
1965 San Francisco State 8–2 5–0 1st
1966 San Francisco State 7–3 5–1 2nd
1967 San Francisco State 9–2 6–0 1st L Camellia
1968 San Francisco State 5–5 3–3 T–3rd
1969 San Francisco State 3–7 1–4 5th
1970 San Francisco State 0–9–1 0–5 6th
1971 San Francisco State 5–6 2–4 6th
1972 San Francisco State 3–8 1–4 T–5th
1973 San Francisco State 7–2–1 3–2 T–3rd
1974 San Francisco State 5–6 2–3 T–2nd
1975 San Francisco State 4–4–1 2–3 T–3rd
1976 San Francisco State 4–7 2–3 T–3rd
1977 San Francisco State 5–5 2–3 4th
1978 San Francisco State 1–9 0–5 6th
1979 San Francisco State 3–7 1–4 T–5th
1980 San Francisco State 3–6–1 1–4 T–5th
1981 San Francisco State 3–7 0–5 6th
1982 San Francisco State 4–6 2–3 4th
1983 San Francisco State 2–8 1–5 6th
1984 San Francisco State 2–7–1 2–3–1 T–4th
1985 San Francisco State 3–6–1 2–3 4th
1986 San Francisco State 2–9 1–4 5th
1987 San Francisco State 1–8–1 0–4–1 6th
1988 San Francisco State 1–9 1–4 T–5th
1989 San Francisco State 3–7 0–5 6th
San Francisco State: 119–164–10 58–88–5
Total: 131–174–10
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


  1. ^ Sullivan, Pat (June 10, 2001). "WHERE ARE THEY NOW? / Vic Rowen / A dedicated Gator / Longtime coach also served as a father figure". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Football coach Vic Rowen dies at 93". January 18, 2013. Retrieved January 19, 2013.