Scott Bostwick had the job he spent 17 years awaiting, and a smile beamed across his face for most of his first months as Northwest Missouri State University’s head football coach.
Unfortunately, the Bearcats’ longtime enthusiastic defensive coordinator didn’t get to enjoy his dream for long. A heart attack claimed his life on the morning of June 5.
Mr. Bostwick, 49, was mowing his lawn when he suffered the attack.
The Omaha, Neb., native comprised part of Hall of Famer Mel Tjeerdsma’s initial coaching staff in 1994, and was the only original member who remained when Mr. Tjeerdsma retired in December 2010. Mr. Bostwick was hired days later.
“When I called him into my office and told him that I was going to retire, I said, ‘Do you want to be the head coach?’” Mr. Tjeerdsma said. “He said, ‘Why do you think I stayed this long?’ He loved Northwest. He was an integral part of all of this.”
Mr. Bostwick, the 2007 American Football Coaches Association’s assistant coach of the year, helmed the MIAA’s top scoring unit from 2006-10 and manned the defense on three national championship teams — 1998, 1999 and 2009.
Three weeks after his death, Northwest promoted offensive coordinator Adam Dorrel to head coach, and he guided the Bearcats to an 11-3 season and the program’s eighth straight appearance in the national quarterfinals. But the coaching staff and players had to cope with the loss of a Northwest icon throughout an emotional campaign.
“He had such an impact on those kids; he recruited a lot of them,” Mr. Dorrel said. “I thought it was very mature and adult-like how they handled it.”
Northwest paid numerous tributes — the Scott Bostwick Celebration of Life drew more than 2,000 fans at Bearcat Stadium, many donned Mr. Bostwick’s trademark red hat in Northwest’s home opener, and the team wore red logo decals on their helmets all season.
Mr. Bostwick’s nephews — senior defensive lineman Aaron Terry and junior linebacker Preston Bostwick — got tattoos with the words “Dream season” on them. In addition, Mr. Bostwick’s younger brother, Chad, became the linebackers coach, jumping ship from Central Missouri a month after his brother’s death.
Sam Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPSports.