'He was my friend, mentor, and father figure’: Celebration of Life scheduled for Willie “Rat” McGowan

'He was my friend, mentor, and father figure’: Celebration of Life scheduled for Willie “Rat” McGowan
'He was my friend, mentor, and father figure’: Celebration of life scheduled for Willie ‘Rat’ McGowan (Source: Alcorn State University)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The life and legacy of Willie E. “Rat” McGowan will be remembered and celebrated this week.

A Celebration of Life for the Alcorn State University baseball coach will be held Thursday, November 14th, at New Jerusalem Church in Jackson at 11 a.m.

McGowan’s longtime friend and colleague, Willie Moses, described him as one of a kind in Alcorn’s history.

“He was original,” recalled Moses. “He was a hard worker who devoted himself to uplifting Alcorn and being committed to his profession."

McGowan coached the Alcorn State baseball team from 1972 to 2009, leading the team to 14 20-win seasons and five SWAC titles.

He also served as an assistant coach for the football team.

“Coach McGowan was more than a coach to me,” said Leslie Frazier, the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills who played for McGowan as a member of the Braves football and baseball teams.

"He was my friend, mentor, and father figure... He treated me like a son, and I’ll always be thankful for the influence he had on my life.”

In 2005, McGowan was awarded the Tom Joyner Award and the ASU Humanitarian Award.

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