Maryville College coach killed in crash on campus

News Sentinel staff
Originally published 09:28 a.m., November 20, 2007

An assistant football coach at Maryville College was killed Monday night on campus in a crash that also left two other men in critical condition.

Killed in the 10:55 p.m. crash was Shawn Jeremiah Cody Bowers, 25, of Madisonville, Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp said this morning. Bowers, an assistant football coach at the college, was the driver and owner of the black, 2004 Toyota Tundra that crashed, the chief said.

"We believe speed to be involved," Crisp said. The speed limit on the road leading to the Maryville Woods is 20 mph, he said.

Two other people were injured, including Jack Heatherly "Trey" Lefler, 25, of Loudon, who is in critical condition this morning at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Lefler was a passenger in the front seat of the truck. He was thrown threw the front windshield of the truck, Crisp said.

The third occupant was Matt Lambert, 24, of Maryville, who was graduated in 2007 from Maryville College. Lambert was in the back seat of the pickup truck, Crisp said. He also was in critical condition this morning at the UT Medical Center.None of the men were using a seat belt, Crisp said.

The three were in a pickup truck that struck a tree on Morningside Lane. That road leads past the Cooper Athletic Center on the 320-acre campus, Karyn Adams, assistant vice president for communications at Maryville College said this morning.

Crisp said the truck was traveling south toward the wooded area when it went out of control. The truck first struck a tree head-on, causing the vehicle to rotate. The truck then slammed into a second tree on the driverís door.

The chief said there were no witnesses to the crash, but people heard the impact and immediately ran to the scene. Crisp said he was not aware of where the group was going when the crash occurred. Bowers was graduated in 2005 from Maryville College with a bachelorís degree in history.

This was his second year as an assistant football coach. He helped coach the secondary for the Fighting Scots football team.Bowers had lettered in baseball, basketball and football at Loudon High School.

Adams said Bowers was hired in the fall of 2006 as a part-time assistant football coach. In February, Adams said, Bowers was hired on full-time and he was involved in recruiting for the football program.

Bowers, Adams said, did not live on campus.

Morningside Lane leads to a 118-acre portion of the campus that is undeveloped, Adams said. That wooded section contains the Ruby Tuesday Lodge and the House in the Woods.

Ruby Tuesday leases the lodge from Maryville College. The lodge is used as a training center for Maryville College managers and is rented out to the public for various events. The House in the Woods, Adams said, is a conference and visitor center.

Adams said the football coach was "gathering members of the football program together" this morning to mourn and remember Bowers. A regular 1:15 p.m. chapel service today will serve as a memorial service for Bowers, especially for those on campus who knew Bowers, Adams said.