Joel Bowser grew up in small towns - Imler in Bedford County and Riverside in Cambria County, Pennsylvania. He was introduced to wrestling by his 8th grade physical education teacher, Maurice Shingler. His high school coach was Milan Svitchen. These coaches helped Joel develop the skills necessary to become a competitive wrestler.
In Joel’s senior year in high school, Shippensburg State Teacher’s wresting coach, Bill Corman, saw potential in Joel and encouraged him to enroll at Shippensburg. Coach Corman was influential in Joel's life, and under his leadership, Joel was able to win the 115 lb. Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) title in 1958. He was Shippensburg’s first PSAC Champion. He was also a member of Shippensburg State Teachers College Track and Field. The team was undefeated and became the 1958 PSAC champions.
After attending Shippensburg University State College for two years, he transferred to California University of PA for educational reasons where he enrolled in the Industrial Education Department. While there, Joel placed 4th in the PSAC Wrestling Championship in 1961.
Joel graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Arts Education. In 1966, he earned a Master of Education Degree in Industrial Education. He taught at Chestnut Ridge High School, Fishertown, PA, for four years and was head wrestling coach during this time. While at Chestnut Ridge, he started the Elementary and Junior High Wrestling programs. He taught at Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center where he started the wrestling program in 1970.
Joel was also a home builder, operating Bowser Homes, and he operated a 500- unit self-storage complex. He was also very active in the local wrestling community.
Scholarships associated with Joel Bowser