Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman’s daughter-in-law Melissa Bowerman was arrested Monday amid charges that she had an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old boy. Melissa, 43, had been the head track and field coach at Madras High School for the past two years, sharing the responsibilities with her husband. The alleged victim was a boy was on her team.
Oregon Live shares that the police received a tip regarding the alleged relationship and that tip ultimately led to Melissa Bowerman’s arrest. She was taken into custody on suspicion of luring a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, second-degree online sexual corruption and second-degree sexual abuse. Three of the charges are felonies and the fourth is a misdemeanor. The allegations are related to incidents that date back to this past May.
Melissa has been married to Jon Bowerman, 76, for six years. Jon’s father, Bill, was a track and field coach and co-founder of Nike, Inc. He died in 1999 at the age of 88. At this point, Melissa’s husband Jon says he’s supporting his wife. He shared, “She’s still my wife, I still love her and still will no matter how this thing turns out.”
Interestingly, this is not the first time Melissa Bowerman faced allegations regarding an inappropriate relationship with a student. As USA Today reported, the track coach was let go from her volunteer position in May of 2012 at another school after she took a 17-year-old student to his prom. She apparently had a fair amount of support from the community at the time of the incident. She had said that the boy involved had been struggling in an English class and was sad that he didn’t have a date, so she helped him out.
Bowerman said that the prom decision was an error in judgment, but she said there was no inappropriate relationship. There were never any charges or formal allegations of criminal wrongdoing in the incident. The superintendent of the Fossil School District, however, has said, “All I will say for the record is that there is way more to that story than just a date to the prom and no comment on anything else.”
Jon and Melissa Bowerman were brought into Madras High School and apparently monitored closely in the beginning. Then they were moved to the co-head coach positions last year. While further details regarding the allegations that led to Melissa Bowerman’s arrest have not yet been revealed, authorities have searched the couple’s home, including her computers and cameras, and they clearly felt they had enough to proceed with the case.
[Image via Lane County Mugshots]