Melissa Bowerman, a 41-year-old volunteer track coach in Oregon, was recently fired after she attended the Condon/Wheeler High School prom with a 17-year-old male student.
After an investigation conducted by the high school revealed that Bowerman accompanied a male student from the team to the school's prom last month, superintendent Jan Zarate decided to ask the volunteer coach step away from the Condon/Wheeler track team.
Bowerman -- who is the daughter-in-law of Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman - admitted to Oregon TV station KTVZ that while she may have made an error in judgment, she never had an inappropriate relationship with the teen.
KTVZ also reported that Bowerman agreed to go to the prom with the male student because he didn't have a date at the time and was doing poorly in one of his English classes.
If they go on (academic) probation and suspension, then they can't go to the track meets, Melissa Bowerman said, according to the Associated Press. I said, 'OK, I will go with you, but we've got to talk about English first. You're going to do better in English.
In the AP report, Bowerman added that she got permission from the boy's father, Bob Thomas, to take his son to the prom.
The first thing I thought, 'Maybe this isn't a good idea,' Thomas said. But Melissa has been like a surrogate mom to these kids for years.
Bowerman was instrumental at the school to say the least, as the Condon/Wheeler track and field program has grown from six athletes to more than 30, with the female track squad recently winning its first state title.
Melissa Bowerman's late father-in-law is well-known among Oregon sports fans. Besides co-founding Nike with Phil Knight, Bill Bowerman coached track at the University of Oregon from 1949 to 1972, winning four national titles.
Bowerman's 73-year-old husband and co-coach Jon Bowerman told the AP that if his wife is not allowed to return to the team he may not either.
The only thing we've done wrong is build them a new track and get uniforms and build them a powerhouse program, he said. If she doesn't come back, I'm not coming back.