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Merritt Bowden is in his second season as a defensive line coach with the Roughriders and his third season overall with the team. He spent the 2016 season with the Green and White as a special-teams assistant.

A resident of Jemison, Ala., Bowden has 27 years of coaching experience in football. He spent 19 seasons at a number of Alabama high schools and five seasons in the college ranks (split between Auburn and Jacksonville State). He also had a stint as a visiting coach with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos during their Grey Cup-winning season of 2015 before joining the Riders in 2016.

Bowden was an All-American baseball player at Jacksonville State in 1990 and helped the Gamecocks win back-to-back NCAA Division II national championships in 1990 and ’91. After a brief playing career in baseball’s minor leagues, Bowden worked as an associate scout in the Atlanta Braves’ organization.

His career as a football coach began in 1993, when he was the defensive coordinator and strength coach at Isabella High School in Maplesville, Ala.