Gary Bowie was a prominent sport figure in Lethbridge as a participant, coach, professor, administrator and author. He was a founding member of the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame, the Lethbridge Sports Bid Committee, the Lethbridge Sport Council, the Alberta Sport Development Centre South West and the Western Inter-College Conference. He was on the 1975 Canada Games committee and chaired the 1996 Alberta Winter Games. He helped negotiate the University of Lethbridge into a respected place among the Canada West Universities Athletic Association members. He served four terms as its Athletic Director from 1970 to 1989.
Gary also championed the development of major sport facilities such as the sport and wellness centre and the sports stadium at the University of Lethbridge. He was head coach of the men's basketball for both the Lethbridge Junior College Kodiaks and the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns. The Pronghorns Athletics Leadership Award was named the Gary Bowie Leadership Award in his honour.
Gary became a National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) Alberta Division master course conductor in 1974 and facilitated courses over the next thirty years. He published ten books, monographs, articles and papers. Most of his focus was on sport history of an inspirational nature, which included the Lethbridge Maple Leaf Hockey team who won the World Championship in 1951.
Gary was inducted into the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Lethbridge Pronghorn Hall of Fame in 2001. He was the Lethbridge Kinsmen Sports Person of the Year in 1996 and was named the 2007 Lethbridge Citizen of the Year. Gary was a recipient of the Queen's Jubilee Commemorative Medal, the Alberta Centennial Medal and the Honorary Degree, Doctor of Laws for the University of Lethbridge.