McGowen set a national record kicking 92 times in 1939 and was named to the All-Southeastern Conference team in 1940 after averaging 43.55 yards on 80 punts. McGowen still owns the Auburn single-season record for punting yards with 3,883 set in 1939. At the inaugural game at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Nov. 30, 1939, McGowen threw the first touchdown pass in the stadium and kicked the extra point as Auburn tied Florida, 7-7. McGowen also played baseball at Auburn as a catcher and outfielder.
He entered the United States Army in 1941 and left active duty in 1945 before coaching two years as the head football coach at Eufaula High School. In 1948, McGown came to Auburn as a backfield assistant until 1951 when he was named the freshman football coach and head baseball coach.
After the 1957 season, McGowen relinquished his baseball duties to become a varsity assistant coach until 1965 when he left coaching. McGowen was a staff member for the 1957 National Championship team and in seven years as Auburn's head baseball coach, he led the Tigers to a 90-76-2 record.
McGowen was an active member of the Auburn Football Letterman's Club and a founding member of Meagher's Marauders. McGowen was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1979 and was a member of First United Methodist Church of Montgomery.
Neil Ennis (Dick) McGowen was born in Sipsey, Ala. on August 19, 1919, Alma Ennis McGowen and Jackson Ramsey McGowen. Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Eleanor Wright "Pete" McGowen, of Montgomery; one daughter, Eleanor Wright McGowen Maynor and her husband, William Thomas Maynor, of Decatur, Alabama; one grandson, Dennis Voss Funchess, Jr. and his wife Christy, of Montgomery; two granddaughters, Lucille Harper Maynor and Eleanor McGowen Maynor, both of Decatur; two brothers, Jackson R. McGowen, Jr. and his wife (Dolores) of Palm Desert, California, and James N. McGowen and his wife Joy of Auburn, Alabama; his wife's sister, Marion Wright Burkett, of Montgomery; and her brother, Sidney Harper Wright and his wife (Lou) of Dothan, Alabama; two great-granddaughters, Taylor Anne Berry and Sidney Harper Funchess, both of Montgomery, and many nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles.
The family will receive visitors one hour prior to the service (at 1 p.m.) in the Friendship Room at First United Methodist Church. Memorial Gifts should be directed to The Wellness Foundation at The Montgomery Cancer Center or to First United Methodist Church in lieu of flowers. Brooks-Cargile Funeral Home is directing the funeral.