Prior to joining the Stars, Bowness spent five seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning where he served as the team's associate coach. During his time in Tampa Bay, the team posted a 238-135-37 record while making four appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including three trips to the Eastern Conference Final and one trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015. The native of Moncton, New Brunswick has been on a bench in as a head or assistant for an NHL record 2,425 regular-season games, having served in different coaching capacities at the NHL level for the Winnipeg Jets, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars. He also served as an NHL head coach for parts of 10 seasons with Winnipeg (1988-89), Boston (1991-92), Ottawa (1992-96), the New York Islanders (1996-98), Phoenix (2003-04) and Dallas (2019-present). Bowness owns a 143-302-48-8 record in 501 career games in his head coaching career.
Bowness began his coaching career as a Player/Coach for the Sherbrooke Jets of the American Hockey League (AHL) for the 1982-83 season. He also served as Head Coach and General Manager of the Moncton Hawks (AHL) from 1987-89 before taking over as Head Coach in Winnipeg midway through the 1988-89 campaign. Bowness also acted as Head Coach of the Maine Mariners (AHL) for two seasons from 1989-91. Originally selected by the Atlanta Flames in the second round (26th overall) of the 1975 NHL Draft, Bowness also played in parts of six NHL seasons for Atlanta, Detroit, St. Louis and Winnipeg. He logged 55 points (18-37=55) and 191 penalty minutes in 173 career regular-season games in his NHL career.
Rick and his wife, Judy, have two sons and a daughter.