Cowell was a two-time NCAA College Division All-American (third in 1965, fourth in 1966) at 130 pounds and wrestled on Cal Poly’s first NCAA College Division national championship team in 1966. He also was a two-time California Collegiate Athletic Association champion and an NCAA Regional champion.
After coaching stints as an assistant at Cal Poly, assistant and head coach at Cuesta College, head coach at Hancock College, head coach at San Luis Obispo High School and head coach at Clovis West High School, Cowell was head coach at Cal Poly for 18 seasons (1985-2003) and guided the Mustangs to 14 Pac-12 individual titles, eight Division I All-Americans and three top-five individual placewinners at the NCAA Championships.
His career record at Cal Poly was 167-147-8.
He was named Southern California Regional Coach of the Year in 1983 and National High School Coach of the Year in 1984.
Cowell has continued his support and loyalty to Cal Poly wrestling by coordinating and running a benefit golf tournament, raising $540,000 over 12 years. He has been inducted into three halls of fame -- California Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006, Diablo Valley College Hall of Fame in 2007 and National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2009.
Lennis and his wife Denise have three sons, Shaun, Lance and Casey.