Nicknamed "Big Kev", McGowne is a defender who began his career at St. Mirren in 1991. He joined St Johnstone in 1992 and spent 4 seasons with the Perth club before being signed by Kilmarnock by Alex Totten.
McGowne spent 6 years with Kilmarnock and helped them lift the 1997 Scottish Cup after beating Falkirk in the final. Dundee United was his next destination in 2001 but he spent just one season at Tannadice, making just 12 league appearances.
He had a short spell with Partick Thistle in 2003 before re-joining St Mirren the same year. He helped St Mirren return to the Scottish Premier League by winning promotion in 2005-06.
McGowne left St Mirren in July 2007 after helping the club retain their SPL status in 2006-07. He joined Montrose where he was also assistant manager to Jim Weir. McGowne was sacked by Montrose in October 2008.
McGowne joined Arbroath F.C. as assistant manager to Jim Weir for the 2009-2010 season
McGowne signed up in May 2010 as assistant manager to Jim Weir at Brechin City F.C. after both left Arbroath F.C.