Sunday, June 7, 2009

Coach Jim Owens Passes Away

Coach Jim Owens in the early 1960's

For a through profile on Coach Owens career click on:

I got the sad news from my friend Mark Johnson today that Coach Jim Owens died Saturday morning of heart related issues in his home in Montana at the age of 82.

Coach Owens was the University of Washington's Head Football Coach from 1957-74 and led the Huskies to Rose Bowl appearances in 1960 (a HUGE win over Wisconsin), 1961 (a win over #1 ranked Minnesota) and 1964 (a loss to Dick Butkus led Illinois).

I was fortunate enough to be a member of the UW team in the late 1960's and get a chance to practice for him.

Coach Jim Owens

Here is J.O., as he was affectionately referred to by his players, at the 2003 dedication of the Jim Owens statue, behind him, that now sits in front of Husky Stadium

The 1960 Rose Bowl
Washington 44 - Wisconsin 8

This was probably the signature moment in Coach Owens' tenure at the UW.  It changed both the landscape of Husky and West Coast football forever!

It was important for me too, as it was the day while watching my first ever Rose Bowl on TV, that I decided at the age of 12 that someday I would be a Husky!

In front of the Jim Owens Statue before the
2008 Notre Dame game

Since 2003, every time I have gone to Seattle, I have made it a point to go to this spot, take a picture of the statue and say thanks for how Coach Owens and my UW experience changed my life for the better.

In the early 1980's I wrote Coach Owens a letter expressing my thanks for his influence on both my personal and coaching life.  He sent me back a hand written note.

I still have it.


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