Women’s golf adds aide

BY J.T. BUGOS | AUGUST 25, 2009 7:05 AM

The Iowa women’s golf team has a new assistant coach, and John Owens is ready to put a new spin on things in the program.

Owens most recently coached at Troy University in Alabama. He started as a graduate assistant in 2007 and received his master’s degree while there.

Before his stint at Troy, Owens was head coach at Division-II Midland Lutheran College from 2005-2007. He also attended Midland Lutheran and was a member of the golf team. He finished all-Conference three times, and after graduating, the school asked him to take over as head coach.

He experienced a lot of success during his short time coaching at Midlands. He won the NAIA Region III Coach of the Year award in both 2006 and 2007 and added the Great Plains Athletics Conference Coach of the Year in 2007 to his trophy case.

After a year and a half at Troy, Owens heard about the job opening at Iowa. The opportunity caught his interest, so he researched head coach Kelly Crawford. Owens found it to be a good fit, and he is now in Iowa City.

“Of all the applications we had, his résumé stood out,” Crawford said. “I felt that he and I clicked and that he would be a really good fit for our program.”

Crawford expects him to have an influence right away. She sees him not only as a teacher but able to give a different perspective. And she appreciates his top-notch recruiting.

“I don’t feel the first couple of tournaments I’m going to be micro-managing him,” Crawford said. “He’s going to be off doing what he needs to do, and I have complete faith and trust that he’s going to do an amazing job.”

Owens embraces the opportunity to provide a new perspective. He hopes his experience as both a head and assistant coach will allow him to bring new ideas and enthusiasm to the team.

He said he is a stickler for fine-tuning and honing the short game. He plans on bringing new twists to drills, and in doing those drills differently, he hopes the women’s games will improve.

He believes the team can win a Big Ten championship, and he said, to do that, he must bring in top talent and keep an upbeat attitude.

“A big thing is to keep bringing in great girls every year and making the girls we have now better,” Owens said. “Being optimistic is big, because it’s easy to get down on yourself. As a coach I have to bring that to the table.”

Crawford is also optimistic about Owens joining the program and his high goals.

“There’s no doubt in my mind he’ll do a great job. He’s got a great knowledge of the game, and he understands the competitiveness,” she said. “With all the candidates that we had, I feel I got a real nugget with John.”

Practice will begin Wednesday, so Owens has yet to put his coaching influence on the team. He has been on numerous recruiting trips since arriving in Iowa City in July, and he is now looking forward to learning from Crawford and getting the season underway.

“I don’t think I’m really nervous. I’m more excited and anxious to get started,” he said. “I’m excited to finally get going and get into some competitions and see where we rank and what we need to work on.”

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