Oklahoma All-America Jim Owens died Saturday, June 6 at his home in Bigfork, Mont. He was 82. Playing end for the Sooners from 1946-49, he earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1
Oklahoma All-America Jim Owens died Saturday, June 6 at his home in Bigfork, Mont. He was 82.
Playing end for the Sooners from 1946-49, he earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982. He began his college career after an interruption to serve in the U.S. Navy Air Corps during World War II, and he entered the University of Oklahoma in time for the 1946 season. He played on the varsity for four years, one year under Hall of Fame coach Jim Tatum and three years under Hall of Fame coach Bud Wilkinson.
"He's undoubtedly one of the best football players I've ever coached, both offensively and defensively,” said Wilkinson. “He is one of the best tight ends to play college football."
In 1949, Oklahoma went 10-0-0 in the regular season co-captained by Owens, as the Sooners ran up 364 points against 88 for the opposition. Owens won All-America honors for his excellence on offense, and Oklahoma closed the season with a 35-0 Sugar Bowl victory over LSU. Owen's last two years the Sooners were 21-1.
He began a coaching career as an assistant to Wilkinson after graduation. He then spent six years as an assistant with Hall of Fame Coach Bear Bryant, including stints at Kentucky and Texas A&M. He landed to top job at Washington when his former Oklahoma teammate Darryl Royal left for the top job with Texas.
Owens coached the University of Washington 1957-74, tallying a 99-82-6 record. His 1959 and 1960 teams won the Rose Bowl, lending to his legend as a Huskie icon for his coaching accomplishments. In 2003, Washington dedicated a statue of him outside Husky Stadium.
At Classen High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1944, Owens stood out as an excellent football player, winning high praises as co-captain of the state championship team and individual All-State honors.