From surviving the Great Depression and Dust Bowl eras to driving a Model A Ford, hearing and watching news footage of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and serving in the Korean War, Ted Owens’ life is full of stories in and out of sports.
In 1956, Ted Owens got his start in coaching basketball at Cameron Junior College in Lawton, Oklahoma, where he also helped lead the baseball program to a national title in 1958.
After that, he went on to match wits with basketball coaching legends Henry Iba, Adolph Rupp, Dean Smith, Bob Knight and John Wooden and traveled to Japan, China, Spain, Italy, Belgium, France, Switzerland, the Philippines, Korea, England and Israel to teach the game he loves.
Ted Owens guided the University of Kansas basketball team to six Big Eight conference championships and seven times to the NCAA Tournament. He was also a five-time Big Eight Coach of the Year and 1978 National Coach of the Year. Under Owens, the Jayhawks reached the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen five times and the Elite Eight three times. His 1971 team was the first undefeated team in Big Eight history (14-0), winning both conference and tournament titles, and finished with an overall record of 27-3. Owens finished his career at Kansas with nine Big Eight Tournament titles.
“I had some time to dream while I was hoeing cotton back on that farm in southwest Oklahoma,” said Owens of his small-town beginning in Hollis, OK. “But my dreams were never so great as to imagine what I have been privileged to do during my lifetime.”
Interview with Robin Siegfried
Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Date Created: May 12, 2016
Date Published: December 2, 2019
Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.
Tags: Dust Bowl, Depression, Picking Cotton, WPA, Roosevelt, Model A Ford, Bud Wilkinson, Henry Iba, Adolph Rupp, Thurgood Marshall, Phillips 66, Dr. Naismith, 60 Minutes, Vi-etnam, Phog Allen, Oral Roberts, Eddie Sutton, Bill Self