George Mason Head Wrestling Coach Joe Russell has announced that Tommy Owen has been hired as an assistant coach for the Mason wrestling program. A native of Spokane, Wash., Owen was most recently the head coach of Central Valley High School in Spokane Valley, Washington where he was named the Washington 4A Region 4 Coach of the Year for the 2010-2011 season.
“I am excited Tommy has joined me at Mason,” said Russell. “Tommy comes from a great wrestling family and has grown up around college wrestling. He knows what it takes to build a program and develop successful student-athletes. We will work hard to make George Mason University proud of their wrestling program.”
Owen was also an assistant coach at Boise State University in the 2007-08 season where he helped the Broncos to a 2008 PAC 10 championship. He took over the assistant coaching duties after wrestling two seasons for Boise State. He transferred to the Bronco program following three years of wrestling at the University of Minnesota.
“The thing I’m most excited about is being able to work with Joe,” remarked Owen. “Being able to work for someone like Coach Russell is very special to me. I think Mason just hired one of the top wrestling coaches in the country. I felt he was a big part of all the success that Minnesota had while he was there.”
Owen has a long family legacy in wrestling and it helped him develop in to a well respected Division I wrestler and Division I wrestling coach. “A lot of people say you’ve got to learn through experience but for me I got to learn through listening from the experience of others, said Owen”. It definitely fast tracked my coaching career because from a young age I was able to pick up on so much from other people. The experience and knowledge that I took from growing up in that surrounding was very important for me.”
Owen competed in the 141-pound weight class for the Gophers where he was a two-year starter. As a junior during the 2004-05 season, he finished the year with an overall record of 11-15 and placed seventh at the Big Ten Conference Championships, advancing to the NCAA National Tournament.
His first year wrestling at Boise State was in 2005-06, but after competing in only one match an injury forced him to miss the rest of the season. Due to the early season injury, Owen was granted another year of eligibility from the NCAA. In his final season at Boise, Owen has hampered by another season ending injury after starting the season with a 4-6 overall record.
Owen was a three-time Washington state champion at University High School and placed runner-up the other season. He was a high school national champion in 2001, and a cadet national champion and a 2000 junior world team member. His high school coach was his uncle Don Owen.
“I’m excited to be able to come here and work in an environment where I will learn every day,” reflected Owen. “It will make work fun and exciting and I think that will carry over to what we bring to the team. We’re taking over a program and trying to bring a good attitude and the right mental approach to help these kids.”