Averett hires Tommy Owen as first head coach

Averett University has announced the hiring of Tommy Owen as the first wrestling coach in school history. Owen most recently was an assistant coach at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and also has coached at George Mason University and Boise State. Averett will begin competition in the 2017-2018 season and will be the 5th Division III wrestling team in Virginia along with Washington & Lee, Ferrum, Hampden-Sydney, and Southern Virginia.

Averett hires Owen as first head coach of men’s wrestling program

DANVILLE, Va. — Averett University Director of Athletics Meg Stevens announced the hiring of Tommy Owen as the first head coach of the men’s wrestling program Friday. The Cougars will begin competition during the 2017-18 academic year.

Owen has spent the last two seasons as the head assistant coach at Division I Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he has coached NCAA national qualifiers and two conference champions in each of the past two years. His teams have also been successful in the classroom, earning a top-14 Division I National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic Team ranking both years.

“I would like to thank Averett President Dr. Tiffany Franks and Director of Athletics Meg Stevens for this amazing opportunity,” Owen said. “I couldn’t be more humbled and excited to be chosen as the inaugural head coach at Averett. Having spent time as a college coach in Virginia, and with my wife being born and raised in the state, I feel this is the perfect opportunity for me to start a program at Averett and continue to build and strengthen wrestling in the state of Virginia and as a whole.”

Since 2013, Owen also served as a USA Wrestling national team volunteer coach, coaching a silver medalist and a bronze medalist at the 2014 University World Championships in Hungary.

“Tommy has a tremendous amount of coaching experience at many levels in the wrestling community,” Stevens said. “His knowledge and passion will be a great asset as we begin our first men’s wrestling program at Averett.”

Before joining SIUE’s coaching staff, Owen coached at Division I George Mason University from 2011-14 while also working as the regional training center coach for the Patriot Elite Wrestling Club. Owen’s collegiate coaching experience also included a stint from 2007-2008 as an assistant at Division I Boise State University, his alma mater.

Owen has also coached a number of club and high school teams, including a position as the head freestyle wrestling coach for Virginia USA Wrestling.

As a collegiate wrestler, Owen competed for Boise State in 2006-07. He began his wrestling career at Division I University of Minnesota, where he was a two-time NCAA national qualifier. He finished seven at the University Nationals Freestyle in 2003, was the Fila Junior National Champion in 2002 and competed at the Junior Pan American Championships in Bogota, Colombia, where he finished second in Greco-Roman and third in Freestyle. While at Minnesota, the team won the 2002 national championship and was the 2003 national runner-up. The Gophers also won the Big 10 Conference championship both of those seasons.

In high school, Owen was a three-time Washington state champion and a four-time finalist. He was the 2001 National High School Coaches Association national champion, a 1998 Cadet National Champion and a member of the 2000 Fila Junior World Team.

A native of Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, Owen received his bachelor’s degree in history from Boise State in 2006. He joins the Averett family, along with his wife, Jenny.

“I want to thank Mike Moyer and the NWCA along with all the organizations helping to build wrestling in all styles — folk style, freestyle and Greco-Roman,” Owen added. “Without their tireless effort and commitment to the sport, I would not have the opportunities that lie ahead of me.”