By John Boccacino/Sports Information Director
Chances are good that if there is an intercollegiate sport offered by Keuka College, Ken Owen has served as either a head coach or an assistant coach for that sport.
The number of sports Owen has coached spiked by two when he was recently promoted to take over the head coaching duties of the Storm’s men’s and women’s tennis teams, meaning of the 16 intercollegiate athletics offerings made available by Keuka, Owen has coached nine of these sports.
Owen has been associated with the Storm’s athletics teams in many coaching capacities during his career, which spans to the 2004 school year when he took over the softball coaching reigns.
He has served as a coach for Keuka’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, men’s and women’s golf teams, men’s and women’s tennis teams, as well as both the women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse squads.
The tennis program is in capable hands with Owen, who has served as assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s teams under Matt Tantalo for the last several years.
“I’m very excited to coach our tennis teams. I definitely have some learning to do and it’s been a while since I’ve had to recruit, but I’m ready for this opportunity,” said Owen, who lives in Penn Yan with his wife of 38 years, Sandy. The couple has two children, Kristopher (33) and Kelly (31).
“Last year, I told [athletic director] Dave Sweet that if anything opened up coaching that maybe he could give me a look at doing more this year. I’m a sports nut, I love to play sports and I love to coach, and I love the camaraderie of sports and the lessons in teamwork that can be learned. I can’t remember having a bad day coaching. Win or lose, as long as the student-athletes gave their best effort and worked hard, that’s all I can ask.”
Owen, a Penn Yan graduate, first picked up a tennis racquet before his junior year of high school. He said he “instantly fell in love” with the game and played two years of varsity tennis and also two years at Alfred State, where he earned a two-year degree while excelling on the court at fourth singles. During each of his two years on campus, Owen dropped just two matches during the regular season.
Following a stint at Rochester Institute of Technology, Owen landed a job in Canandaigua before being transferred to New Jersey, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1980.
After moving back to Geneva in 1981, Owen eventually took control of his father Kenneth’s dry cleaning business, K&L Cleaners.
Ken and his son, Kristopher, now run the business, which expanded five years ago when Owen bought a second dry cleaning shop in Geneva.
As his children were growing up, Owen was heavily involved in their lives, especially on the playing fields. He coached Kristopher and Kelly’s baseball, basketball, soccer and softball teams, and now that his son is prepared to take over the day-to-day operations of K&L Cleaners, Owen decided the time was right to become even more involved in the Storm’s sports teams.
“I just love coaching and love being around the student-athletes; they keep me young and active,” said Owen, who is also entering his seventh year as an assistant basketball coach.
“I look at this as a challenge. I’m a laid-back coach, I’m not a yeller or a screamer, and being an assistant coach for many of these sports, I haven’t had to be a yeller. It’s just a personal philosophy, that’s not how I coached my kids and that’s not how I coach here. My approach is, if someone beats us, they’re better than us and there’s nothing wrong with that so long as you tried your best.”
The Storm, which has posted a pair of 8-1 wins in the early portion of the season, returns to action with a 5 p.m. non-conference clash with the University of Pitt-Bradford on Thursday, Oct. 4.
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