John Owen


John graduated from Missoula County High School where he placed 2nd in the Montana State High School Wrestling Tournament and compiled a 64-3 won loss record. He attended Yakima Valley College where he won the most Inspirational Athlete Award in 1970.

He graduated with honors from Central Washington University in 1972 and received a Masters in Education from Whitworth College in 1977 and a Masters in Educational Administration from the University of Idaho in 1989. John served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam where he won the Bronze Star.

John started his wrestling coaching career in 1972 at South Umpqua High School in Myrle Creek, Oregon. He compiled a 72-11-2 won loss record and his 1974 team placed 2nd at the 1974 AA Oregon State Wrestling Tournament. He became assistant wrestling coach at North Idaho College in 1975 and in 1978 accepted the head coaching job at NIC which he held until 1997. During his tenure his wrestling teams won 8 national junior college championships, four 2nd place finishes and five 3rd place finishes. He coached 35 individual national champions and 102 junior college All-Americans. His college career coaching record was 304 wins, 23 losses and 2 draws. John was named Junior College Coach of the Year four times and was inducted into the National Junior College Hall of Fame in 1989. John was chosen as the head freestyle coach for the Junior Pan American Games in 1979, the head freestyle coach of the USA team vs. Cuba in 1991, and the head freestyle coach of the USA team vs. Russia in 1992. He was named Idaho Coach of the Year in 1985, Inland Empire Coach of the Year in 1990, and Region 18 coach of the year 11 times.

John developed the North Idaho Wrestling Camp into the largest wrestling camp in the Pacific Northwest. He is the tournament director for the Tri-State Wrestling Tournament held at North Idaho College. He has served as Secretary/Treasurer for the National Junior College Wrestling Coaches Association and the Deputy Director of the Washington State Wrestling Association.

John was married to his wife Janet for 49 years and together they had four children: Jennifer, Nicole, Tommy and Brian. All of his children are still very active in the sports world. John passed away on January 19th, 2023 in Spokane.

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