“This is a dream come true,” said Owens who became the first Northern Illinois undergrad to serve as a head coach in a revenue program at the DeKalb-based institution since Hall of Fame head football coach Howard Fletcher (1956-68). “I remember when I was a sophomore and I told (then head coach) Jane (Albright) that once I graduated, I would come back as her assistant in two or three years. This is even better. I can’t explain how excited I am to be part of the Huskie family again. I’ve had a few other (head coaching) opportunities, this was the best fit. Things just fell into place. It was just meant to be. Northern Illinois was one of the best times of my life. I hope our kids can experience what I experienced at NIU.This coach has the proper ambitions, and the proper apprenticeship.
Owens’ ultimate goals in her new Northern Illinois cage role? Win the Mid-American Conference and head to the NCAA. “I want our students to enjoy playing the game, enjoy the collegiate experience, and enjoy the time with their teammates,” Owens admitted. Recruiting? “No doubt, we have to get into Chicago. NIU is a Chicago school.Coach Owens has been instrumental in developing several of Notre Dame's centers. That she came to work for Muffet McGraw at Notre Dame and participated in their national title run might be evidence of a good leadership principle at work: bring in people who might be better than you. There was a game in 1989 or 1990 when a new coach called Muffet McGraw brought a weak Notre Dame team into DeKalb to be destroyed by Northern Illinois. That was Jane Albright and Deb Patterson coaching, Carol Owens, Tammy Hinchee, Denise Dove, Lisa Foss, and several other talented kids playing.
“I had a great experience here. Playing under Jane, Deb Patterson (now the head coach at Kansas State University), and Kamie Etheridge (also at KSU)---all were huge influences on me. And Muffet allowed me to grow and get ready for the next step in my career. I still seek their guidance in everything I do. They were all instrumental to me as a coach.”