Jack Owens has worked as an assistant basketball coach in Ohio State for two and a half months and has started working out of his home in Columbus.
Owens, a former Purdue assistant coach and head coach for Miami (Ohio) for the past five years, was hired by OSU coach Chris Holtman in late March. He and longtime support staff member Mike Nettie are hired to replace a pair of departing assistants Ryan Pedon and Tony Skinn.
Owens and his wife Kamel are settling into their new home in Columbus with their three daughters, Alana (a graduate student in Miami), Annie and Annie. He met with members of the media on Wednesday to discuss his transition to OSU staff (see video above).
“It was good,” Owens said. “My family just moved in last week, so that move is over. The coaching staff is great. (The players) came back here a week or so ago. Everything is going well at this time.”
Owens, an Indianapolis native, had been out of work for just over a week. He was relieved of his duties in Miami on March 23 after a five-year stint as coach of the Redhawks. His teams set a record of 70-83 and appeared once after the season at the 2018 CBI. Miami was 14-18 last season. In 2020-21, the RedHawks scored their first win (12-11) since 2009.
He had previously worked as one of the principal assistant coaches Matt Pinter at Purdue. Discuss what drew him to Ohio.
“First of all, it was Coach Holtman. He’s a great guy and a great coach,” Owens said. “Just in passing, I was in the Big Ten and when he was in Butler I was in Purdue. Just crossing paths, I know he’s doing a great job. Ohio State is a great place to be and I Excited to be here.
“It’s just an opportunity to work with someone like Coach Holtman. We have a great staff here. Everyone is on the same page. You want to be around great people and people who do things the right way. Coach Holtman definitely does that.”
Owens has talked about going from being a head coach to helping him out again.
“When you’re the head coach, every decision that comes to your desk is like the final call,” Owens said. “Here, Coach Holtman is that guy and everyone is consistent with what he says. As an assistant coach, I want to come in here and give the best of my abilities and help the program move forward.
“I have been very fortunate to be an assistant coach on so many levels and I am familiar with Big Ten and being a head coach. I can understand some of the things that coach Holtmann is going through. As a former player, I can also talk to the players about what they are going through as well.”
Prior to joining Miami, Owens spent nine seasons on the staff at Purdue University, three seasons as an assistant coach and the last six seasons as its assistant head coach. During his time at West Lafayette, Boilermakers scored 209 wins (23.2/year), including 27 during his senior year (2016-17 season) to help Purdue win the Big Ten regular season.
In Owens’ nine seasons with Purdue, the Boilermakers have presented the NCAA Championship on seven occasions, and advanced to the Sweet 16 three different times.
Owens has helped produce five NBA draft picks, including AJ Hammons, Robbie Hummel, and several other professional basketball players. In 2017, he helped direct Caleb Swanigan to national attention, and was named one of the five finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, awarded to the nation’s best player.
Talk about that experience working with the painter at Purdue.
“It’s fun,” he said. “I was very lucky. The painter coach was a great guy and he gave me a chance. At the same time, you want to surround yourself with good people. Being here in Ohio, we want to go one step further. Now that I’m taking on Purdue, it might be a little different than going Against Coach Painter and these guys.But at the end of the day, we all want to win.
“Coach Painter is a good friend. Brad Stevens is a good friend of mine too. There are some guys you lean on and they obviously know Coach Holtman and everyone cares about coach and how he behaves in his work. You want to align yourself with the right people and he’s doing a great job.”