Ashland’s Owens Named AFCA President For 2016

Ashland’s Owens Named AFCA President For 2016

Ashland University head football coach Lee Owens is entering his 13th season leading the Eagles in 2016, but he is adding another title to the top of his resume this year, as well.

On Tuesday (Jan. 12) afternoon, Owens was introduced as the president of the American Football Coaches Association for 2016, moving up from second vice-president of the AFCA.

"It's a tribute, number one, to Ashland University," Owens said. "There's only two Division II head coaches on the board, and there's a bunch of Division II schools. The fact that I was at Ashland University and in the GLIAC was a big consideration when the coaches voted.

"Personally, just to have the opportunity to serve a profession that has meant so much to me for so many years, it's important."

In 2015, Owens led the Eagles to a 10-0 regular-season record and a 10-1 overall mark, including three home wins against nationally-ranked teams, and their fourth NCAA Division II postseason appearance in his 12 seasons. He also led AU to its highest-ever ranking of No. 3 in the AFCA Division II Top 25 poll.

Following the season, Owens earned Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Football Co-Coach of the Year and AFCA Division II Region 3 Coach of the Year honors.

Owens is 89-42 (.679) at Ashland, with a pair of GLIAC titles and three GLIAC Coach of the Year honors to his credit.

Owens was elected to the AFCA Board of Trustees in 2007. He has been an active member of the association, serving on several committees, and is the chairman of the AFCA Division II Coaches' All-America Team Selection committee.

Owens is the third Ohio-based coach to be president of the AFCA this decade, following Cincinnati's Tommy Tuberville (2015) and Mount Union's Larry Kehres (2010). The distinction isn't lost on Owens, whose entire coaching career – college and high school – since 1977 has been spent in the Buckeye State.

"The state of Ohio has always been so well represented in our association," Owens said.

Owens becoming AFCA president very much is a full-circle moment. He was an assistant coach at Ohio State when head coach John Cooper served in the same capacity in 1992, and Cooper is in San Antonio, Texas, at the AFCA Convention to receive the 2016 Amos Alonzo Stagg Award – at a luncheon Owens will emcee.

"I remember going to the banquet where he presided," said Owens, "and you think about that and the impression that it made. I looked at the position that he held at that time. But I really think it was that particular evening with coach Cooper that the seed was planted.

"We've got to continue to tell the story about the positives of our game, and we've got to continue to do the things we need to do to make the changes we need to make to protect our game. For the next year…I get a chance to help be a spokesperson for that. As long as I coach, I would like to continue to serve."


List of AFCA Presidents

1921 Maj. Charles D. Daly, U.S. Military Academy (Chair)


1969 Paul Dietzel, University of South Carolina

1922 Maj. Charles D. Daly, U.S. Military Academy


1970 Frank Broyles, University of Arkansas

1923 John W. Heisman, University of Pennsylvania


1971 Earle Edwards, North Carolina State University

1924 John W. Heisman, Rice Institute


1972 Paul Bryant, University of Alabama

1925 Robert Zuppke, University of Illinois


1973 John McKay, University of Southern California

1926 Gilmour Dobie, Cornell University


1974 Bob Blackman, University of Illinois

1927 William H. Cowell, University of New Hampshire


1975 Darrell Royal, University of Texas

1928 William W. Roper, Princeton University


1976 Eddie Robinson, Grambling State University

1929 Hugo Bezdek, Pennsylvania State College


1977 Ben Martin, U.S. Air Force Academy

1930 W.A. Alexander, Georgia Tech


1978 Carmen Cozza, Yale University

1931 John F. Meehan, Manhattan College


1979 Charles McClendon, Louisiana State University

1932 Dr. Marvin A. Stevens, Yale University


1980 Jerry Claiborne, University of Maryland

1933 D.E. McGugin, Vanderbilt University


1981 Harold "Tubby" Raymond, University of Delaware

1934 Dana X. Bible, University of Nebraska


1982 Jim Ostendarp, Amherst College

1935 B.W. Bierman, University of Minnesota


1983 Bo Schembechler, University of Michigan

1936 D.O. McLaughry, Brown University


1984 Dave Maurer, Wittenberg University

1937 Harry Kipke, University of Michigan


1985 Vince Dooley, University of Georgia

1938 Harry A. Stuhldreher, University of Wisconsin


1986 Vic Rowen, San Francisco State University

1939 Lou Little, Columbia University


1987 LaVell Edwards, Brigham Young University

1940 A.N. McMillin, Indiana University


1988 Joe Restic, Harvard University

1941 Fritz Crisler, University of Michigan


1989 Don James, University of Washington

1942 Madison Bell, Southern Methodist University


1990 John Majors, University of Tennessee

1943 Madison Bell, Southern Methodist University


1991 Bill Manlove, Widener University

1944 Ray Morrison, Temple University


1992 John Cooper, Ohio State University

1945 Ray Morrison, Temple University


1993 Hayden Fry, University of Iowa

1946 Richard C. Harlow, Harvard University


1994 Ron Schipper, Central College

1947 E.E. Wieman, University of Maine


1995 Billy Joe, Florida A&M University

1948 Harvey Harman, Rutgers University


1996 Fisher DeBerry, U.S. Air Force Academy

1949 L.R. Meyer, Texas Christian University


1997 Don Nehlen, West Virginia University

1950 Lynn O. Waldorf, University of California


1998 Roy Kidd, Eastern Kentucky University

1951 Lloyd P. Jordan, Harvard University


1999 Rocky Rees, Shippensburg University

1952 Carl G. Snavely, University of North Carolina


2000 Bob Ford, University at Albany

1953 Don Faurot, University of Missouri


2001 Joe Taylor, Hampton University

1954 George A. Munger, University of Pennsylvania


2002 Glen Mason, University of Minnesota

1955 Ray Eliot, University of Illinois


2003 Phil Fulmer, University of Tennessee

1956 Jess C. Neely, Rice Institute


2004 Ken Hatfield, Rice University

1957 George K. James, Cornell University


2005 Scot Dapp, Moravian College

1958 Charles B. Wilkinson, University of Oklahoma


2006 Mel Tjeerdsma, Northwest Missouri State University

1959 Wallace Butts, University of Georgia


2007 Ken Sparks, Carson-Newman College

1960 Charles A. Engle, Pennsylvania State University


2008 Tyrone Willingham, University of Washington

1961 Jack C. Curtice, Stanford University


2009 Dick Tomey, San Jose State University

1962 William D. Murray, Duke University


2010 Larry Kehres, University of Mount Union

1963 Woody Hayes, Ohio State University


2011 Rob Ash, Montana State University

1964 Len Casanova, University of Oregon


2012 Tim Murphy, Harvard University

1965 Abe Martin, Texas Christian University


2013 Mack Brown, University of Texas

1966 Dan Jessee, Trinity College


2014 Mike Welch, Ithaca College

1967 Ben Schwartzwalder, Syracuse University


2015 Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati

1968 Murray Warmath, University of Minnesota


2016 Lee Owens, Ashland