Saturday, January 7, 2012


Kansas, Oklahoma still tied together


— Men moving to start new phases of their basketball lives so often travel the roads that connect Kansas and Oklahoma.

Bill Self played at Oklahoma State and worked as a camp counselor for Larry Brown, where Self aggressively turned Brown’s courtesy offer to “let me know if there is ever anything I can do for you,” into a job as a graduate assistant coach at Kansas.

Self hit the road in the opposite direction to work as full-time assistant on the staffs of Leonard Hamilton and Eddie Sutton at Oklahoma State. After enduring an 18-game losing streak on his way to turning around Oral Roberts, Self moved across town long enough to take Tulsa to the Elite Eight. After three years in Illinois, Self returned to his coaching roots and is in his ninth season at Kansas.

Ted Owens played college basketball at Oklahoma, ultimately worked his way to Lawrence and then worked his way up to head basketball coach and took the Jayhawks to two Final Fours in 19 seasons.

Now it’s Teddy’s turn. Teddy Owens, son of the former KU coach, was born in Lawrence, graduated from Oklahoma State, and is in his first season on the staff of Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger, who played and coached at Kansas State and is back in the Big 12 after coaching at Illinois, in the NBA and at UNLV.

Teddy was living in Tulsa and coaching high school basketball when he received the offer that launched his college coaching career at the entry level. Naturally, Teddy wasn’t at home when he received the offer. He was in Lawrence. He had just finished a two-week stretch as counselor at the Bill Self Basketball Camp.

“I was walking out of Yello Sub, ready to drive home when coach Kruger called and offered me the job,” Teddy said of the moment that he said came about a month after he expressed interest in an entry-level job on the staff. “That was the easiest four-hour drive of my life.”

Even though the move up to college came with a move down in job title from head coach to coaching pupil. Teddy, 30, is taking classes toward a master’s in human resources.

“I never thought I’d go back to school,” Teddy said. “I’m enjoying my classes.”

Not as much as the lessons he learns from Kruger. Owens performs odd jobs ranging from mailing letters to recruits to rebounding for players practicing their jumpers.

“Coach Kruger’s really good about letting us sit in on meetings so we can learn from what they do,” he said. “I was 26, 27 when I first became a high school coach, and I was a little hot-headed. Coach Kruger is so patient with the guys and then there are times when he gets fired up, and they really feed off his intensity. I’m learning a lot from him.”

OU’s coach is a native Kansan, from Silver Lake; KU’s coach an Oklahoman, from Edmond. Kruger, a two-time Big Eight Player of the Year, was an assistant at K-State during Self’s first season playing for Oklahoma State. Self was Kruger’s successor as head coach of Illinois.

Many in today’s Noble Center crowd will have connections to both coaches. Billy Tubbs, OU’s coach when Self played for OSU and a coaching foe of Ted Owens and Kruger, will be in attendance. Ted Owens, who coached against Kruger the player and the K-State assistant and against Self the player, will be there too.

Teddy was not even 3 when his father lost his job at Kansas, but does have a vague memory of his mother taking him for walks and letting him play in the Chi Omega Fountain, a slice of forbidden fruit for the future coach.

When Teddy and/or Ted make trips to Lawrence, they need not book a hotel. Naturally, the family that welcomes them has a strong connection to both KU and OU basketball. Jon Hofer and his wife, the former Paige Pendarvis, welcome the Owenses into their Lawrence home. Paige is the granddaughter of Ted’s college coach, Bruce Drake, and his wife, Myrtle. Donna (Drake) Pendarvis, Paige’s mom, Bruce’s daughter, was a cheerleader at OU when her father coached there and Bud Wilkinson coached the Sooners to 47 consecutive football victories. Paige cheered at KU.

Jon Hofer informs that Donna died at the age of 70 on the day of OU basketball’s 100th anniversary banquet. Myrtle died six weeks later at 98 on April 4, 2007, the 19th anniversary of KU’s national championship victory against OU, the last day of Paige’s cheerleading career.

With so many connections through so many generations, it sure would have been a shame to see the Big 12 blow up.


Scott MacWilliams 9 years, 8 months ago

Da Sooner bone connected to da. . . . . Hawk bone......

Da Hawk bone connected to da . . . . . Chalk bone....

baldwinjhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

  • 1 Just as long as we don't have to read about the connections we have to the Mizlosers when that game approaches...ok keegs

Matt Bowers 9 years, 8 months ago

Great article and a great read...nice work Keegs!

Rock Chalk

Jeremy Paul 9 years, 8 months ago

Yello sub......oh man. I haven't had a sandwich from there in like 15 years. Delicious.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

Isn't Yello Sub gone now? A Jimmy John's in that spot, right?

Bville Hawk 9 years, 8 months ago

It's still there, on 23rd St just east of the Hastings at 23rd & Iowa.

David Lara 9 years, 8 months ago

Unfortunately the good yellow sub was razed for that oread hotel. The one on 23rd wasn't near as good and horrible service to boot.

Dyrk Dugan 9 years, 8 months ago

one thing from the article: i did not know that Ted Owens' son is on Lonnie's staff.

all of this is interesting....but it doesn't matter to the bottom line: KU needs to win this game. the games in Norman are usually tough, but we've played pretty well down there lately....let's see how this group fares.

Go Jayhawks!

REHawk 9 years, 8 months ago

From our current vantage point, it seems bizarre that Bill Self should ever have spent a season with an 18 game losing streak. That, undoubtedly, contributed to the ferocious winning drive which now highlights his statistical legacy. Some of us say, "Play the bench! To heck with pre-league wins and losses." Bill Self is channeled to suffer a loss only when it is designed as a motivational kick in the fanny to a group of hardheads who appear not to be listening to his instruction. And even those very very rare anomalies are perpetuated only before January.

Lanny Welch 9 years, 8 months ago

I attended KU toward the end of Ted's tenure and remember Ted and hs wife taking walks with their young child on W. Campus Road walking toward the Chi-O fountain. I had no idea where that child was now, until today. Thanks Tom.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 8 months ago

I don't mean to be too rude, but OU and OSU are not the same school, I think most of us would be very upset if one was weaving a story about the University of Kansas and half the time referring to K-State in the process.

I think you made a lot of stretches in this "story".

Kent Wells 9 years, 8 months ago

I think Kansas and Oklahoma are states - not universities. Kansas, Oklahoma still tied together.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 8 months ago

Then why all of the university references to KU and than OU/OSU.

Kent Wells 9 years, 8 months ago

it is about 4 universities in the two states and their connections to each other.

Mike Kendall 9 years, 8 months ago

I enjoyed the article, Tom. I get the angle. Thanks!

John Mueller 9 years, 8 months ago

maybe, but since Ted Owens went to 2 final fours, me guessing he's had more professional success that you've had, jackwagon.

Ted Owens was the coach during my entire childhood and i have alot of fond memories of him. That said, I am glad for Larry Brown's tenure during my years on the hill.

But, a quick story about Coach Owens. I was sitting at lunch my with buddy from Va Tech prior to the most glorious Kansas football victory of my lifetime.

I saw Coach having lunch with his daughter, but i wasn't gonna bother him.

He came up to me, introduced himself and we shared a nice conversation.

He is a very, very humble, and genuine man and has continued to remain loyal to KU even though i am sure his departure was painful. (Most of us don't get fired in the public eye.) Class guy.

Later that day at a KU pep rally, he was completely surrounded by his players.

Booty Neal, Donnie Von Moore, Dale Greenlee sp?, Roger Morningstar, Keith Koenigs, Tom Kivisto, Tony Guy, David Maggley, Paul Mokeski, Art Housey those are the Jayhawks of my childhood.....

Btw, to win a Championship in the prime years of Coach Owens career, you had to beat a guy named Wooden.......

John Mueller 9 years, 8 months ago

First, sorry for the name calling. I should learn to never type on first reaction.

I was reacting to your lack of respect for somebody that made a significant contribution to Kansas basketball and also the fact that it is incredibly easy to stand on the sidelines and be negative and critical.

I don't think anybody would disagree that Kansas basketball reached new heights with the contributions of Larry Brown, Roy Williams and HCBS.

Coach Owens made a significant contribution to KU basketball. Treat him with respect, thank him for his contribution and also be thankful for the new heights the program enjoys today.

It was a different time. Much smaller tournament, significantly different recruiting environment (virtually zero national television exposure), John Wooden era, etc.


actorman 9 years, 8 months ago

I'm glad you found Owens to be a class individual, springtx. But after my experience with him at his basketball camp when I was 9 years old, let's just say that I didn't shed any tears when he was fired.

I also found him to be extremely frustrating as a coach, making a lot of questionable decisions and generally not getting enough out of the talent that he had.

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