Pitt State assistant coach takes NFL job with Carolina Panthers

Jody Owens spent two years at PSU as a co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
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PITTSBURG, Kan. –Pittsburg State assistant football coach Jody Owens is lucky enough to coach in the NFL, accepting a position on the Carolina Panthers coaching staff.

“I just feel like it’s right for me to take this opportunity,” Owens said, “It’s the right decision and the right opportunity for me to grow and try to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself. – who are to be in the NFL and win a Super Bowl.

Owens will be an offensive assistant coach for the Panthers, working with the team’s offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who was hired in January. Owens, who served as linebacker coach and co-defensive coordinator at Pittsburg State, will provide defensive perspective for the offensive side of the ball with the Panthers.

“Coach Rhule kinda called me out of the blue, and it just took off from there,” Owens said of Panthers head coach Matt Rhule, “He called me on Sunday. from the Super Bowl to set up a Zoom meeting for that Monday. We spoke on Monday, and then I flew out for an in-person interview that Tuesday.

Owens spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Pitt State under head coach Brian Wright.

“I was thrilled that Coach Wright gave me the opportunity to coach such a historic program in Pittsburgh,” said Owens. “It has been a privilege to experience the program and its history. When I arrived here my goal was to leave the place better than I found it. I think the linebacking group and the defense speak for themselves.

Last fall, Pitt State had one of the best defensive units in the MIAA, allowing just 19.5 points per game. They were one of only two teams in the conference to hold teams under 20 points per game. The Gorillas were also #2 in the MIAA in total defense and rushing defense.

He coached a group of linebackers that produced his first All-American in eight years, with PJ Sarwinski earning All-America recognition.

The last Pitt State linebacker to be named an All-American was Nate Dreiling in 2013.

“One of my goals as a linebacker coach was to try to get an All-American in the roster every year I was here,” Owens said, “We were able to do that. that and developing those guys is something I will always be proud of.

Although he only spent two years at Pitt State, Owens says he developed a deep connection with the program, the players and the community – and informing his players of his intentions to leave was not easy. .

“There were a lot of emotions,” Owens says as he told the team about his decision to leave, “We really care about each other and we care about what we built. What we built was more bigger than football. They were happy for me, but they were also sad that our relationship had to pass from here.

“Our guys challenged me every day to be a better coach. Every morning I prayed that I could make a difference in their lives and give them something they needed to succeed,” Owens concludes on his move to PSU, “It was important for us to be active in the community and to make sure our guys were the best young men possible, and I think we did that.

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