Colorado College AD Supports Coach Owens

From: Colorado Springs Gazette
by David Ramsey

Scott Owens is in a slump.

But if you’re a fan of Owens and his coaching style, there’s no reason to worry. He’s in good standing – make that great standing – with his athletic director.

No doubt, times have been tough, or at least relatively tough in Tiger-land.

Colorado College hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 2005, and in three of the past four seasons the team has failed to play in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s Final Five.

Under Owens' direction, the Tigers twice won 30 games. In three of the past four seasons, they haven’t won 20.

I asked CC athletic director Ken Ralph if recent struggles alarm him.

“No,” he said. “I would love to say that it does because it would make good copy.

“We have expectations and we’re going to hold Scott accountable for those expectations but the expectations we have for our hockey program are deeper than just wins and losses.”

Even after two stormy seasons, Ralph remains fiercely supportive of Owens. This makes sense. Owens can construct elite teams. He averaged 27 wins from 2000-2005 and during that breezy five-season sprint he won five NCAA Tournament games and traveled to the Frozen Four.

Ralph believes good days are ahead. Freshmen goaltender Joe Howe and forward Rylan Schwartz return, and heralded recruit Jaden Schwartz (Rylan’s brother) is on the way to rescue the offense.

Jaden, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound forward, has collected 78 points (31 goals and 47 assists) this season for the Tri-City Storm of the USHL, and he’s expected to go as high as the first round of the upcoming NHL draft.

He’s only 17.

“A super talent,” Owens said.

With Howe and the Schwartz brothers leading the way, the wins and the trips to the NCAA Tournament will return, Ralph said.

His optimism has weight. Owens, a master recruiter, hasn’t gone anywhere. This is, remember, the same coach who recruited Mark Stuart, Peter Sejna, Marty Sertich, Brett Sterling and Richard Bachman.

Yet the future isn’t the main anchor for Ralph’s support. Ralph dislikes talking about Owens strictly in the context of CC’s record.

“To just say wins and losses are your primary criterion is too narrow for an academic institution like Colorado College,” Ralph said.

To Ralph’s eyes, Owens walks the proper path. The AD wonders about coaches who shout at officials or players in public.

“I think far too many coaches are not acting appropriately,” Ralph said. “You see George Gwozdecky running across the ice to yell at an official.”

Gwozdecky is, of course, coach of the Denver Pioneers. He earned a reprimand in the 2008-2009 season from his athletic director after taking a long walk across the ice at North Dakota to express displeasure with officials.

Ralph wants everyone to remember Owens declines to indulge in such impolite behavior.

“First and foremost,” Ralph said, “coaches are educators. … I appreciate his demeanor. It’s the approach of an educator. He’s not going to berate officials. He’s not going to berate kids in public.

“As an educator, I think that’s incredibly important to do, and yet some people look at it as a sign of weakness.”

I agree with Ralph.

Owens is steady. He keeps a tight grip on his emotions. He believes in the power and value of education. All of this is quite impressive.

Still, he needs to end his drought in the NCAA Tournament. He needs to travel to the Final Five. He needs more victories next season.

He’s not teaching chemistry. He’s coaching a hockey team.

And he’s paid, first and foremost, to win.


C Now said...

Out of fairness to CC, Scott Owens is great fit for that program. An Almuni, ae's a darn good recruiter, especially at the goalie position. His presence behind the bench, wil George's for the DU keeps the CC-DU rivalry exciting and competitive.

Aluuum said...

This swipe at George is uncalled for and also total nonsense. I know George quite well and he is a class act. He keeps a sharp focus on his kids academic progress and has sat more than one of them down because of class room problems. This reporter will be getting a sharp E Mail rebuke from me today.
Typical reporter casting aspersions about something he knows nothing about.

Anonymous said...

What a fool that AD is. I just sent him an e-mail, pointing out some of the ways that Gwozdecky has been an explempary person, and demanded a public apology to Gwoz. Here is his email address:

Tom Douglis said...

Ken Ralph should know better. I thoughr that was a cheap shot at Gwozdecky, too. There are any number of hockey coaches who have more histrionics, more teamn conduct issues as well as poorer on and off=ice performance than Gwox.

Gwoz has set a record of academic accomplishments as well as atheltic accomplishments and 98% of the time, conducts himself and his program in a quality manner.

Gwoz isn't perfectr, but I would take Gwoz over Owens any day and twice on Sunday in terms of accomplsihments and as a role model.

msbdu said...

I too just sent Ralph an email. I, for one, think that a little passion is not a bad thing. This guy has no business commenting on other coaches in the league. Gwoz's record, both academically and athletically, speak for themselves.

msbdu said...

Here is the response I received from Mr. Ralph:

George and I have a very good relationship. I have tremendous respect for
him as a coach and believe that he has done tremendous work for the
University of Denver. He is deserving of all of the accolades he has
received and the program at DU will continue to experience significant
levels of success with him at the helm.

Please know that not everything you see in the press is as it seems. When
talking to Mr Ramsey, he told me that many fans complain that Scott Owens
is not vocal enough on the bench. I responded that I prefer to have him
remain under control and not go over the top with yelling and screaming.
The example I gave was of Kansas State basketball coach Frank Martin.
Ramsey responded with "or what Gwoz did at North Dakota last year". He
then put that in quotes which made the comment look like it should be
attributed to me. That was not the case. When you work with the press
enough you get a little used to having things attributed to you that are
not correct. This is one of those cases.

When the article came out I saw the quotes around that statement my heart
sank a little. I would not want anything to come between the positive
relationships I have with the entire coaching staff at the University of
Denver. I am a believer that our rivalry should be about mutual respect
and admiration. The idea that a negative statement about DU or its
coaching staff would be attributed to me is not very palatable.



Anonymous said...

MSBDU: ha ha, I got the same response from Mr. Ralph. Seems like a good clarification to me, and perhaps a case where the reporter was over-zealous with his reporting.

puck swami said...

Ken's explanation makes some sense, and his e-mail reponse is admirable. CC is an honorable school, and I believe Ralph.

Ramsey is trying to stir the rivalry pot, and 'extending' quotes is a risky way to do it.

If this is true, Ramsey should apoologize to Ralph and to Gwoz.

msbdu said...

Swami, I just sent an email to Ramsey asking for an apology. Don't worry, I won't hold my breath waiting for it. I appreciate Ken responding so quickly. He sounds like a class act.

dggoddard said...

Good work getting to the bottom of the Gwoz quote. I too was amazed at the quote and that was why I posted the article. Once again LetsGoDU reader's rock.

Below is a pretty interesting quote from CC's AD from Ramsey's Blog. Lowering ticket prices is a very risky move for a sports team. Not only do you have to draw more fans to break even, but its harder to raise prices in the future.

I've mentioned it before. CC has a good product I just think they need to tweak their marketing and game night experience.

GAZETTE - What about attendance at World Arena?

KEN RALPH (CC AD) - “You talk to 90 percent of athletic directors of hockey programs and they’re concerned about attendance. We will have price reductions in all ticketed levels. We parlayed some of the success of the program into ticket prices that are beyond what this market can bear.

“When we talked to fans about why they weren’t attending games, it wasn’t even close. The No. 1 reason is price. We’re going to add more value to every single ticket. We’ll be rolling out the plan in the next couple of weeks.”

C Now said...

Being off campus and in that arena which was done on the cheap doesn't help attendance. They sould hvae tried to build something in the downtown area, but the USOC dictated the location too much.

dggoddard said...

What I like about CC's arena.

Great freeway access.

Very good restaurant options nearby.

Great sized building (7,200)

Many nearby hotels.

Safe, clean part of town.

Tons of affordable parking options.

Anonymous said...

Owens and his AD couldn't find "CLASS" or the ice rink with both hands.George is all class all the time. Amen

ScottA said...

To put a statement in quotes and attribute it to someone who never spoke it is piss-poor journalism, unethical, and quite possibly libelous. While it serves Mssr Ramsey's purposes (to sell more fishwrap) to fan the flames of the DU/CC rivalry, this is just bad reporting. Mr Ralph should banish Ramsey from the CC locker room until they win another NCAA championship...

Anonymous said...

I think it is telling that Ramsey didn't respond to my email. Fishwrap may be much too kind!

Anonymous said...

Ramsey is a looser bloviating hack that wishes he could write an article worth reading.

Many of us in the Springs would line our birdcages with his articles but they contain way too much crap to begin with to even think of using them in a birdcage, much less reading.

dggoddard said...

David Ramsey of the Colorado Springs Gazette sent LetsGoDU the following email. He did not mention the factual errors that Colorado College Athletic Director claimed were in the article.


Appreciate your interest, but I’d ask you to provide a brief teaser and a link next time.

You can’t take an entire article from our paper and run the whole thing on your site.

At least that’s what our paper’s lawyers tell me.


- David Ramsey

dggoddard said...

David Ramsey of the Colorado Springs Gazette sent LetsGoDU the following email. He did not mention the factual errors that Colorado College Athletic Director claimed were in the article.


Appreciate your interest, but I’d ask you to provide a brief teaser and a link next time.

You can’t take an entire article from our paper and run the whole thing on your site.

At least that’s what our paper’s lawyers tell me.


- David Ramsey