Steve Owens, Bryant Bulldogs

Bryant Bulldogs

Steve Owens enters his eighth season at the helm of the Bryant Bulldogs baseball program in 2018. In seven seasons, Owens has posted a 255-141-1 record, building the Bulldogs into one of the best in the Northeast Region and one of the top mid-majors in the country. He has led the Bulldogs to three 40-win seasons, six-straight Northeast Conference Regular-Season titles and three NCAA tournaments.

Entering his 27th year as a college head coach, Owens holds a career record of 842-440-2 (.657), placing him in the top 20 among active Division I coaches in career winning percentage. He also ranks in the top 30 among active head coaches in career victories after earning his 800th with a 7-3 victory over LIU Brooklyn on May 8, 2016. Even more impressive is the fact that Owens has produced 26-straight winning seasons as a skipper. Owens’ postseason accomplishments are just as extensive, as he boasts a 68-44 (.607) career record in the postseason.

Over the past seven seasons, Owens has earned four NEC Coach of the Year awards (2012, ‘13, ‘14, ‘16) and ABCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year honors in 2013 and 2014. His teams have won 30 games in five of his seven seasons and have won 40 games three times. Owens’ teams have gone 152-47 (.764) in NEC play and have won six-straight regular-season crowns. In addition, 48 players have earned all-conference honors and 10 have earned All-American honors in his seven seasons at the helm.

The 2017 season saw the Black and Gold win 29 games and claim their sixth-straight regular season title, the longest streak for any school in the country. The Bryant Bulldogs took home three major NEC year-end awards and had seven named All-NEC.

Owens guided the Bryant Bulldogs to their best season in program history in 2016, winning a program-record 47 games and finishing the season with the best winning percentage in the country (79.7). He led the Bulldogs to a fifth-straight NEC Regular-Season title, their third NEC Tournament title in four years and a No. 2 seed in the Charlottesville Regional, a first for an NEC school. Bryant finished the season with the best run differential in the country (+4.4) and an RPI of 35. The Bulldogs ranked in the top 25 in 12 team categories, became the first NEC team to sweep all four major awards, had a record 11 players named All-NEC, 10 more named All-New England and five earned All-American citations.

In 2015, the Bulldogs won 29 games and claimed their fourth-straight regular season title, becoming the first team in league history to accomplish that feat. Bryant advanced to the NEC Championship game for the third-straight year, finishing as the runner-up. The Bulldogs featured nine All-NEC selections, the NEC Pitcher of the Year for the second-straight year and the NEC Rookie of the Year for the fourth-straight season. The Bulldogs led the NEC nearly every offensive category and finished seventh in the country in triples, 11th in slugging percentage, 12th in shutouts and 19th in scoring.

The Black and Gold put together another outstanding season under the watchful eye of Owens in 2014. In addition to their second-straight 40-win season, the Bryant Bulldogs earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament for the second-straight year and finished as the top ranked team in New England. Bryant possessed one of the most balanced and dynamic teams that Owens has ever coached, ranking top 25 nationally in batting average (14th, .302), scoring (15th, 6.7), runs (19th, 386), doubles per game (20th, 1.98), doubles (22nd, 115), home runs per game (23rd, 0.67), home runs (23rd, 39), slugging percentage (9th, .436), stolen bases per game (13th, 1.71), stolen bases (7th, 99), ERA (21st, 2.84), hits allowed per nine (13th, 7.41), OBP (13th, .391), WHIP (15th, 1.17) and shutouts (7th, 12). Owens was named NEC Coach of the Year for an unprecedented third-straight year and his team took home both NEC Pitcher and Rookie of the Year honors.

In 2013, Owens led his charges to an impressive 45-18-1 record that included a conference tournament championship in the school’s first year of Division I post season eligibility.  Bryant advanced to the Kansas State Regional as a No. 3 seed, earning the school’s first-ever NCAA D1 win with a first round victory.  They finished the season with an RPI of 42 and the nation’s 18th-highest winning percentage.   The Bulldogs ranked fifth nationally in runs given up, 16th in scoring margin and 10th in pitching.  Bryant set program and NEC records for overall (45) and league (27) wins in 2013 and posted a 19-game winning streak, the longest in the country. The Bulldogs also achieved their first ever national ranking at the Division I level, coming in at No. 30 in the Collegiate Baseball weekly poll.

Owens didn’t miss a beat in his first two seasons at Bryant either, posting 30 wins seasons in 2011 and 2012. The Bulldogs posted 30 wins in his first season, finishing fourth in the NEC with a 19-12 record. The Bryant Bulldogs rebounded in 2012 to post 33 wins and won its second regular-season title in three years with a 24-8 mark in the NEC. Owens and his team were rewarded for their outstanding accomplishments as they took home NEC Pitcher of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year honors.

Prior to coming to Bryant, Owens spent 11 seasons as the head coach at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y. He led the Dolphins to 11-straight winning seasons and three NCAA tournament berths. He guided Le Moyne to back-to-back NCAA regionals at Arkansas and North Carolina State in 2003-04, and then took the Dolphins to the Texas A&M regional in 2007. Over his tenure with the Dolphins, Owens was named the MAAC Coach of the Year twice, (’04 and ’06) and was also named the ABCA/Diamond Northeast Region Coach of the Year in 2003. Owens reached an even more impressive milestone during the 2007 season as he became one of the youngest coaches in country to reach the 500-win plateau. He finished his Dolphins career with an impressive 342-217 record.

Owens started his coaching career in 1992 at Division III Cortland State. Over eight seasons in the dugout, Owens led the Red Dragons to six 30-win seasons, seven NCAA regional tournaments and four trips to the Division III College World Series. He guided the 1997 and 1998 teams to third-place finishes at the national tournament, finishing a game short of a shot at a national championship. Owens went 245-82-1 in his eight seasons with Cortland St. and was named the New York Regional Coach of the Year and the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Coach of the Year four times each.

Outside of wins and losses, Owens’s style of player development has produced professional baseball players over the course of his career. In all, Owens has seen 43 of his former players sign professional contracts, including 14 in his first seven years at Bryant.

Owens has lofted his players to new individual heights, coaching 19 All-American selections, 8 Freshman All-American picks, 32 All-MAAC selections, 48 All-NEC selections, 34 All-Region nods and 4 Academic All-Americans.

A native of Sauquoit, N.Y., Owens is a 1987 graduate of St. Lawrence, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Leisure Studies. Playing baseball and football at St. Lawrence, he was named a two-time MVP in baseball playing at both third base and shortstop. He finished his career with a .349 batting average, including .454 as a senior, and stole 73 bases in 80 attempts. In football, he led the team in rushing his junior and senior seasons, scoring 18 career TD’s, and was named offensive MVP as well as Outstanding Senior Athlete. In the fall of 2010, he was inducted into the St. Lawrence Athletic Hall of Fame.

Drafted by the Chicago Cubs, Owens spent two seasons with the organization, including stints in Geneva (New York-Penn League Champions) and with the Charleston (W.Va.) Cubs in the South Atlantic League.

Following his playing days, Owens was a graduate assistant coach in football and baseball at Ithaca College where he received a Master of Science degree in 1991.

About the author, Bill

Bill Ballew has been involved with collegiate and professional baseball since 1983. He has been the Atlanta correspondent for Baseball America since 1991 and has served as the editorial content manager for Baseball The Magazine for more than five years. He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).