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University High wrestling coach Don Owen poses for a picture in July 2010. (J. Bart Rayniak / The Spokesman-Review)

Longtime University High wrestling coach Don Owen retires

Longtime University High wrestling coach Don Owen is hanging up his whistle.

Owen, 61, recently announced his retirement from coaching, ending his nearly 40-year career on Inland Northwest mats.

He led the tradition-rich Titans to state titles in 2005, 2010 and 2013 and helped the program earn several other state trophies during his tenure.

“Wrestling is a young guy’s game, more than it is for an old guy like me,” said Owen, who was named U-Hi’s coach in 1993. “I’m ready to step away and be a better grandfather and husband.”

Owen was also Coeur d’Alene High’s coach for six seasons in the 1980s and a former assistant coach at North Idaho College alongside his brother, then-head coach John Owen.

Don Owen, whose teams won a combined 311 dual matches and had more than 100 state placers, starred at Missoula Sentinel High in the early 1970s. He went on to become an All-American at NIC.

“Coaching wrestling has been a vocation as much as anything,” he said. “I enjoyed watching kids learn, improve and reach their goals.”

Owen said he will continue to teach this year and that the school is in the process of naming his replacement.

He said he hopes U-Hi promotes assistant coach Ryan Montang, the former Timberlake coach.

“The program is in a good place for the next coach,” Owen said.