At the Hang-Up
Seeking Your Purpose, Running the Race, Finishing Strong
by Ted Owens, with Jim Krause and Jesse Tuel
This is the inspirational story of Ted Owens — still the coach with the most wins in the history of Allen Fieldhouse — from growing up as a boy on a cotton farm in Southwestern Oklahoma during the Great Depression to coaching at the highest levels of the college basketball world.
“At the end of each day on the farm, we would figure the total weight of the cotton we had pulled. We called it the “hang-up,” says Owens. One day, in a competition to see who could pull the most cotton, Owens was leading his father, who then gave him the greatest life lesson: “It’s not what you have now that is important, it’s what you have at the hang-up.” He always reminded Ted that regardless of your station in life, whether encountering difficulties or enjoying success, you should never lose sight of your ultimate goals.
At the age of 5, Owens made his first basketball goal, lifting the basketball from between his legs in an underhand scooping motion. It was at that moment that basketball became his first love, a feeling he still embraces today. He went on to play at the University of Oklahoma for Naismith Hall of Fame Coach Bruce Drake, and he witnessed the rise of national championship programs led by football coach Bud Wilkinson, wrestling coach Port Robertson and baseball coach Jack Baer. This book is a story of the survival of a family built upon love, sacrifice, and the importance of family strength.
The book also shares the ups and downs of building a coaching career and the tale of coaching basketball at the University of Kansas for 19 seasons. Owens’ teams won 206 games in Allen Fieldhouse, a number that still leads Roy Williams (201), Bill Self and Larry Brown. He coached some of the era’s greatest players while leading the Jayhawks against Hall of Fame coaches Adolph Rupp, Joe Lapchick, Henry Iba, Dean Smith, Eddie Sutton, Bob Knight and John Wooden. The book covers little-known — and even unknown — insights into the personalities of these basketball giants.
Playing now in the fourth quarter of his life, Owens shares what he has learned, passing on his lessons for life and wonderful, never-before-told stories of his time as the Kansas Jayhawks head basketball coach, as high-pressure a job as there is in American sports, one that only eight men have ever held.
About the Authors
Basketball Coach Ted Owens, enshrined in multiple halls of fame, is the Jayhawks coach who has won the most basketball games in Allen Fieldhouse (206). Coach Owens leads readers on a wonderful journey from his days growing up on a cotton farm during the depression, playing high school football and basketball, playing basketball at Oklahoma, serving in the Army in Korea and building a resume to qualify him to be an assistant and then head coach at the University of Kansas for 19 years. He talks about the highs of the experience of winning multiple Big 8 Championships and earning two NCAA Final Four appearances. He also shares the lows of losing that job and life after KU basketball. He talks family and faith and provides 25 life lessons as he completes his life story.
Dr. Jim Krause, author of Guardians of the Game-A Legacy of Leadership and contributing author for Hoops Heaven, in which he discusses the 50th class to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a group that that included Michael Jordon and David Robinson, joins Coach Owens in writing the Owens Memoir At The Hang-Up. Krause is a 40-year veteran of the sports industry, coaching basketball at every level from middle school to NCAA Division I at the University of Oregon.
Jesse Tuel is an editor at Virginia Tech, where he leads a creative team of editors, graphic designers, photographers, and others in the planning and production of Virginia Tech Magazine. He also oversees the university’s monthly email newsletter and supervises the editorial services team for the marketing and publications unit. Before moving to Virginia, Jesse was the communications director and magazine editor for Emporia State University's alumni and foundation office. A native of Lawrence, Kansas, he began his career as a reporter for the Chanute Tribune and then the Emporia Gazette. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Emporia State, where he was a basketball walk-on.