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Montana State names former Bobcat great Jody Owens safeties coach

Jody Owens
D.J. McNorton, Jody Owens
Posted at 1:26 PM, Dec 22, 2023

(Editor's note: Montana State University news release)

BOZEMAN — Jody Owens, the 2012 Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year and one of the most accomplished players in Bobcat football history, accepted an offer Friday to coach safeties for the program he led to three conference championships as a player. The appointment is pending university background check.

“I am thrilled to announce the addition of Jody Owens to our coaching staff,” Vigen said. “Jody brings a varied experience that has seen him coach at all levels with a primary focus on the defensive side of ball. Additionally, as a former Bobcat student-athlete and coach, he has a tremendous passion for Montana State University and the Bozeman community. We are fortunate to bring Jody back and I am excited for what we will add to our coaching staff and his ability to mentor our safeties.”

A 2012 MSU graduate, Owens coached high school football in his native Texas in 2013 and 2014 before returning to MSU as linebackers coach in 2015. He worked as a graduate assistant at Nevada in 2016 before coaching linebackers at Washington in 2017-18. In 2019 he became defensive coordinator at NAIA Briar Cliff (Iowa) then worked as co-defensive coordinator at NCAA Division II Pittsburg (Kansas) State in 2020-21. He worked on the Carolina Panthers staff in 2022 before joining the St. Augustine’s staff before the 2023 season.

Owens’ 2023 season began as defensive coordinator at St. Augustine’s, an NCAA Division II HBCU in Raleigh, North Carolina, but he served as interim head coach for the final four games. Earlier in his career, he served as training camp intern for the Kansas City Chiefs (2016) and Chicago Bears (2019).

Owens came to Montana State from Mesquite, Texas, in 2008 as part of a wave of talented Texans. He started nine games in 2009 as a redshirt freshman, then finished second on the team with 80 tackles in 2010. Owens earned unanimous First Team All-Big Sky and 2nd Team All-America honors as a junior in 2011, and capped his amazing career with consensus All-America and Big Sky Defensive MVP honors as a senior. During the most crucial point of his final season he forced fumbles in consecutive games against Portland State, in a championship-clinching win in Missoula, and against Stony Brook in a home playoff win.

His legacy as a Bobcat player included induction into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2023 and internal awards for toughness and leadership in addition to helping lead the Cats to three straight league titles and post-season berths for the first time in program history. Now he inherits a position group that includes four players that have started games in the Blue and Gold. Safeties Dru Polidore and Rylan Ortt return as starters, while Blake Stillwell and nickel Miles Jackson have also started games.

Vigen indicated that Owens will work with cornerbacks coach Bryan Shepherd to lead the back end of MSU’s defense, with his appointment beginning in early January.