Spirit of the Gift Biography Project

Histories of the men and women behind WSU's endowed funds

Thomas B. Owen Jr. Football '70 Endowed Scholarship

As a student at Tampa Florida's King High School, Thomas B. Owen Jr. “Tommy” played baseball, basketball, ran track and was the quarterback and co-captain of the football team. He was president of the Key Club and Letterman's Club, as well as a member of the National Honor Society. He was voted “best all-around” by his senior class and presented with the highest honor awarded for leadership, achievement and academics, the Principal's Award.

“He led in everything, excelled in everything and when Tommy played, everybody played by the rules,” commented his neighbor in a Tampa Times article.

Following graduation in 1968, Tommy's hard work and talent landed him a scholarship at Wichita State University and a position on the Shocker football team. Inspired by his father, Tom Sr., a Marine Bronze Star recipient, former coach and four-year letterman for Vanderbilt University, Tommy played a number of positions for WSU until being moved to quarterback at the request of Coach Ben Wilson.

Tragically, Mr. Owen lost his life in the WSU plane crash on October 2, 1970. This scholarship is to perpetuate the qualities of perseverance, character and the joyous spirit so apparent in “Tommy” Owen.