Chris Owens, a Savannah native, has been sharing his time and efforts with little athletes at the Pooler Recreation Department for over four years now. The Georgia Southern University graduate has lived in the local area his entire life. Actually, his mom Linda still resides in the area; however, his dad Drew, one of his biggest mentors, passed away last year.
Chris states, “He was one of the biggest reasons I got into sports and that I enjoy sports. He pushed me as a young kid to get into sports and play. My father coached me as well; it was a big reason I enjoy coaching so much.”
Chris was inspired to coach by his Pastor Jonathan Phillips of Silk Hope Baptist Church. Chris was happy to become his assistant coach, and he has been committed to it ever since.
Though Chris has no children of his own, he has taken time out over the years to coach Pooler’s very own, the Pooler Packers. He has coached football for four years, basketball for two years and baseball for three years. Chris initially coached the 8U age group but is now coaching 10U kids. Moreover, he has a core group of players that he has been privileged to develop over the years.
“We’ve had a core group of kids that we’ve been fortunate enough to be with most of the years that we’ve coached. That’s been nice to have that as well—to get to know their parents…to get to know the kids as they’ve grown up. There’s a great reward in being able to work with these kids. It’s a great opportunity.”
Currently, Chris is still enjoying football season with the kids. The Packers are part of the SGYFL (South Georgia Youth Football League). They are a travel team, as they are able to play teams outside of the area. Traditionally, however, they compete against football teams out of Bryan, Effingham and other surrounding counties. It is of no surprise that Chris may not want the football season to come to a close, since he is an avid football fan.
He remarks, “If I had to pick a sport that I enjoy coaching the most, it would most definitely be football. I’m a huge fan of the sport.” Though he enjoys other sports, Chris appreciates all of the energy, aggression and intense competitiveness that football provides.
He adds, “It generates something inside of me.”
Chris has been a big sports aficionado for quite some time now. As a kid, he played recreational football and baseball for several years with the Bacon Park Rams. Further, he was involved in both football and basketball at the Jenkins Boys Club.
Chris understands the benefits of recreational sports and feels that they add value to the overall lives of children.
He asserts, “I feel like sports are very instrumental in teaching kids life lessons. We’re not out there teaching kids just a sport—we’re teaching life. We’re teaching them how to become better at life. It’s more than just football or basketball or baseball. It’s about winning and losing. It’s a building block to life. It taught me a lot—responsibility and how to work well with people.”
Chris insists on teaching the kids “a lot of valuable lessons that will come in handy in the future.” He, along with Jonathan, strives to incorporate meaningful principles into their coaching approaches. Chris wants the athletes to know the value in good sportsmanship, the importance of fighting and enduring, along with the necessity of moving forward. He knows that over his past four years of coaching that the team has had “some wins and had some tough defeats.” However, he likes to encourage and motivate the players to learn from it all in order to get better and progress.
Chris jokes about telling the kids, “If this is the only thing you have to worry about in life, then you’ve got it good.”
As competitive as children can often be, Chris wants them to get the full picture. Whether the team wins or loses, he teaches them that “winning is not everything.”
He states, “We like to say that we want to go out there and win. Winning is definitely important. It’s not the most important thing. We’re going to win the right way; we’re going to lose the right way.”
Chris believes that “learning how to lose is very vital in the process of growing up—winning and losing gracefully.”
He feels that he has a responsibility to be a good example for each child at all times—an example that they know truly cares about them and their overall success.
“I like to show by my actions that I love these kids. They’re important in my life. A lot of times, they’re like my kids, and I take pride in that.”
Chris is really grateful to Jonathan for inspiring him and allowing him the opportunity to assist him over the past few years. As a Christian himself, Chris is truly thankful that he coaches with someone who sincerely cares about the kids and embraces the same values that he does.
“I believe in God—in having a relationship with Christ.” Chris knows that this priceless benefit makes a difference in his outlook on coaching and life overall.
Chris is appreciative for the opportunity to coach for the Pooler Recreation Department, which he feels has an awesome program. He feels that the organization has a team of “really, really good people,” which includes the leisure services director Hugh Elton, the athletic director Jeremy Greene and the athletic coordinator Elizabeth Tuttle.
Regarding Pooler Recreation Department, Chris says, “They do it the right way.”
In his spare time off the field, Chris has several interests.
“I love being at church…being involved. I teach Sunday school.” Chris is also on the praise team at church. Additionally, he enjoys playing his guitar and thinks that very little can top “a Saturday spent watching college football.”
Chris Owens persists to touch the lives of young people in the best ways possible. He is an inspiring example to them on and off the field. Chris is making it count where it matters most.