April 6, 2009
University of Minnesota spirit squads head coach Sam Owens has been named United Performance Association Coach of the Year, the UPA announced recently. The award was presented to coach Owens at the Americup Awards Banquet.
Coach Owens was chosen among five finalists. The UPA chose coach Owens based on his reputation within the cheer community and a written submission.
As a coach, Owens strives to instill strong values in his athletes.
“I really respect the foundation that he has built at Minnesota,” all-girl cheer squad alumna Rachel Fritsch said. “I admire his drive to push cheerleading to the next level. He is a great coach and inspires the athletes. He does a great job keeping the tradition alive.”
In January, the spirits squads attended the 2009 UCA/UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship and finished the competition as the only Division IA squad to post top-10 finishes in all divisions.
Minnesota’s dance team registered the highest team placing of the competition for the Gophers, taking third for its jazz routine. The dance squad also received a top-10 score for its hip-hop routine, taking seventh in the 27-team field.
The Gophers faired very well in both the co-ed and all-girl divisions as well. Minnesota’s co-ed team finished in seventh place, while the all-girl squad took ninth in their first-ever appearance at nationals.
In addition to the team competitions, Goldy Gopher also got a chance to show off his Maroon and Gold spirit and took home the bronze medal in the mascot division.