Owen King returns to Caledonia to join his dad's coaching staff

Jan. 13—CALEDONIA — Owen King has concluded his competitive playing career in basketball, but he is still involved in the game he enjoys with a passion.

King wrapped up his men's college basketball career at Winona State University following the 2022-23 season and he has now returned to familiar territory as he embarks on a coaching career.

He was a student-teacher at Houston during the fall as he finished his elementary education degree at Winona State. He then moved back to Caledonia — where he excelled in high school — with plans to get a Master's degree. And he would also like to be a graduate assistant for a men's basketball team at whichever school he attends next year.

Since there was no seventh-grade coach for the Caledonia boys basketball team, King decided to take on those tasks for the 2023-24 season. He is also a volunteer assistant coach for the varsity, under his father, Brad, who is the head coach.

"That's been fun," Owen said. "It's been a lot of learning for me because I haven't been around that level a lot (seventh-graders). The skill development piece is what I love to work on with them because you can see the improvement."

Caledonia being a smaller town, King was familiar with most of the kids involved with the basketball program. He also has three first cousins who are members of the varsity: Reid Klug and brothers Mason and Grant King.

The 24-year-old Owen, fresh off his playing days, can relate well to the players he is coaching. King, who scored 2,437 points in high school, can also grab their attention with his playing ability.

"I'm younger and a basketball guy, so it's nice," King said. "They listen and they still look at me as a coach in that sense, which is great, but when you're the assistant you can throw in a nugget here and there because you never have to be the bad guy."

King is also in learning mode by watching his father coach the varsity. Brad King coached Owen and his brothers, Noah and Eli, as they grew up playing basketball.

"The main thing is watching him have the difficult conversations or handle situations that I haven't had to be in, and picking his brain on those things," Owen King said.

King offers his opinions on situations when asked, but is also doing a lot of listening and learning about being a head coach.

He would like to be a head coach in the future, but at this point he isn't sure at what level. It could be in either college or high school.

"I like basketball too much for it not to be a part of what I do," he said. "... Even if it was just doing skill sessions with kids that want to improve because I really like doing that, too."

His two younger brothers are still playing college basketball. Noah is in his first season at Division II Upper Iowa University after playing junior college basketball. Youngest brother, Eli, is in his first season at Division I University of North Dakota after transferring from Iowa State University following his freshman year.

Even with his coaching duties, Owen King has been to four of Noah's games and three of Eli's games. He wouldn't mind getting a shot at being a grad assistant at either Upper Iowa or North Dakota.

"If one of those spots is open, of course I would definitely be interested," he said. "It would be super convenient, but we'll see as we get closer to March or so."

And now that his college playing days are over, Owen gets to scratch his competitive itch as a coach.

"It definitely helps with coaching," he said. "I definitely miss getting to play and compete. That's what we talk about, even with the seventh-graders, there's a difference between playing hard and competing. So every chance you get, try to take advantage of this practice. We have two hours to get better in practice so take advantage of that."