Inspired by Sports, Alum Finds His Passion and Career

Doug Owyang, MA '91Doug Owyang, MA ’91 has a lot to be proud of, and he attributes the long tenure of his career as a collegiate track and field coach to the time he spent as a graduate student at Saint Mary’s College. Owyang, who served as the head track and field coach at City College of Francisco for 28 years, received his master’s in physical education and administration—a unique three-year program that was offered during the summer months.

“I’ve always loved sports, and I had dreams of being a professional athlete,” said Owyang. He recalled that his ‘aha’ moment came during a middle school track meet. “This was my first race, and I won!” Owyang continued his athletic pursuits as a member the Oakland High School track team, where he excelled and became one of the team’s star athletes.

Owyang matriculated to UC Santa Barbara where he was a prominent member of the track and field program. After graduating with a degree in physical education, he worked as a teacher, eventually returning to his high school alma mater where he served as the track and field coach for nine years. He also did double-duty as a volunteer coach at Merritt College in Oakland, and California State University East Bay, in Hayward.

“I wanted to coach at the collegiate level, but I was told I would need a master’s degree,” said Owyang. I heard great things about the physical education and administration program at Saint Mary’s, and I especially liked that it was a summer program, so I could still teach and coach during the regular school year.”

Owyang thrived in the master’s program, and received accolades for his thesis: Effects of Three Surfaces on the Electronically Timed 40-Yard Dash. “Writing my thesis was life-changing, and I’m forever grateful to professor Craig Johnson, who was my biggest supporter.”

After graduating from Saint Mary’s, Owyang was hired by City College of San Francisco where he remained on staff as a lecturer and head track and field coach for 28 years. “During my tenure at City College, we won the state championship several times, and many of my students continued to excel in the sport when they matriculated to four-year colleges,” said Owyang. He also reflected on being one of very few Asian athletic coaches, especially in track and field. “When I was growing up, if I could find any coach in any sport that had an Asian surname, I would get excited.” He expressed that there still aren’t many Asian coaches in collegiate and mainstream sports, but he’s hoping that will continue to change.

Now retired, Owyang reflected on his long career as a highly respected and admired head coach. “Attending graduate school at Saint Mary’s was the pivotal point and trajectory that got me where I am today,” said Owyang. “I wouldn’t be talking about my 28 years at City College if it weren’t for Saint Mary’s.”

Learn more about the summer master’s in physical education and administration program.