C of I great R.C. Owens passes away at 78
College of Idaho standout athlete and NAIA Hall of Famer R.C. Owens passed away Sunday afternoon in the Bay Area. He was 78.
Owens (1934-2012), arguably the best athlete in the over 100-year history of C of I athletics played football and basketball, ran track, and was a member of the cheerleading team from 1952-56 - helping the football team to four-straight Northwest Conference championships. The 1953 squad completed an unbeaten regular season, losing to Sam Houston State in the Refrigerator Bowl in Evansville, Ind.
In basketball, he helped the Yotes to the 1954-55 and 1955-56 conference titles, teaming with Elgin Baylor for a perfect 15-0 record during the 1954-55 conference season, losing to Montana State in the District V title. He recorded a double-double in every collegiate game and finished with 2,155 points and 2,142 rebounds in his career.
Owens is a C of I Hall of Fame inductee as an athlete and also a part of two Hall of Fame teams (1953 football and 1954-55 basketball), was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1966, and is also a member of the Bay Area Hall of Fame.
Owens went on to a stellar NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, the Baltimore Colts, and the New York Giants - teaming with Y.A. Tittle to originate the "Alley Oop" pass. He caught 206 career passes in eight NFL seasons, for 3,285 yards and 22 touchdowns, with his best season in 1961, catching 55 passes for 1,032 yards for San Francisco. Last fall, he was inducted into the 49ers Hall of Fame.
He is survived by his wife, Susan.