KOKOMO, Ind. — To say that Brent Owens is a passionate baseball fan might be an understatement.
His business, cfd Investments, reflects his love of the sport, with décor including an American flag created from painted baseballs, photos autographed by players, and other memorabilia proudly displayed.
As a former college and semi pro player, current high school coach, and a business owner committed to contributing to his community, it was a natural fit for him to be among the first supporters of Indiana University Kokomo’s baseball program. Shortly after plans to have a team were announced in September 2016, Owens provided a $10,000 gift to fund the program.
“When this opportunity came up to be an IU Kokomo baseball supporter, it was a natural fit for us,” said Owens, president of cfd Investments. “As a result of being blessed through the community, we’ve always tried to be a blessing to the community.”
He noted he hadn’t previously been involved with the campus, and the baseball program drew his interest.
“Expanding the sports program got more people from the community involved,” he said. “The Kokomo area is a baseball hotbed. A team at IU Kokomo is a great opportunity for students in this area to get a great degree from IU, while playing college ball in a $10 million facility.”
Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight appointed Owens co-chair of the committee that planned the Kokomo Municipal Stadium, which opened in 2015 and will be the Cougar’s home field. It is also home to the Kokomo Jackrabbits, a Prospect League baseball team.
“IU Kokomo baseball has been blessed with this stadium in a way no other NAIA or Division III school probably has,” he said. “They’ll be able to play their home games on a field that is just incredible. I’m hopeful our community will support the Cougars like they’ve supported the Jackrabbits, and we’ll get several hundred to a couple thousand people at games, to see some good quality college baseball.”
Owens and his family have been involved in Kokomo-area baseball since the 1960s, when his father, cfd Investments founder Mick Owens, played for the Kokomo Highlanders semipro baseball team.
Brent continued his family’s tradition, playing at Taylor High School, Anderson University, and Indiana Wesleyan University, along with the cfd Saints semipro team. He’s currently coaching an 18U travel team, and is varsity coach at Taylor High School.
As a coach, his goal is to help kids who want to play college ball have that opportunity. He is excited to have a college team in Kokomo as a possibility for them, and by the selection of Matt Howard as head coach, with Kokomo native Joe Thatcher as his assistant. Thatcher retired from a 13-year Major League Baseball pitching career in late 2016.
“Having those two men at the helm is a great way to have a solid program for decades to come,” said Owens. “Matt is a solid character guy. I think he’ll do a great job with the program, and then to be able to get Joe involved is even better.”
To support the baseball team, go to IU’s secure website:
His gift counts toward the $2.5 billion campaign, For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign.
For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign is taking place on all IU-administered campuses including IU Bloomington, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend, and IU Southeast. The campaign will conclude in December 2019 to coincide with IU’s bicentennial year celebration in 2020. To learn more about the campaign, its impact, and how to participate, please visit forall.iu.edu.
Founded in 1936, the Indiana University Foundation maximizes private support for Indiana University by fostering lifelong relationships with key stakeholders and providing advancement leadership and fundraising services for campuses and units across the university. Today, the IU Foundation oversees one of the largest public university endowments in the country, with a market value of approximately $1.9 billion. In fiscal year 2015, IU received $359.3 million in support from the private sector. IU is consistently ranked among the top four of Big Ten universities in annual voluntary support.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.