USD Athletics Spotlight: Father Owen Mullen

Father Owen Mullen

Dec. 5, 2012

- by Sarabeth Pollock -

You'll see him on the sidelines at football games, or in the dugout with USD Baseball. This month USD Athletics is proud to spotlight Father Owen Mullen, chaplain for the USD Athletic Department.

Father Mullen grew up on the East Coast, in Upstate New York. He was ordained in Delaware, where he spent seventeen years working at a local high school. While there, he wore many hats. As the associate athletic director, he also coached the junior varsity football team and the boys' basketball team. In 1981, Mullen moved to San Diego. Two years later, Brian Fogarty, USD Athletics' current Associate Athletic Director for Development, became USD's head football coach and invited Father Mullen to be the team chaplain. And when he wasn't working with Torero football, he spent some time working with men's basketball. In 1985, Mullen helped to establish the USD club lacrosse team.

Mullen left USD to work at West Point in 1989. There he served as the running back coach for the sprint football team. Over the next few years he spent time at Army, where he helped the lacrosse team transition to a D-1 program. Then, in 1997, he was promoted to the rank of colonel and moved to work at Hawaii. He retired from Army in 2001 and spent time after that working with the St. Louis football program as an assistant coach. Mullen returned to USD in 2004 and continued his work with football and lacrosse, and he took on USD Baseball as well.

When not working with Athletics, Father Mullen oversees the Phi Kappa Theta chapter at USD. He likens working with the fraternity to working with a large sports team like USD Football, as there are over 150 fraternity members that he interacts with. He remains active with the USD Lacrosse program. And on top of all of that, Father Mullen stays involved with the Church, officiating at numerous baptisms and weddings. Most recently, he presided over the wedding of Whitney Strain, Assistant Director of Compliance and Student Services, this past summer. Mullen is a proud motorcycle owner, though he's thinking about trading in his big hog for a smaller model.

Father Mullen is very excited about the opening of Fowler Park next year. He sees this as not only a tremendous opportunity for USD Baseball, but for the rest of USD Athletics as well. He loves the fact that USD is small enough so that you can get to know almost everyone, and he's thankful to the Athletic Department for welcoming him and allowing him to play a role with the student athletes. Having been around USD Athletics on and off for over thirty years, he is incredibly proud of the athletic achievements the Toreros have earned over the years. The fact that we have come so far in a relatively short period of time, he says, is a testament to the hard work of the Athletic Department and the USD community.