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Card Player Honors James Herbert Owenby (1946-2008)

Well-Respected Poker Player Will Be Missed


Herb OwenbyHerb “Coach” Owenby passed away on Aug. 30, 2008, after a long battle with prostate cancer. Even though he had been battling the disease for the past seven years, he still continued his active lifestyle on the poker circuit in several locations, including Las Vegas, Tunica, Foxwoods, and, most recently, the 2008 World Series of Poker. In 1996, he finished first in the U.S. Poker Championship $1,000 Omaha eight-or-better tournament, besting Ted Forrest. Coach was well known, well liked, and highly respected by his colleagues in the poker profession. He formed many lasting and cherished friendships with people he met while playing poker. His wife, Charlotte, stated how amazed she was when she traveled to Las Vegas with him and how many people knew him and liked him everywhere they went to play.
Coach was very active in sports throughout his life. He has been called, by some, the “greatest athlete ever to graduate from Sevier County High School,” where he lettered in four sports and was inducted into the SCHS Hall of Fame in 2003. In the same year, he was inducted into the Middle Tennessee State University Hall of Fame for his outstanding athletic talent as a wide receiver, where he broke collegiate records, some of which still stand today. He was a previous high school boys basketball coach (that’s how he got his nickname). In his later teaching years, he was at the primary and intermediate school level, which he enjoyed very much because of his love of children. He retired from teaching in 2003. All three of his children are now in the teaching profession.
Coach was a talented and avid golfer, having played literally all over the country, including some of the prestigious courses, such as Pebble Beach, Cypress Point, Kiawah’s Ocean Course, and Pinehurst. He and his son had played in Tennessee’s State Father-Son Tournament for the past consecutive 20 years.