Two years ago, Owen Field was waiting for the call.
The call from the newly-hired Jenny Rowland letting him know if he was going to be the Gators’ newest assistant coach.
And he missed it.
But when he eventually got Rowland on the phone, he found out the coveted position was his.
“Basically I was kind of in shock at first,” Field said. “Then I saw a Gainesville area code on my phone pop up and I was very surprised and honored that I was even being looked at.”
Two seasons later, Field, along with fellow assistant coach Adrian Burde, has helped Rowland keep the No. 3 Gators ranked near the top.
The two assistants were named Southeast Region Assistant Coaches of the Year following Florida’s regional win on Saturday.
Though they have worked together for two years, the assistants have a shared past.
Field was with Nebraska’s gymnastics team for six years, serving as a manager and then as a volunteer coach. During that time, he helped the team to a Super Six appearance in 2014.
Burde, who is in his 11th season with Florida, served as the vault and floor coach for the Huskers from 2002-2006, before leaving Lincoln to join the Gators.
When the Gators take on Nebraska in the NCAA semifinals on April 14, it will be the first time Field, who is also a Nebraska alumnus, has faced his former team and school.
“I get along with the staff there really well. I was there for a long time,” Field said on Wednesday. “They are like a second family to me still. I talk to them. It will be nice to see them.”
As the coach on bars, he has brought energy to an apparatus that the Gators rank No. 4 in the country on.
After every stuck landing on bars, Field fist pumps the air and is the first person to high-five and congratulate his athletes.
“He’s a goofball,” Kennedy Baker said. “It definitely is a great feeling to see one of your coaches excited for you.”
Not only do Florida’s gymnasts appreciate his and Burde’s work, but so does the team’s leader.
“It’s a privilege to have two guys on the staff that (have) the ability to get the most out of all of our athletes,” Rowland said. “They are Gators through and through, and it’s an honor and privilege to be able to work with them every day.”