Three years as the captain of a team would be enough leadership experience for many student athletes — but not Owen Quinn.
Quinn, a senior on the Lehigh men’s golf team, has used his knack for interpersonal communication and natural leadership abilities to leave his mark on not only his teammates, but the entire Lehigh athletics program.
Quinn has served as the captain of the team since his sophomore year and has delivered consistent performances for the Mountain Hawks. He’s also found success in the classroom — receiving official recognition as an Academic All-Patriot League member — and seeks to be involved in the campus community.
Quinn contributes to Lehigh’s Student Athlete Council, which consists of a selected group of student athletes who advocate for and help enhance the Lehigh student athlete experience.
Assistant coach Joe Zelechoski said Quinn’s passion for the sport and for Lehigh is reflected in everything he does.
“He has been an excellent captain and a tremendous leader,” Zelechoski said. “He has a genuine interest in everything about Lehigh — not only athletics — and it shows in his relationships with professors and other students outside of the golf team.”
Quinn’s athletic endeavors on and off the course have not gone unnoticed. He was named co-captain of Student Athlete Council for the 2019 calendar year with two other seniors — women’s basketball guard Hannah Hedstrom and men’s cross country and track runner Ryan Paradise.
“I think (Student Athlete Council) and the Lehigh athletic department as a whole has been one of my best experiences,” Quinn said. “I am very happy I was able to be a part of it from the start.”
Hedstrom said Quinn’s ability to form genuine connections with other people has largely impacted the group.
“He is a down to earth guy, but also, at the same time, a really good leader, (who is) willing to take initiative to get things done,” Hedstrom said. “He is an incredible people person. He is able to connect with all types of people, and I think that works really well in (Student Athlete Council).”
Quinn said being a part of a group like Student Athlete Council presents him with the opportunity to improve the Lehigh student athlete experience and affect change in a way he did not think was possible.
Quinn’s role in Student Athlete Council helped him build relationships with various staff members and employees in the athletic department, something he hopes the five freshmen on his team will learn.
“I hope that these freshmen can take that along with them — the sense that if you work hard and if you get involved with things, people will really care about our successes,” Quinn said. “And they will have… more of a reason to put time and focus into helping us be the best we can be.”
The men’s golf team concluded its fall schedule and will begin to prepare for the upcoming spring season. Following a largely unsuccessful fall season, Quinn said he hopes he and the team as a whole will have a successful run come spring.
Quinn will enter his last season as a Mountain Hawk with goals of leaving a lasting impact on the program, something he learned from those who came before him.
“The last four years, I have tried to do my best to leave the program in the best place when we leave,” Quinn said. “Billy Johns, who was a junior when I was a freshman, really displayed that importance to me, and it has really stuck with me.”
Zelechoski said he feels confident that Quinn’s aptitude for leadership will serve him well after he graduates from Lehigh.
“We are lucky to have found a player like that,” Zelechoski said. “He is going to be a tremendous leader as he goes out into his chosen field.”
The team will play in the Patriot League Championship Apr. 25-26, 2020, in West Point, New York.
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