Profiles of Tenacity: Owen Warden

A student holds a microphone to present a high school football match.
Owen Warden on set for the pregame taping of Friday Nights in Athens speaking analysts Camille Stroud and Jackson Rowland. (Photo: Luke Winstel)

Profiles of Tenacity: Owen Warden

March 21, 2024

Fourth-year journalism student Owen Warden is passionate about sports. He shares inspiring sports and athlete stories through The Red & Black, The Paul Finebaum Show and other news outlets.

Why did you choose your major?

I chose journalism and, in turn, the sports media certificate simply due to my love for sports and how to cover it. While writing, doing radio and podcasts, and recording videos interest me, I also love the ability to tell stories of a wide variety of different and diverse athletes. While you can’t always report on the good and fun stuff, if the things I write or record or say draw people in or put a smile on people’s faces, then I am over the moon,

What does tenacity mean to you?

Tenacity, I believe, is a relentless dedication and drive to achieve. Never give up and grind to reach what you want. I got started a bit later, due to both COVID and a shattered collarbone my sophomore year. I’ve thankfully battled back, got to be the sports editor, and have had so many opportunities to appear on various shows, like Paul Finebaum. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about tenacity from simply having
to battle through adversity during my first two years in college.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?

You’ll never go anywhere if you don’t work to get involved. I’ve been blessed to have awesome classes and professors, but my experience working with The Red & Black, the Oglethorpe Echo, and job shadowing with 13WMAZ’s Connor Hines have been the most beneficial experiences for me. Just classes won’t get you to where you want to be, so look to achieve more than just that.

Owen Warden on The Paul Finebaum Show in Jacksonville, Florida. Warden joined Finebaum and The Alligator sports editor Jackson Reyes a day before the Georgia vs Florida game (Photo: SEC Network)

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

Easily The Red & Black. I’ve learned so much during my time there that I would never be ready to go out into the professional world without it. I’m ever thankful for my editor-in-chief Martina Essert and former sports editor Stuart Steele for taking a chance on me and giving me an editor role despite only being a writer with them for a semester. Of course, John James for being my sports editor partner nearly through it all, couldn’t of done it without him. Finally, Lucinda Warnke was also instrumental in being the perfect partner to bounce ideas off of and grow. She’s a Hearst Award winner and a longtime news editor, so her insight is and always will be appreciated.

Owen Warden (right) interviews Athens Academy boys soccer head coach Stefan Billmayer (left). (Photo: Welch Suggs)

What motivates you?

Making people’s days a little better. Whether that’s with a piece I wrote or edited together, kind words, or just a goofy antic or joke, I wake up every day hoping to be a positive influence on someone.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

It’s an old saying my dad would always tell me, it’s “focus on what you can control.” There are things in life that you do and don’t have control over, so focus on what you can control. Job searching can be scary, especially leaving school, but as long as I focus on applying and networking, then I can feel confident instead of worrying about who’ll hire me. As long as I try my best on what I can control, if I don’t
succeed, at least I tried my best.

Where’s your favorite place on campus and why?

It’s a bit cheesy, but The Red & Black building’s second-floor balcony. I get a perfect look at the busyness of Baxter Street, while also getting a perfect view of Tate, Bolton and more of campus. It’s also nicely secluded, so I get the entire feel and atmosphere of Athens in just one location all on my own. The peaceful nature juxtaposes itself with the town’s hecticness, and I think that image is Athens in a nutshell.

Who is your professional hero?

While no longer with us, I’ve always admired the late Stuart Scott. What he did on television will always be remembered. His energy and passion for sports always came through, and he always looked or sounded like he was having fun. Whether through references or clever observations, I always respected and loved the work he did alongside the fight and passion he showed before he passed. The awareness he brought to cancer and the fight he showed through to the end. I hate that I can’t watch him live anymore, but he’ll always be the person I admire most in the industry.

Editor: Jin Lee |