Tom Noles' grandmother, Verna Herrell, had never seen a football game until Noles was in college.
As his older brother, Danny, starred before him at Lindsay and then Tom moved up as a standout, Herrell's spot was the same each Friday night when Lindsay was playing at home.
She'd sit on her porch near the stadium and listen to the public address system relay the Leopards' accomplishments.
“When I got to OSU, the first game she went to was when we played Arkansas in Little Rock on a Saturday night,” Noles said. “It was supposed to be an equal crowd but it was 50,000 woo-pig-sooie Hog fans and 10,000 OSU fans.
“My mom and grandmother went down and watched me play for OSU at the Astrodome and in Austin. When she went, she went big time.”
But it was at Lindsay where Noles, who went on to coach 11 seasons at Moore, developed a deep appreciation for high school sports.
Noles was a guard on the South squad of the 1966 All-State team.
In observance of the 100th edition of The Oklahoman's All-State football team, to be announced in late December, the newspaper will recognize players from the previous 99 teams.
Noles knows the importance of high school sports.
“I was raised by my mother and grandmother,” Noles said. “Football, basketball and track was an opportunity for me to be around male father figures.”
None of those father figures means more than legendary Lindsay girls basketball coach Charlie Heatly, who coached both the boys and girls teams when Noles was in school.
Heatly was also Noles' junior high football coach.
“He's probably the most influential coach I've ever had,” Noles said. “He was such a role model for me.”
Noles also took plenty from Lindsay football coach Bill Froman.
“He was ahead of his time in what he did offensively and defensively,” Noles said. “He probably got more out of less talent than anybody I've ever been around.”
But Noles didn't decide to go into coaching until he was at Oklahoma State.
He eventually spent 40 years coaching, the first 34 in football and the last six in golf until retiring two years ago.
“High school sports is the ultimate to me,” Noles said. “When I go to a football game on a Thursday or Friday night and see the stands half full, I think about how much people are missing out on some great things.
“It's so pure and true and just a great entertainment value.”
Noles is retired, living in Moore, and spends as much time as possible with his mother, Lucille, and his mother-in-law. He also fits in plenty of “golf and doing the laundry” and still finds his way into a stadium most Friday nights in the fall.
This Friday, he'll be in Stillwater to watch Norman North play Jenks for the Class 6A title. One of his closest friends, Eddie Paul, is the athletic director at Norman North.
“Football and sports and athletics have been my whole life,” he said.
The Oklahoman will look back on the previous 99 years of Oklahoman All-State football teams, leading up to the unveiling of the 100th All-State team on Dec. 23. Each Sunday and Wednesday until then, we'll take a look back at a team from each decade. This installment of the series looks at the sixes — 1916, 1926, 1936, etc. On Sunday, we'll look back at the sevens.