Before the Selmon brothers were crushing halfbacks in Eufaula and the Gundy brothers were throwing touchdown passes in Midwest City, the Speegle brothers were dazzling fans at Capitol Hill in the 1930s.
The Speegles were Oklahoma City's most famous athletic family, said Ray Soldan, former Oklahoma sports writer and high school historian.
Sons of a dairy farmer, the Speegle brothers were C.B. II, Clifton, and Wayne, who all played football and basketball in 1930s and 1940s at the southwest Oklahoma City high school.
Their dad, C.B. Speegle, owned a dairy farm in on the edge of town when C.B. II and Clifton were going to Capitol Hill. He later bought an operated a motel on 44th and S. Robinson.
“I am sure my grandfather probably would have been a good athlete, too, but I don't think he had anything to do with sports, as far as I know,” said Mike Speegle, son of C.B. II. “He grew up in that time when everybody had to work.”
Speegle's sons, however, excelled in multiple sports. C.B. II was the oldest, graduating from Capitol Hill in 1933 and going on to play at Central State University (now the University of Central Oklahoma), where he was all-conference in both football and basketball.
Clifton, the middle son, also starred in both football and basketball for the Redskins. He was named to The Oklahoman's All-State team in both sports in 1935 and also was a member the newspaper's all-decade team for the 1930s.
In observance of the 100th edition of The Oklahoman All-State football team, which will be announced in late December, we're recognizing the previous 99 teams and catching up with some of the most notable All-Staters.
“My Uncle Cliff was probably the best athlete (of the brothers),” said Mike Speegle, 69, who lives in Oklahoma City. “I hate to say that against my dad.”
In Capitol Hill's biggest game of the season in 1935 against its city rivals, the Central Cardinals, The Oklahoman reported that the Redskins had a “sprightly youngster” named Clifton Speegle who “played a whale of a ballgame.”
Clifton Speegle was the biggest reason Capitol Hill defeated Central, 6-0, that night, according to the newspaper.
“I think he was very good on defense,” said Max Speegle, 67, Clifton Speegle's son who lives in Edmond. “He told me one time they called him bird-dog because he could always find the ball.”
On offense, Clifton Speegle played both end and center and often would practice snapping the football through a tire hanging from a tree.
He was an agile lineman who was very valuable in the single wing offenses of the time period.
After high school, Clifton Speegle played collegiately at the University of Oklahoma. He was named an all-Big Six center at OU and played on the Sooners' first Orange Bowl team in 1939.
Wayne Speegle, the youngest brother, was an All-State basketball player and a state high school golf champion at Capitol Hill in 1946.
The next year, he was playing golf and basketball at the University of Oklahoma and was a member of the Sooners 1947 basketball team that reached the NCAA semifinals.
After graduation from OU, he turned down an offer to play professional basketball.
“His father-in-law had a sporting goods business and made him a partner so he wouldn't leave with his daughter,” Mike Speegle said.
Wayne Speegle, who died in 1997, operated a boat dealership in Oklahoma City, served as an Oklahoma City councilman for four years and was a charter member of the Oklahoma City Golf Commission.
His two older brothers became football coaches. Speegle Stadium at Capitol Hill is named after C.B. II, who coached the Redskins for nearly 40 years and led them to back-to-back state championships in 1957 and 1958. He died in 2008.
Clifton Speegle served as head football coach at Classen, Wewoka and Capitol Hill before serving in the Army Air Corps as a B-26 pilot in 1942. He played a year of professional football for the Chicago Cardinals in 1945.
He was head coach at Bacone College for one year then was an assistant coach at Oklahoma State University for three years.
He left OSU to take an assistant coaching job at Colgate and later joined the coaching staff of the Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian Football League before returning to OSU.
In December of 1954, Oklahoma State University hired the former Sooner as its head football coach. Clifton Speegle was the Cowboys' head coach through the 1962 season, compiling a 36-42-3 record.
“Recruiting was tough,” he once said. “When we were coaching at OSU, OU had won (47) ball games in a row.”
He entered private business in 1963 after being fired at OSU, but returned to coaching as an assistant with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League and Texas El-Paso, before becoming the director of officials in the Southwest Conference in 1967.
In 1973, Clifton Speegle became commissioner of the Southwest Conference. He retired in 1982 and died in 1994.
But the Speegle legacy didn't end with the trio of brothers. C.B. II sons, C.B. III and Mike, both played for their father at Capitol Hill and both were named to all-state football teams — C.B. III in 1959 and Mike in 1961.
C.B. III played football on both a state championship team in high school and a collegiate national championship team.
Like his father, C.B. III went to Central State, where he was an integral part of the Bronchos' 1962 NAIA national championship squad.
100 years of Oklahoman All-State football teams
Over the next four weeks, 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. The second installment of the series looks at the fives — 1915, 1925, 1935, etc. On Wednesday, we'll look back at the sixes.