Recently I covered the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Boone Pickens Stadium at OSU before the Georgia game. Not one to normally be nostalgic, I none-the-less started thinking back about the 32 years I’ve been covering football at OSU and OU too. Maybe it was wearing the 1970′s denim photo vest that staffer John Clanton and his wife Julie had dared me to wear. I accepted and then went full retro (except using digital cameras instead of film). See photo. I somehow convinced Epperson’s Photo of how smart it would be for them to give me the vest, since I was such an important photographer! LOL
When I started coming to Stillwater for The Oklahoman the stadium was not much more than rusty bleachers and now it is one of the finest facilities in the Big 12 if not the country. As I made my way through the press box and worked the sidelines there were only 5 faces I saw that had been around as long. Mike Holder who was golf coach back then is now the Athletic Director. Pat Quinn was the SID when I started, but long since retired. Dr. Cooper is still patrolling the sidelines as is Steve Ingram, an OSU campus police officer who I have seen just about every season. And John Biever with Sports Illustrated was at the game too.
Not many working peers left, but lots of athletes in front of the lens. A few stand out. The best receiver I ever covered was Hart Lee Dykes. The guy could catch anything thrown his direction. Speaking of throwing, another OSU player named Mike Gundy stands out. Don’t know if he’s the best, but I have covered him at MWC high school, OSU as a player and now a coach. That’s history.
Thurman Thomas and a guy named Barry Sanders are near the top of the running back list. But my favorite all time running back to photograph was Billy Sims. I just like the way he glided around the field. Add two other Heisman winners, Jason White and Sam Bradford and that’s four Heisman players I’ve covered.
A couple of others who stand out are Brian Bosworth and Adrian Peterson. Bosworth played with passion and Peterson is, well, AD. I’m horrible with names, so I’m sure there are others I should mention, especially members of OSU’s swarming defenses over the years that I made iconic images of.
After a week off for a wedding, I’m back in Stillwater today covering the game with Rice. Please, no rain! I’m starting to feel old.