Oklahoma tornadoes: Oklahoma State basketball coach Travis Ford has never seemed more Oklahoman

Something about helping people, something about feeling part of a cause bigger than yourself, grows on you. Which is how the OSU basketball coach spent two days in the parking lot of the Home Depot, one of the little dots in a long line of relief outlets for the Moore tornado.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 25, 2013
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photo - From left, OSU basketball coach Travis Ford, Tommy Wade, OSU's director of player development, and Lt. Leon Jones of the OSU Police Department help cook hamburgers in the parking lot of the Home Depot in Moore on Friday. PHOTO BY BERRY TRAMEL, THE OKLAHOMAN KOD
From left, OSU basketball coach Travis Ford, Tommy Wade, OSU's director of player development, and Lt. Leon Jones of the OSU Police Department help cook hamburgers in the parking lot of the Home Depot in Moore on Friday. PHOTO BY BERRY TRAMEL, THE OKLAHOMAN KOD

MOORE — Travis Ford stood over a charcoal cooker, flipping burgers and dogs with the same passion he once used to flip jump shots.

That was Thursday.

Then Friday, he did it again.

Something about helping people, something about feeling part of a cause bigger than yourself, grows on you.

Which is how the OSU basketball coach spent two days in the parking lot of the Home Depot, one of the little dots in a long line of relief outlets for the Moore tornado.

Ford and some of his staff members cooked hot dogs and hamburgers from 10 a.m. to 6-7 p.m. each day, and he doesn't even really know who his customers were.

Tornado victims. Relief workers. Whoever. He just knows they were eaten in droves.

“Ready to put McDonald's out of business,” Ford said with a smile.

Ford has been a solid, but not spectacular, Cowboy coach. Three NCAA Tournaments in six years, and with Marcus Smart's return next season, OSU figures to be among the nation's best teams.

But Ford never seemed more Oklahoman, never seemed like he belonged here more, than while he slaved over that hot stove.

Ford said he made a monetary donation to the relief cause but Wednesday got the itch to do more. One of his old pals back in Kentucky had gone on relief missions to Hurricane Katrina and Joplin, so Ford placed a call. The friend told Ford just load up and go cook, if he didn't know what else to do.

So Ford asked OSU police Lt. Leon Jones to find them a place where they could set up. Meanwhile, Ford borrowed the trailer cooker from his church, Sunnybrook Christian, and bought out all the burgers and hot dogs from a Perkins meat packing company. Wal-Mart donated ketchup and mustard.

And by 10 a.m. Thursday, Ford, Jones and staff members Tommy Wade and Joey Biggs were cooking away and passing out OSU T-shirts.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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