Big 12 basketball: Despite detours, everything has worked out fine for Ryan Spangler

Spangler led Bridge Creek to unprecedented success, and he’s helped OU reach the Big 12 Tournament as the No. 2 seed. But he had to make a few stops along the way.
by Ryan Aber Published: March 12, 2014

Before contact was made, Kruger and his assistants had talked to Gonzaga’s coaches about Spangler.

“We knew they wanted him back,” Henson said. “They liked him, and they were happy with what he was doing. He was a little bit homesick, and they had a logjam at the time.

“It worked out very well for us.”

It’s not the only time things have fallen into place nicely for Spangler.

When his family moved back to Oklahoma from Texas, when Spangler was in middle school, his parents liked what they heard about the Newcastle school district.

Newcastle had solid athletic facilities and had success in football and basketball.

That was important for Larry, who had coached football and whose two older boys had gone on to play college football.

But when the house was built and the paperwork started rolling in, the family found out the house was actually in the Bridge Creek school district.

Bridge Creek had struggled at both sports for a long time.

The Spanglers tried to transfer Ryan to Newcastle, but they were told the district wasn’t accepting outside transfers.

They went to Tuttle, where Larry knew Tigers football coach Phil Koons, but got the same response there.

So he was stuck at Newcastle for at least a year.

But during his eighth-grade football season, at Bridge Creek, Spangler knew almost immediately where he should’ve been all along.

He put up huge numbers and helped Bridge Creek to playoffs as a quarterback, then as a senior led the Bobcats to the Class 4A championship game.

“The group I had with me, we were athletic so I just stayed and it worked out for the best,” Spangler said.

First with Bridge Creek and then with OU, the route wasn’t always the direct one or the preferred one but each time, things have wound up for the best.

“My wife and I tell each other all the time, ‘We’ve been living good,’” Larry said. “Because everything’s worked out.”

by Ryan Aber
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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