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Collected wisdom: Judy Bugher and Oma Gean Capps

by Berry Tramel Published: July 6, 2013
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photo - Oma Gean Capps was honored in June at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame as one of the players on the Flying Queens. Photo provided.
Oma Gean Capps was honored in June at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame as one of the players on the Flying Queens. Photo provided.

Judy Bugher: “Well, I tell you what, it's such an enormous experience, playing there and going to school at that little Baptist university. I could have gone to play for the All-American Redheads. I went out to Clarendon Junior College, tried out there, they offered me a scholarship. I went out to Wayland, and they were just starting to give full scholarships. That's the only opportunities there was, as far as playing past high school.”

Oma Gean Capps: “I taught 27 years. All but about four of them were at Blair. My world is fairly limited. So really, the traveling with the Flying Queens was really exciting. I had never flown before at all. My roommate got Claude to take us up one afternoon. It was a beautiful day. I still remember it. It was a beautiful blue sky with these little white marshmallowy clouds. I loved that. I thought it was so exciting.”

Judy Bugher: “And the life lessons we learned. We behaved ourselves out there. We had signed that we would not dance, we would not drink, we would not smoke and we had to wear a dress, anytime we were outside the dorm. It had to be someone who wanted to abide by the rules.”

Oma Gean Capps: “When we enrolled, we signed a pledge card that said we wouldn't smoke, drink alcohol, don't remember if dance was on there or not. Might have been. And then we had curfews in the dormitories. At least the girls. So that kept us off the streets after about 10 on weeknights. But I never had done any of those things anyway, so it didn't matter to me.”

Judy Bugher: “The teams that we played were really good teams. We were able to pull out victories. We were in overtime several times. Coach finagled around, found a way to win. When we played AAU ball, didn't matter how many years you had played. There was really no rules, other than you had to be an amateur. Nashville Business College had some players that played for years. Ours graduated off, just like they do now.”

Oma Gean Capps: “I was there for three championships. Stopped to get married. Somewhere along the way, I thought, why didn't I stay one more year? I went back and married my high school coach. Delbert Long. We had just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, in 2006, when he passed away. So he had waited about three years for me, to get my college and basketball mostly over with, I guess. So that's when I left. We never dated. Never looked at each other cross-eyed or anything. He was there practically all my high school years, sophomore through senior year. He was just out of college. He was a veteran. He had gone to OU and played four years of baseball for Jack Baer.”

Judy Bugher: “We lost in the semifinals (ending the streak) to a team we had been playing for four years. We were eight points behind and had been behind most of the second half. Coach called timeout and told us, he said, ‘Now I tell you one thing, if we lose, make sure y'all are just as classy as all the time you've been winning.'”

Oma Gean Capps: “I think I learned from both my coaches that you don't have to yell and scream and beat players over the head. Delbert never coached that way. He didn't yell. And Harley, none of the coaches I had would jump down your throat at anything. They were just businesslike and got results.”

Judy Bugher: “I made coaching my career. I learned a lot of techniques in coaching, daily living, from Harley. He was always in a good humor, never yelled at us, just told us what to do and we did it. He was just a great coach.”

Oma Gean Capps: “Basketball influenced my life a lot. It calls for a lot of discipline on yourself. Creates a work ethic, I think, for a person who goes out for any athletic position. It gave a feeling of confidence that I could do a lot to make myself better and maybe that carried over from basketball into other areas. You build a relationship closer when you play on a team where you depend on each other and are responsible to each other.”

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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