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Football returning to Oklahoma Baptist for first time since 1940

The OBU program was cut long ago because of financial hardship, but this fall football returns to the school with former Southmoore coach Chris Jensen at the helm.
BY RHIANNON WALKER Staff Writer rwalker@opubco.com Published: July 20, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma Baptist University President  David Whitlock and Athletic Director Robert Davenport introduced Chris Jensen, shown here,  as the school's first  head football coach since 1940 to a group of about 60 people in the Mabee Suite of the Noble Complex on the university campus on Wednesday morning, Jan. 18, 2012.  Jensen comes to OBU from the head coaching position at Southmoore High School. Jensen and his wife, Patti, have three children.   Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma Baptist University President David Whitlock and Athletic Director Robert Davenport introduced Chris Jensen, shown here, as the school's first head football coach since 1940 to a group of about 60 people in the Mabee Suite of the Noble Complex on the university campus on Wednesday morning, Jan. 18, 2012. Jensen comes to OBU from the head coaching position at Southmoore High School. Jensen and his wife, Patti, have three children. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Football is back at Oklahoma Baptist University.

The team is preparing for its first active season since 1940, when President John W. Raley cited financial hardship as the reason for the program being cut.

A leadership class was brought in last year to get acclimated to the university, its academic program and to begin practicing.

Now, the players are a little more than a month away from their first game. The excitement is palpable, said coach Chris Jensen.

“They have been very mature about how they've handled this,” Jensen said. “They took advantage of our opportunity to practice and prepare this past year.

“Obviously, they're eager, as well as the coaching staff is very eager, to take the field against somebody else. There comes a point, where you get tired of hitting your teammates, and you want to go out there and perform against somebody else to see where you measure up.”

Jensen, a former OU offensive lineman, was hired after he spent time at Southmoore High School. Jensen was the first football coach for Southmoore, which began play in 2008. In their second year, the SaberCats were 11-2 and reached the Class 6A semifinals and Jensen was named Class 6A-1 Coach of the Year.

He and his coaching staff have made a concerted effort to recruit Oklahoma players. More than 110 are expected to report to camp, and 85 or more are from Oklahoma.

“We were committed to recruit Oklahoma kids, and we found that a lot of good football players were still available here in Oklahoma,” Jensen said.

OBU began looking into adding football in 2006-07, but decided to hold off on the sport. In 2010, the school looked into the matter again.

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