Former KOCO-5 sports director Jerry Park, who died Monday at age 76, was remembered by colleagues as a family man, excellent communicator and calm under pressure.
Mayor Mick Cornett, who worked with Park for more than 20 years at KOCO, remembered Park hosting an OU-Texas pregame show in the late 1970s from the Cotton Bowl when producers misjudged the timing of the show and he had four minutes to fill.
“I remember thinking how calm and collected he was when they told him he had four minutes,” Cornett said. “He made complete sentences. I adopted a quote, ‘Nobody says nothing better than Jerry.' He talked for four minutes about absolutely nothing, but you wouldn't necessarily would have picked up on it.”
Cornett called him “very sincere, very much a family man, good values.”
KWTV-9 sports director Dean Blevins, who worked with Park for six years, said, “He was a team-first guy and things didn't get under his skin very often. He handled pressure pretty well. A very likable, kind fellow.”
Blevins said Park offered him a job after he graduated from OU, but he instead went into the oil and gas business for five years. Blevins later joined KOCO in 1988.
When Park debuted as KOCO-5 sports director in 1974, the TV station heralded his arrival with an ad campaign that stated “Jerry Park is not a ballpark,” referring to the Montreal Expos' first stadium, Jarry Park. He contributed to KOCO's run as the top-rated station in the late '70s.
Park retired from the station in 1999, lasting a quarter of a century at one station in a high-stress industry. Interviewed at the time, Park said he left with wonderful memories.
“I've been to a lot of bowl games and done a lot of things, but as I look back, the thing I enjoyed most was the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles,” he said. “I spent 23 days out there.”
Park broke into broadcasting in 1956 as a disc jockey in Fort Worth, Texas, while attending Texas Christian University. He had television stops in Lubbock, Texas, and Dallas before arriving in Oklahoma City.
Park said a 1993 heart attack helped alter his priorities.
“After the heart attack, those things that were seemingly important to me, were no longer important at all — like being in front of a TV camera,” Park said. “The values of my family and the ones I care about were more important.”