Brian Odom owes a lot to Ada High School football.
“Ada did so much for me and allowed me to kind set myself up for the future,” said Odom, who in 1999 rushed for 2,490 yards and 40 touchdowns for the Cougars.
“They gave me the stinking ball 344 times. They gave me every chance to succeed.”
Odom had a season for the ages in 1999, setting school career records for rushing, scoring and total offense.
“It was a great time to play for Ada,” said Odom, who started as a freshman on the Cougars' 1996 state championship team that had a 42-game win streak snapped during the regular season by Durant.
Odom, who was Ada's starting tailback in 1999, also returned a punt for a score and passed for two touchdowns his senior season.
In observance of the 100th edition of The Oklahoman's All-State football team later this month, the newspaper is recognizing players from the previous 99 teams.
Odom was an All-State running back in 1999 and played on an Ada squad that was unbeaten and ranked No. 1 when it lost, 38-20, in the quarterfinals of the playoffs to McAlester.
The Cougars had beaten the Buffaloes, 40-0, two weeks earlier in the regular season. The quarterfinals loss was the only game that season where Odom did not run for a touchdown.
Odom said the Cougars were overconfident in the rematch, and the loss of fullback Brent Boatwright the week before against Tulsa Washington to a torn ACL was a critical blow.
“He was an awesome player,” Odom said. “Our whole offense kind of struggled because Brent wasn't leading up in the hole. I just ran behind him.”
As a junior, Odom was the starting quarterback for Ada, playing the position like Tim Tebow did before there was a Tim Tebow.
“We did an early version of the zone read offense,” Odom said. “It was probably closer to a single wing offense.”
Odom also had a couple of receiving weapons that year in Jeremy Shockey and Dan Cody.
“(Shockey) was the first guy at Ada to ever catch any kind of balls,” Odom said. “He had over 1,000 yards receiving. That was his first year to become a really good player.
“Dan was an unbelievable blocking tight end. He was just a devastating blocker. I think OU first recruited him as a tight end.”
That Ada team lost to Chickasha in the state semifinals.
“Carl Albert won it that year,” Odom said. “We beat them the second week of the season pretty handily. It was No. 1 vs. No. 2 at the time.
“We felt like we were probably the best team in the class, but that's why you play the games.”
Odom would sign with the University of Oklahoma after high school and redshirted during the 2000 national championship season.
In 2001, he played on special teams in every game for the Sooners except one, a game he missed after suffering a concussion the previous week. After that season, however, Odom decided to transfer to Southeastern.
“I wanted to get somewhere I could carry the ball,” he said. “It was going to be a situation where I would have done the same thing (play on special teams) all four years.
“It was a hard decision for me to leave. I liked the situation we had. Obviously, we were a great team and I had a lot of friends on the team. I really liked the coaches and respected the coaches. I just wanted a chance to carry the ball.”
Odom doesn't regret the decision to transfer.
“It turned out to be the right decision,” he said. “I played on three pretty good teams (at Southeastern), and the last year I was there we played in the playoffs.”
Odom is still a Cougar, but now he is a Houston Cougar. He heads the strength and conditioning program for the University of Houston.
After leaving Southeastern, Odom took a graduate assistant's job on Gary Pinkel's staff at Missouri where his older brother, Barry, was the recruiting coordinator.
He stayed at Missouri one year before joining the University of Arizona and becoming one of its strength and conditioning coaches.
He remained at Arizona until Mike Stoops and the coaching staff was replaced by Rich Rodriguez. Odom landed the Houston job in January.
Odom, 31, said it was Oklahoma's strength and conditioning coach, Jerry Schmidt, who inspired him to take his current career path.
“He is the reason I wanted to do this,” Odom said. “He is the godfather of this business in the weight room. The program he ran, I really respected it.”
Odom hasn't attended an Ada football game since the last one he played, but follows the school's success through the media.
In 1999, Odom was the Tulsa World's high school “Player of the Year.” The Oklahoman's selection was Wes Welker of Heritage Hall.
When reminded of that, Odom laughed and said, “Looks like the Daily Oklahoman made a good decision on that one.”