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Game of life: Bert Cole went missing in action, but returned to help Oklahoma A&M win Sugar Bowl

Cole became a B-24 pilot during World War II, where his plane was shot down and he was missing for six months. He returned after the war to help Oklahoma A&M.
by Scott Munn Published: June 10, 2013

A farewell to people with Oklahoma ties who enjoyed the game day experience:

*American hero Bert Cole, 92, played football at Altus Junior College — now known as Western Oklahoma State — from 1938-40. He transferred to Oklahoma A&M — now Oklahoma State — where he intended to play football. But he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps to defend his country during World War II and became a B-24 pilot in the European theater. Cole's plane was shot down over Yugoslavia; he survived the crash but was listed as missing action for six months. After the Allied victory, he returned to Oklahoma A&M and played offensive and defensive tackle in 1945 and 1946, helping the Aggies win the Sugar Bowl in '46. After earning bachelor and master's degrees in agronomy, he farmed and worked for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture. The father of six donated more than 200 pints of blood during his lifetime for those in need.

*Retired educator Jack Mulkey died at age 95 in Edmond. Before joining the Army, Mulkey was a star football player at Fresno State University. The wide receiver and defensive back was the first two-time All-American (1939, 1940) in Fresno State history. He helped the Bulldogs to a 25-6-0 record over the 1938-40 seasons, including a Pineapple Bowl victory over Hawaii in 1940. Mulkey was also the first Fresno State player drafted; he was chosen in the 15th round in 1941 by the Chicago Bears. He was inducted into the school's athletics Hall of Fame in 1975.

*Former Tulsa Oilers public address announcer Fred Campbell died recently at age 74. Campbell was the P.A. man for the original Oilers in the 1960s and took the microphone when the Central Hockey League returned in the 1990s. “Fred was a great friend, and he meant a great deal to our team,” Oilers president Jeff Lund said on the team website. “He was so loyal to our organization, and I know how much our fans loved listening to him.”

*Former Putnam City football player Billy Cook died at age 36. The Oklahoma City native earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Central Oklahoma, where he lettered over the 1995-97 seasons. He was a two-year starter on the Bronchos' offensive line. Worked for the Xerox Corporation at the time of death.

*Kenny Adkison succumbed to brain cancer 3½ years after he was diagnosed. He was 41. Adkison played football and golf at Putnam City West High School; he earned a football scholarship to Northwestern Oklahoma State and started four seasons at defensive back for the Rangers. The first-team Academic All-American was a Dallas resident at the time of death.

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by Scott Munn
Sports Assistant Editor
Scott Munn joined The Oklahoman/Oklahoma City Times sports staffs in October 1982. He spent a year as a formcharter, three years on the desk and 16 as a reporter. Scott has spent the last nine years as an evening assistant sports editor. Scott's...
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By the numbers

4: First-round draft choices in the Major League Baseball Draft from the University of Oklahoma since 2004. Pitcher Jonathan Gray was chosen Thursday by the Colorado Rockies; pitcher Garrett Richards was picked in 2009 by the Los Angeles Angels; catcher Jackson Williams was selected in 2007 by San Francisco; and pitcher David Purcey was picked in '04 by Toronto. Before Purcey, though, the Sooners had not had a first-round player since 1995, when pitcher Mark Redman was picked by Minnesota.

18: Age of new American Sprint Car Series Sooner Region competition director Terry Mattox. The ASCS said despite Mattox's age, the Drumright resident has “worked in racing for the past three years as a scorer, flagman, announcer and general official” for the rival Oil Capital Racing Series. The youngster has also served as competition director and public relations director at Creek County Speedway in Sapulpa.

50: Wins, including three rounds of playoffs, this season for the Oklahoma City Barons.

56: Yards on Gerald Jones' catch-and-run touchdown Saturday night during the Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters' semi-pro football game at Putnam City Stadium. Jones caught a screen pass from Beau Ranck, juked one defender and outraced two more to the end zone. Jones is a former Oklahoman All-State Offensive Player of the Year from Millwood. He played college football at Tennessee.

Small talk

The Oklahoman asked high school athletes: What are the top-two things on your bucket list?

Gavin Hale, soccer, Yukon:

“Go far in soccer. Live to 100.”

Alexa Baldini, tennis, Edmond Santa Fe:

“Meet Johnny Depp and go to Europe.”

Shaquan Burris, track, Edmond Memorial:

“Graduate from college, make it to the Olympics.”


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