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Game of life: Dr. William Grana was a pioneer in sports medicine

Grana founded the state's first medicine facility in 1983 before becoming the University of Arizona College of Medicine's first chief of orthopedic surgery.
by Scott Munn Published: February 11, 2013

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

*Dr. William Grana was a pioneer in sports medicine, doing extensive research on artificial knee ligaments. He founded the state's first sports medicine facility, the Oklahoma Center for Athletes, in 1983. Before moving to Tucson, Ariz., in 2000, where Grana would become the University of Arizona College of Medicine's first chief of orthopedic surgery, he served as team physician or consultant for several high school, university and professional sports teams in Oklahoma. Grana was also a physician for U.S. teams at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. The Air Force veteran and former Harvard football star died of cancer on Feb. 1 at age 70.

*Known for having a flicking left and a sharpshooting right, Kenneth Keel was a successful amateur boxer. He was a 147-pound welterweight for the Oklahoma City Boxing Club in the 1940s. Keel also boxed while in the Army, serving in Occupied Japan and the Korean War. He later coached track and football for the Blanchard and Putnam City schools. Keel retired as a teacher/coach after 27 years, and then raised cattle in Stratford. He died at age 86.

*Yukon resident Jim Southworth once served as the chaplain and kickers/punters coach for the TCU football team. Southworth was the Fellowship of Christian Athletes' director for north central Texas for 13 years. A Church of the Nazarene pastor for 25 years. Southworth died recently at age 72.

*Pauline Buntin, the matriarch of the Buntin racing family of Oklahoma City, died at age 87. The Buntins raced stock cars at defunct State Fair Speedway and continue to do so at tracks around Oklahoma. A family obituary said one of Pauline's favorite pastimes was watching her sons and grandsons race.

*Accomplished golfer John Geresi was a groundskeeper at the Karsten Creek Course in Stillwater. He died at age 76 of brain cancer. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native excelled at soccer as a youngster, leading his high school team to the New York City championship. Geresi also played semipro soccer for the Danish Athletic Club. A fan of the New York Yankees and Oklahoma State sports.

*Longtime Sallisaw High School coach Ronnie Asbill died recently after a brief illness. He spent 40 years as a head or assistant coach at Sallisaw, which was also his alma mater. Asbill spent the 1988 through 1995 seasons as head football coach, guiding the Black Diamonds to five Class 4A playoff appearances. The 1990 team finished 10-4 and reached the state finals. Asbill also coached wrestling and golf.

*Robert Foster Sr. of Del City was retired from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife. He was an avid bowler who was in two leagues up until his death at age 78.

*Matt Van Horn excelled in track and field, setting the pole vault record at Etta Dale Junior High in El Reno. He continued the sport in high school while living in Nashville, Ark. Employed by the Community Action Agency, which gave troubled youth the opportunity to work on homes in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. The Oklahoma City resident died at age 48.

*Clarence Avery quarterbacked Lawton High for two seasons, including a 7-3 team in 1948. He went on to play at Cameron Junior College, but his career was cut short by a knee injury. Avery was a combat veteran of the Korean conflict. He returned to Lawton afterward and operated several businesses. He died recently at age 82.

*James Colpitt was a football player and wrestler at Collinsville High School and Kemper Military Academy (Mo.). Colpitt won 12 wrestling tournaments one season at Kemper, only losing in the national junior college final. He was an outdoorsman who liked to hunt birds and fish. As a youngster, Colpitt raised and showed Poland China hogs, winning several national awards. The World War II veteran was a rancher and an independent oil and gas producer. He died Tuesday at age 90.

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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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World champion teams in the four major sports 10, 20 and 30 years ago:


MLB: Florida Marlins: Mark Redman, 14 wins

NBA: San Antonio Spurs: Tim Duncan, 23.3 ppg

NFL: New England Patriots: Tom Brady, Super Bowl MVP

NHL: New Jersey Devils: Martin Brodeur, stud then, stud now


MLB: Toronto Blue Jays: Joe Carter, World Series hero

NBA: Chicago Bulls: MJ.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys: The Triplets

NHL: Montreal Canadiens: The Yankees of hockey


MLB: Baltimore Orioles: Tippy Martinez, 21 saves

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers: Say, hey, Dr. J.

NFL: Los Angeles Raiders: LA had two teams in '83.

NHL: New York Islanders: Dynasty


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