The eight-plus year run of the Oklahoma High School Sports Express appears to be coming to an end, leaving a noticeable void in the high school sports scene.
The show’s founder and host, Van Shea Iven, was named director of media relations by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association board of directors on Wednesday, though he plans to bring some of the highly successful show’s elements to the OSSAA.
Iven will finish the school year on the show, but he has no plans to hand control over to someone on the outside.
“I’m not going to have time to do it and if the Oklahoma High School Sports Express is going to carry on, I want it to be done right,” he said. “I want kids to get covered in every sport from all corners of the state and get a chance to be on TV.”
After spending 17 years with KFOR, Iven started the Sports Express in January 2006. During the show’s run, he has named on average nearly 200 student athletes per episode. He said the show will end at 320 episodes, bringing the total to nearly 60,000 names.
Things have recently changed for Iven with the birth of his son Turner in October. Moving to the OSSAA will allow him to spend more time with his family.
“I’ve loved every minute of it, but this gives me a little more freedom to be with my wife and my son.”
It will also allow Iven to expand the OSSAA’s presence as he will oversee media relations, the organization’s webpage and publications.
“We’re just excited about what he brings to the organization and what he can do to promote our kids and our playoffs,” OSSAA executive director Ed Sheakley said. “Our website is pretty much an information site where you want to go and get rules, get playoff information, get brackets. Well, we want to change that. We want to put video clips of our championships, we want to put sound bites of our championships, we want to look at social media and it continues our mission that we’re all about kids.”
STATE BASEBALL SITES DETERMINED
OSSAA assistant director Mike Whaley called it a perfect storm.
Whaley announced the final plan for the spring baseball state tournament sites, with all classes being played in the Oklahoma City area and receiving a 12-0 vote for approval from the board.
The biggest news is that the University of Oklahoma will be the host for the entire Class 6A tournament and the Class 5A semifinals and championship, while Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark will host the championships for Classes 4A-2A. The tournaments will be held May 15-17.
“We haven’t had this opportunity before,” Whaley told the board. “We’re very excited.”
The Class A and Class B semifinals and championships will remain at Dolese Park, with Class B opening the tournament Thursday, May 8, at Edmond Memorial before moving to Dolese Park on May 9 and May 10.
Class 5A’s quarterfinals will be at Norman North on Thursday, May 15, before moving to OU’s L. Dale Mitchell Park the next two days.
Class 4A’s quarterfinals and semifinals will be played at Edmond Santa Fe, Class 3A will be at Edmond Memorial and Class 2A will be at Shawnee.
Whaley said there will not be one site for the semifinals as in the past to allow for scheduling flexibility with teams possibly facing graduation that evening.
AARON YOUNG HEADED TO ORU
Another Edmond Memorial product is heading for Division I basketball.
Aaron Young has signed with Oral Roberts, becoming the fourth former Bulldog in the last four years to join one of the state's D-I programs.
Young was one of the heroes of Memorial’s 2013 state championship run, hitting the game-winning shot in the Class 6A semifinals.
Young played his freshman season at Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton.
He joins former Bulldog Obi Emegano at ORU. Memorial’s James Woodard is currently at Tulsa and his brother, Jordan Woodard, is at OU.
STILWELL HIRES J.T. COBBLE AS FOOTBALL COACH
Hoping that the proverbial apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, Stilwell hired J.T. Cobble as its new football coach this week.
Cobble is the son of Hall of Fame coach Tom Cobble, who has been successful at a number of stops, most notably El Reno, Weatherford and Enid. He’s currently at Chickasha, where J.T. had been serving as his offensive coordinator.
Stilwell had a late surge to end the season with three wins in its final five games, but finished 4-6 and one win short of the playoffs.
MAX WARIBOKO-ALALI PICKS UP FIRST OFFER
Defensive back Max Wariboko-Alali picked up his first scholarship offer Tuesday night from Louisville, adding to the growing list of talent at Casady.
Wariboko-Alali, the younger brother of Oklahoma commitment Josh Wariboko-Alali, is a 5-foot-10, 168-poind sophomore who recorded 41 tackles last season.
Junior quarterback T’Quan Wallace is also attending the Texas spring game this weekend, according to his father.