Jenni Carlson
Columnist

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football games. Her mom kept the scorebook during baseball games and yelled her head off no matter the sport. They passed along that passion to Carlson and her two younger brothers.



Carlson played golf in high school and planned to play in college, but when she started at the University of Kansas, she decided to focus her attention on journalism. It’s a decision that she’s never regretted.



Her first big story was a profile on Kansas basketball coach Roy Williams for the yearbook, and Carlson has enjoyed interviewing sports figures and sharing their stories every since.
Carlson is a 1997 graduate of Kansas. She and her husband, Ryan, were married in 2009 and live in Oklahoma City. They welcomed their first child, Millie, in June 2012. Carlson was the president of the Association for Women in Sports Media from 2008-10 and chair of the board from 2010-12.



Top Stories


  • U.S. Senior Open: Gene Sauers lucky to be playing

    By Jenni Carlson | Published: Wed, Jul 9, 2014

    COMMENTARY — A rare disease that was killing his skin cells sidelined the golfer for a while, but now he’s back on the course and ready to play Oak Tree National this week.

  • U.S. Senior Open: A special day for Mark Gardiner

    By Jenni Carlson | Published: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    COMMENTARY — Military Appreciation Day at Oak Tree National had special significance for Gardiner, who qualified for this week’s tournament after retiring from the Air Force.

  • U.S. Senior Open: Looking for someone to root for? Esteban Toledo is your guy

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Mon, Jul 7, 2014

    No player has come further or overcome more. No player appreciates — genuinely appreciates — where he is any more than Toledo.

  • Why Foster Riley thanks the Boys & Girls Club for changing his path in life

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Sun, Jul 6, 2014

    Foster Riley wrestled and played basketball the past four years for Northwest Classen. Earlier this spring, he graduated high school. Later this summer, he will report for basic training in the Army. And none of that would’ve happened without the Boys & Girls Club. When Riley heard that a flood had damaged the club and it would have to close for a few days, he cried.

  • Oklahoma State's Shadrack Kipchirchir runs after his American dream

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Sat, Jul 5, 2014

    COMMENTARY — Cowboy standout finished second in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Championships. But his road to Stillwater was even longer.

  • Tulsa Shock: How a season with 'Coach C' helped spark former Oklahoma star Courtney Paris' breakout WNBA season

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Fri, Jul 4, 2014

    How did Courtney Paris go from bust to boom in the WNBA? It goes back to a city on the Mediterranean coast and a man who she calls Coach C — Ceyhun Yildizoglu, a coach in the Turkish Basketball League.

  • Despite America's exit from the World Cup, soccer's growth in U.S. is likely to continue

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Wed, Jul 2, 2014

    The notion that everyone will stop caring about soccer now that the Americans are out of the World Cup? That ain’t true.

  • Better believe it, the U.S.A. can beat Belgium

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Mon, Jun 30, 2014

    As the U.S. prepares to face Belgium in a win-or-go-home match, I went searching for those spots that I’d somehow missed. And as the images of players and fans and matches and highlights rolled, I realized something. I believe.

  • Johnny Bench Tournament is not like any other; it's for Caleb Spady

    By Jenni Carlson | Published: Sun, Jun 29, 2014

    The tournament is not played because of its namesake. Not because of its history. No, the three-day tournament that starts Monday is special because of a relationship forged between a pro ball player and a kid with brain cancer, a friendship that defied age and sickness and even death.

  • 2014 Scholar-Athlete: Determination, competitiveness set Hayley Redwine apart

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Sun, Jun 29, 2014

    Hayley Redwine was a two-time first-team All-City selection in cross country and led Norman to a state runner-up finish as a senior, and in track, she medaled in every individual event that she ran at state as a junior and senior.

  • Thunder is giving you a glimpse at the big picture

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Fri, Jun 27, 2014

    It’s a pretty big deal when the Thunder allows a peek over the wall and a glimpse at what’s going on behind the scenes. That’s exactly what happened on draft night.

  • Oklahoma City Thunder: With unexpected choices, Sam Presti's up to his old draft night tricks again

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Thu, Jun 26, 2014

    How many times have we seen this? How many times have we realized he was right? The Thunder general manager selected Michigan power forward Mitch McGary with the 21st pick, then took Stanford small forward Josh Huestis with the 29th pick.

  • Brian Harvey remembers when soccer was unwelcome in many places

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Updated: Wed, Jun 25, 2014

    Oklahoma’s ‘Mr. Soccer’ has watched the sport’s place in the American landscape change over the years. And it’s all been positive.

  • Oklahoma State basketball: Why Markel Brown could be a hidden gem in the NBA Draft

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Mon, Jun 23, 2014

    Leaving behind the NBA Finals and heading into the NBA Draft, lots of teams are trying to find the next Danny Green. Maybe that guy is Markel Brown.

  • Andrew Heaney's big league debut is a photographic memory for family

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Updated: Fri, Jun 20, 2014

    Thursday night, when the scoreboard at Marlins Park in Miami rolled the starting pitchers and her son’s name appeared, Chris Kenney was quick to grab her cell phone and snap a photo. The image is a bit blurry, and you can’t really make out ANDREW HEANEY, but she considers it a keepsake. Your son doesn’t make his Major League debut every day.

  • Meet the Edmond mom who runs so other moms don't have to walk for water

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Wed, Jun 18, 2014

    Next week, this mother of two who struggled to get from the couch to the floor not so long ago will put on her fluorescent yellow Sauconys and run from Tulsa to Oklahoma City. She will raise awareness and funds for women and children who don’t have access to water and must walk for miles to find it.

  • World Cup: Soccer finding its place in Oklahoma City fans' hearts

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Wed, Jun 11, 2014

    As the World Cup begins in Brazil, soccer is no longer the outlier that it was even a few years ago in Oklahoma City. Just ask Colin Mall, president of the OKC chapter of the American Outlaws, an unofficial fan club of the U.S. national soccer teams.

  • Thunder loses more than a third-string point guard in Derek Fisher

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Mon, Jun 9, 2014

    Fisher, after all, was way more than the third-string point guard during his nearly three seasons in Oklahoma City. He became a steadying force for the Thunder, a player who had the respect of every guy in the locker room, a veteran who knew what it took to win a title and shared that knowledge in a way that didn’t offend anyone.

  • Jacque Jerome's five children learning to move on without their biggest cheerleader

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Fri, Jun 6, 2014

    Jacque Jerome wasn’t a baseball fan. Or a soccer fan. Or a rodeo fan. But she was fanatical about her children. When they fell in love with those activities, so did she. Now, her children — her 23-year-old son KT and her 13-year-old quadruplets — are wondering who will be their biggest cheerleader. Jacque was killed in a car accident Sunday.

  • For Oklahomans, here's a reason why the Spurs' triumph isn't so bad

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Tue, Jun 3, 2014

    COMMENTARY -- While the Thunder's loss to the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals has been a heartache for most Oklahomans, it's been a godsend for Conner Davey of Washington as he battles cancer.




Jenni Carlson Wed, Jul. 09 2014 10:37:40 AM CST One more reason to root for Mark Gardiner: he sent me a personal thank you note. Classy, classy, classy. LINK
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 04:50:29 PM CST All joking aside, I hope everyone stays safe in Brazil after that. Everyone needs to keep their heads. Literally.
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 04:49:21 PM CST Har! RT @Title_Monkey: @JenniCarlson_OK surely they'll take a knee soon
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 04:28:03 PM CST RT @Yahoo_Graham: Oh wait, Brazil still has to play another game. #salt #wound
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 04:27:41 PM CST RT @PatrickONealOSU: “@JenniCarlson_OK: Will Germany kick the extra point or go for two at this point?” Big game Bob says fake it to the ki…
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 04:26:55 PM CST @joannecgerstner Free kielbasa!
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 04:26:33 PM CST Will Germany kick the extra point or go for two at this point?
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 04:08:39 PM CST It's a little hard to tell from the TV, but it looks like in some sections of the stands are are extracurriculars goin' down.
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 03:41:16 PM CST @mkokc @TheFoodDood Go with the hammer: WAXED.
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 03:40:36 PM CST @TheFoodDood Climate change, global warming. Potato, patatoe.
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 03:39:58 PM CST @TheFoodDood, clearly the correct answer to your question is, "Obama"
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 03:39:10 PM CST My friend @TheFoodDood is doing reasons Brazil is getting waxed. Join him. It's fun! I'll go, "Global warming."
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 03:37:54 PM CST U.S. loses 1-0 to Germany and Brazil is already down 5-0. So, clearly, the U.S. woulda kicked some Brazilian tail.
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 03:36:03 PM CST RT @SamBorden: I never thought I'd say this: Brazilian fans are leaving, before halftime, of a World Cup semifinal in their home country. I…
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 03:34:54 PM CST RT @SBNation: Brazil can still win if they catch the Golden Snitch, though
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 03:34:18 PM CST RT @OU_Patrick: @JenniCarlson_OK O they are staying. Might burn the stadium down, but they are staying.
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 03:34:09 PM CST If Brazil kicks a field goal, it's right back in this thing ...
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 03:32:02 PM CST How many fans come back after halftime? Or how many STAY until halftime? Wowza.
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 11:05:57 AM CST @ErikHorneOK @emilylangok If people were paying for people's stuff, then we'd be set! ;)
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 08 2014 11:05:42 AM CST @ginamizell I'm going to have to stop following you. You tweet about OSU, and I think it's Oklahoma State. Yeesh ...