Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame: 2013 class might be the second greatest ever

by Michael Baldwin Published: August 5, 2013
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One could argue the 2013 class is the best in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame's 28-year history other than the inaugural 1986 class.

The 2013 class, inducted Monday night at the Oklahoma National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum includes: Nadia Comaneci, an Olympic gold medal gymnast who scored the first perfect 10; college basketball coach Bill Self, who has won 507 games, including the 2008 NCAA championship; 16-time wrestling national champion Wayne Baughman; and Thunder chairman Clay Bennett, who brought an NBA team to Oklahoma City.

Three were inducted posthumously: former Oklahoma State two-sport star John Henry Ward, an All-American in football and wrestling who played in two Super Bowls; former OU quarterback Jimmy Harris, 25-0 as a starter, part of the Sooners' record 47-game winning streak; and former OCU great LeRoy “Ace” Gutowsky, who retired in 1939 as the NFL's career rushing leader.

The 1986 class?

Mickey Mantle, Allie Reynolds, Jim Thorpe, Bud Wilkinson, Carl Hubbell and Henry Iba.

RUSSELL RECEIVES STANDING OVATION

Hall of Famer Bill Russell, a 12-time All-Star, a five-time MVP who helped the Boston Celtics win 11 NBA titles received a standing ovation from the crowd before he introduced Bennett.

Known for his wit, Russell retold the story how Bennett informed him he knew of a great golf course named “Plantation” to which Russell quipped: “Clay: Don't ever say plantation to a black man.'”

COURTING NADIA

Comanechi and Bart Conner is the first husband-and-wife combo in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

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by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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