Seattle’s NBA team has moved to Oklahoma City, but Oklahoma has been sending sporting figures to Seattle for decades.
: The pride of Hollis was a football star at OU under Bud Wilkinson, went into coaching and became head coach at Mississippi State. Two years , later the University of Washington hired Royal, who led the Huskies to a 5-5 record in 1956. That December, Texas came calling, and a Longhorn legend was born.
: When Royal left for Texas, UW turned to another of Wilkinson’s famed ‘49ers, the 1949 seniors who fought a war, then came to OU and turned the Sooners into a national power. Owens, an all-American end from Classen High School, became a Washington institution. He coached the Huskies 18 years, going 99-82-6 from 1957-74, and today, a statue of Owens stands outside Husky Stadium.
: Another Wilkinson all-American became an icon not with the University of Washington, but the Seattle Seahawks. Catlin, who came out of Ponca City, played center and linebacker at OU from 1950-52. Catlin then went to the NFL and eventually became a pro coach for 36 years, the final 13 as the Seahawks defensive coordinator.
: The greatest Seahawk of them all came out of Putnam City High School and the University of Tulsa. In 14 years as a Seahawk receiver, Largent had 819 catches for 100 touchdowns; he’s now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
: One of the great college linebackers of all time at OU, the Boz went to the Seahawks in the 1987 supplemental draft; signed a 10-year, $11-million contract that was the biggest ever for a rookie; and started 24 games over three seasons. But a shoulder injury ended his career.