Seven notables inducted into Oklahoma Hall of Fame

New members are retired Gen. Tommy Franks, Harold Hamm, Marques Haynes, Cathy Keating, Steve Malcolm, Roger Miller and Elizabeth Warren.
BY KEN RAYMOND kraymond@opubco.com Published: November 18, 2011

Seven state luminaries were inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame on Thursday in a ceremony at the Cox Convention Center.

The Hall's newest members are retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks, oil executive Harold Hamm, Harlem Globetrotters great Marques Haynes, former Oklahoma first lady Cathy Keating, business leader Steve Malcolm, country singer Roger Miller and U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren.

The inductees were honored with individual video tributes and Hall of Fame medallions. They were introduced by presenters of their choosing, including leaders in business, media, education and athletics.

Miller, who died of cancer in 1992, was honored posthumously. His widow, Mary Miller, planned to be present for the induction ceremony but was unable to attend due to a family medical situation. Instead, the Millers' son, country singer Dean Miller, represented the family, singing a version of his father's 1964 hit, “King of the Road.”

Induction into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed on citizens by the state. The new members join 641 previous honorees enshrined in the Hall since 1928.

The Oklahoma Hall of Fame Gallery opened at the Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City in 2007.

Portraits of the inductees will be added to the gallery. Touch-screen computers allow visitors to access biographies and photographs.

Members are selected based on public service and other contributions to humanity, the state and the nation.

Gov. Mary Fallin appeared at the event. “We have the most dynamic heritage of any state in the union. I am proud to be an Oklahoman,” she said, closing the ceremony.

The Oklahoman spoke with six of the inductees or their representatives in the days leading up to the induction ceremony.

Tommy Franks, Wynnewood

“What a neat deal,” Franks said in a phone interview. “Clay Bennett called me, gosh, maybe eight months ago and said he'd nominated me to do this, and I thought it'd be a great deal. My gosh, what an honor.”

Franks, 66, was born in Wynnewood but grew up in Midland, Texas. After two years at the University of Texas, he joined the Army. Later he earned degrees from UT-Arlington and Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

Franks was commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command, overseeing military operations in 25 countries. He led the attacks on the Taliban in Afghanistan after 9/11 and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

His efforts earned him an assortment of military honors, including three Bronze Stars with valor and three Purple Hearts for his work in Vietnam. He received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, two Distinguished Service Medals, four Legions of Merit, Air Medal with Valor, and an Army Commendation Medal with Valor.

He retired from the military in 2003 but hasn't slowed down.

“We're going just about nonstop,” he said. “A couple weeks ago we were in Jordan at the World Economic Forum. Before that, we were down in Texas doing some talks, and then we were up in North Carolina. ... My wife (Cathryn) and I just do a great deal of traveling, but we're home-based in Oklahoma on a little ranch down by Roosevelt. We probably spend about 90 percent of our time here.”

Franks was introduced at the induction ceremony by Bennett, the president of Dorchester Capital and chairman of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Franks said the Hall of Fame is important because of the values for which it stands.

“More than being about those of us who are fortunate to be selected to join the ranks of the Hall of Fame,” he said, “it's about what Oklahoma represents.”

Harold Hamm, Enid

Asked to describe how he feels about his inclusion in the Hall of Fame, Hamm came up with one word: “Wonderful.”

“That's the best way to describe it right off,” said Hamm, 65, an oilman who came from working class roots. “It's a tremendous honor. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to be in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.”

Hamm is the youngest of 13 children, all but three of whom have perished. His parents were sharecroppers. After graduating from Enid High School, he worked in the oil fields before launching a one-truck oil-field service business in Ringwood.

In 1967, he incorporated Shelly Dean Oil Co., which later became Continental Resources, an oil and gas exploration company operating in 20 countries. Hamm is chairman and chief executive.

He is chairman of the board of Hiland Partners GP Holdings and a board member of Complete Production Services. He is past chairman of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association and a founding member of the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board.

The Harold and Sue Ann Hamm Foundation donated $10 million for the Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center at OU Medical Center.

In a phone interview, he said his success was fueled by a constant feeling that time was wasting. He needed to hurry.

“My career is one of those things that I kind of look at as almost divine, you know, in how humbly I got started in the business,” he said. “I went at it the wrong way. I did the whole thing backward. I went out in the oil field and made a fortune, and then I went to college.”

University of Oklahoma President David Boren presented Hamm at the induction. The two have been friends since Boren's gubernatorial campaign in 1974.

“We both came from humble means,” Hamm said. “I'm very proud of what he's accomplished in his life, so I thought he could share some of the things we've been through over the years. I'm one of his biggest fans, and he's been one of mine, frankly.”

Marques Haynes, Sand Springs

Haynes, 85, already is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Langston University Hall of Fame, the NAIA Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

Thursday's induction ceremony brought his total to five.

“I don't have a favorite,” he said recently. “I got the same good feeling about each one of them.”

Haynes was born in Sand Springs and led Booker T. Washington High School to the 1941 national basketball championship. He starred at Langston from 1942-1946, leading the team in scoring and to a record of 112-3.

In the late stages of Haynes' collegiate career, Langston played the Harlem Globetrotters in Oklahoma City. Langston won by four points, and the Globetrotters were so impressed by Haynes' performance that they tried to hire him on the spot.

“They wanted me to travel with them that night,” he said. “I told them, ‘I can't leave here. I'm a senior in college. I'm set to graduate in May. If I left and my Mom found out, she'd find me and kill me.”

After graduation, he played six years with the Globetrotters. His career included stints with the Harlem Magicians, which he founded, as well as the Harlem Wizards and the Bucketeers.

In a career spanning four decades, he played more than 12,000 games, traveled more than 4 million miles and wowed fans in nearly 100 countries. He retired in 1992.

NBA legend Bill Russell presented Haynes at the induction ceremony. The two have been friends for decades, Haynes said. The Magicians sometimes played on the preliminary card at Boston Gardens before Russell's Celtics took the floor.



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