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Sooner Jr. focuses on kids, fitness, academics

BY ANTHONY SLATER, Staff Writer, Published: July 18, 2011

NORMAN — Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione announced on Monday a comprehensive youth initiative called Sooner Jr.

The announcement, held at the Sooner Club inside Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, will teach kids about fitness, academics, nutrition and sportsmanship by utilizing the latest technology and animation.

“It is part of our goal to link our university's brand with areas of education and life skills,” Castiglione said. “We believe it may be the first of its kind in college athletics, and it is always exciting for us to be on the cutting edge of something special.”

As part of the initiative, an iPhone application will be released in the coming weeks, allowing children to play educational games and awarding them points for different fitness exercises.

Charlie Taylor, the director of marketing, emphasized the importance of expanding into the digital world.

“In research that we got in last week, 67 percent of our fan base has a Smartphone now,” Taylor said. “So, we are right on track with where we need to be.”

But the face of the entire project will not be a particular person. Through the use of animation, that symbol will be the mascots Boomer and Sooner.

To bring them to life on the screen, Castiglione sought out the expertise of Dominic Carola, president and entertainment director at Prentice Entertainment.

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