New Oklahoma Baptist football coach Chris Jensen said he has no idea where life would have taken him had he not walked on at Oklahoma more than 20 years ago.
Jensen did not play football for two years after graduating from Lawton High School. The offensive lineman had a partial scholarship offer from Southwestern State. He even had a nomination to the Naval Academy.
Jensen said he went through a “lazy period” in life.
“I was even afraid to throw the shot or disc because they might have made me run a lap to warm up,” Jensen said. “I did not have a plan for myself.”
Then the football bug returned and bit Jensen so hard that he showed up at OU as a walk-on. He played for the Sooners' scout team in 1990, earned a scholarship and started as a 6-foot-4, 290-pound senior guard in 1991 under coach Gary Gibbs. Jensen credited Lawton coaches Clarence Madden and Randy Breeze for developing his skills in high school and then-OU assistant Merv Johnson for fine tuning after the layoff.
And then there are the people in the Moore, Durant, Bartlesville and Little Axe school districts who gave Jensen a chance to learn the ups, downs and curves of coaching. All had a part in where Jensen is today.
“I'm very grateful to all of those people,” Jensen said.
*Should be a rule that college baseball season can't start before the Super Bowl. Northwestern State opens its season next Friday at Huston-Tillotson in Austin, Texas. The Rangers' home opener is Feb. 4 against McPherson (Kan.).
BY THE NUMBERS
*100 — Victories for the Langston women's basketball team under coach Jerome Willis. The Lions, ranked No. 5 in the NAIA with a 17-0 record this season, reached the milestone Monday with their 87-63 rout of Huston-Tillotson (Texas). In four seasons under Willis, the Langston program has a 100-20 record.
*34 — Career-high points for Southern Nazarene women's basketball player Logan Martin, who helped the No. 16-ranked Crimson Storm whip Oklahoma Baptist 84-69 on Saturday. Martin buried seven 3-pointers, also a career best.
*2 — Consecutive losses for the No. 2-ranked Oklahoma Baptist men's basketball team. The Bison were hammered 83-66 Thursday night at unranked Northwestern State. OBU was No. 1 in the NAIA when it lost an overtime decision on Jan. 14 at 12th-ranked Southern Nazarene. Voters only dropped OBU one spot — but the loss Thursday in Alva will likely deem harsher punishment in the polls.
*The Corsicana Daily Sun reports that Russ Pickett, who served as defensive coordinator at Navarro Junior College, will join the staff of new Central Oklahoma head football coach Nick Bobeck. Pickett will be the Bronchos' assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and director of recruiting. He was on Bobeck's staff at Navarro, which won the 2010 junior college national championship.
*Northeastern A&M will bring back its wrestling program in 2013. The junior college had a program from 1975 through 1993. NEO will be the only junior college in Oklahoma that offers wrestling. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma City and Bacone are four-year schools in the state that can draw recruits from NEO. Athletic director Dale Patterson said scheduling will be easy since several junior colleges in Kansas have varsity programs.
“I think if we get the right coach in here, we can be very, very competitive in a very short period of time,” Patterson said. “We think any time you can walk into a high school and say we are the only two-year school in Oklahoma that gives you this opportunity, then it gives us that kind of competitive advantage.”
*Oklahoma City U. has three more wrestlers who are qualifiers for the NAIA Championships this spring. Jared Bass, Tyson Campbell and Mitchell Eichenauer joined a pool with 14 other teammates by placing recently at the Midland Viking-Warrior Open in Fremont, Neb. But, the Stars can only send 12 wrestlers to the national regionals, and the decision of who goes and who stays comes down to coach Archie Randall.
“What I have to do is select the top 12 that I think can score points at the nationals,” Randall said. “We take 12 qualifiers but can only take two per weight up to that number.”
As an example, the Stars can take one wrestler at 125 pounds; none at 133; two at 141; two at 149; one at 157; one at 165; one at 174; one at 184; two at 197; and one at heavyweight. Randall said this is the last year for the current system. Next season, the top six finishers at regionals will qualify for the national finals.
*Nicol Olivares Lagos of Oklahoma Baptist has been selected to play for Chile, which will participate in the South American Cup soccer tournament. Lagos had a goal and assist while playing all 19 games for OBU last season.
*Former Dallas Cowboys defensive back Lynn Scott and arena football star Al Hunt will be added to the Northwestern State Athletic Hall of Fame on Jan. 28.
Scott and Hunt helped Northwestern win the NAIA championship in 1999 and finish as runner-up in 2000. Scott collected 289 career tackles for the Rangers before spending five seasons with Dallas. Hunt played quarterback at Northwestern, passing for 1,964 yards and rushing for 2,384. He went on to star in arena football, mostly with the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz and Tulsa Talons.