All three of Oklahoma's past Jim Thorpe Award winners — Rickey Dixon (1987), Roy Williams (2001) and Derrick Strait (2003) — were at Tuesday's banquet.
Strait, who was an All-American and started as a freshman on the Sooners' 2000 national championship team, said he recently moved back to his hometown of Austin, Texas, and wants to become a college football coach.
“I just want to get in there and be hands on,” Strait said. “I'd like to think I've got a little something to tell them if they wanna listen.”
Strait said he loves coming back to the Thorpe banquet every year.
“It's a beautiful event,” Strait said. “It's nice to see all the past winners and be in the alumni.”
Twelve former winners were on hand for Tuesday's event, including the last four — Patrick Peterson (LSU, 2010), Eric Berry (2009, Tennessee), Malcolm Jenkins (2008, Ohio State) and Antoine Cason (2007, Arizona). Also among the former winners in attendance was the first winner of the award, Baylor's Thomas Everett (1986).
PETERSON INSPIRED BY WINNERS
Wagoner's Kevin Peterson missed the Bulldogs' Tuesday night basketball game against Tahlequah to attend the banquet.
The defensive back was among The Oklahoman All-Staters honored at the event. Peterson was named the Defensive Player of the Year.
Peterson, who signed with Oklahoma State last week, said seeing the top defensive back in college honored was an inspiration.
“It shows that with hard work that that could be me up there in two or three years,” Peterson said. “It's just amazing to be a part of.”
Peterson said he would run track in the spring, likely competing in the 100, 200 and a pair of relays.
BULLARD SETTLING IN TO LIFE AFTER COACHING
Former Shattuck football coach Troy Bullard is in his fifth week away from coaching. He took a private job in Shattuck after coaching the Indians to another Class C title last season.
The Oklahoman's All-State Coach of the Year won his seventh state title, fourth all-time behind Jenks' Allan Trimble (nine), Clinton's Mike Lee and Carl Albert's Gary Rose (eight each).
“It's definitely sunk in and I'm sure I'll miss the Friday night lights, but when I get home, my time is mine now and I can spend a lot more time with my kids,” Bullard said. “I'm really enjoying that.”
Bullard won't be far removed from Shattuck football, though. His longtime defensive coordinator — brother Tyson Bullard — is the Indians' new coach.