A farewell to people with Oklahoma ties who enjoyed a game day experience:
*Mark Winters, 85, spent 16 years as men's head basketball coach at the University of Central Oklahoma. He guided the Bronchos to a 239-185 record with three Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference championships and one NAIA Tournament appearance over the 1962-78 seasons. Winters was inducted into the UCO Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004. He also spent time as a basketball coach at the high school level and at Eastern Oklahoma Junior College. Funeral services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at first Presbyterian Church in Edmond.
*Leland Crissman, 86, of Duncan was a pitcher in the Cleveland Indians organization. The right-hander spent the 1947 season with the Ardmore Indians of the Sooner State League, tying for the team lead with 11 wins. Crissman threw for the Indians' farm teams in Midland, Texas (1948) and Spartanburg, S.C. (1949), before returning to Oklahoma for one more season of pro ball. He played parts of the 1950 season with the Chickasha Chiefs of the Sooner State League and the Oklahoma City Indians of the Texas League. After his playing days, he coached American Legion baseball and worked for Haliburton Services.
*Stillwater resident Joan Bauer Wittner was a New York native who coached at the elementary and high school levels. She and husband Bob moved to Oklahoma in 1982 (Bob accepted a position at Oklahoma State), and Joan continued her involvement in athletics. She was a youth soccer coach; officiated youth and adult sports; and worked as a coach and volunteer coordinator for Special Olympics. Joan was a Donna Nigh Award recipient for her service as a volunteer. She died recently at age 73.
*Vern Benson, 89, of Granite Quarry, N.C., spent the 1959 and 1960 baseball seasons as manager of the Tulsa Oilers. Benson guided the St. Louis Cardinals farm team to a 153-135 record and two third-place finishes in the Texas League. He then served as an assistant coach for several big league teams, including the Cardinals' 1964 world champions. In an unusual twist to Benson's career, he spent one game as manager of a bad Atlanta Braves team, in 1977. He replaced Braves owner and television magnate Ted Turner, who managed one game while regular skipper, Dave Bristol, was on a reported scouting assignment. National League president Chub Feeney told Turner rules prohibited managers from having ownership in a team. So Benson, the Braves' third-base coach, took over for Turner until Bristol returned to finish out a 61-101 season.
*Archie Franz, 88, played basketball for Corn High School. He became a farmer and rancher in the area, supplementing his income by refereeing basketball games.
*Seth Martin, 15, played basketball for the Cement junior high and high school teams. A devoted fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant.
*Racine, Wis., native Virgil Carlson had a successful tryout with the old Milwaukee Braves — but any thoughts of playing pro baseball were dashed later that week, when he was drafted into the Navy. He was a Broken Arrow resident at the time of death at age 74.
*Stanley Hardrick played football at Central High School in Oklahoma City and Cameron University in Lawton. Hardrick was a 240-pound all-district and All-Capital Conference lineman for Central, which clinched its league championship in 1966 with an 18-16 victory over Southeast. The title was the Cardinals' first of any kind since 1947. After college, Hardrick went on to become a supervisor for the City of Oklahoma City.
*Tulsa native Linda Ishmael Smith, 78, was an all-conference basketball player at Jenks. She worked in speech therapy in Oklahoma, Illinois, Virginia and Wisconsin before retiring to Sarasota, Fla.
*Dwight Ward, 57, of Maysville owned the D&L Tackle Shop. He also donated time to the Pauls Valley rodeo arena, helping build bleachers.
*Wes Burton, 58, of Tulsa was a professional golfer and teaching pro in New York, Florida and Argentina. He spent 30 years playing on either the South American Tour or the Champions Tour. Burton qualified for the 2007 U.S. Senior Open with a record-low 64.
*Yvonne Blount Chesnutt, 94, of Oklahoma City played tennis for Central High School, finishing as state runner-up in May 1937. ... Norman Schulz, 76, was a Lone Wolf native who played college football at Southwestern State. ... Patti Baker Crosby, 67, of Edmond was a Cushing High School cheerleader. ... Mary Penner, 57, of Wayne played high school basketball at Lexington. ... Jack Staiger, 83, of Tulsa owned the Staiger Tennis Center for 20 years.
*Glen Richardson, 95, of Edmond was a golfer who played at Wichita State. ... Charlene Thorpe Black, 74, of Courtney coached youth softball and was an avid Ringling Blue Devils fan. ... Kevin Weedle, 58, of Denton, Texas, was a record-setting basketball player at Chattanooga High School. ... Sue Parker Wild, 66, of Fox assisted husband Ed in training bird dogs for field trials competition.
*Paul Seiter, 74, played baseball and football at Moore High School. ... Elinor Russell Lehman, 91, of Commerce was a cheerleader and football queen at Kingfisher High School. ... John Hudspeth, 78, of Shawnee played baseball at Durant High School and then freshman football at OU. ... Delbert Kauk, 89, of Clinton played sandlot baseball in the 1940s for Johnniesville in western Oklahoma.
BY SCOTT MUNN