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Turning point in Joe Rector's life came at Muskogee

ALL-STATE SERIES — Joe Rector knows he might never have made it to the University of Oklahoma if it hadn't been for his high school coach.
by Scott Wright Published: November 20, 2012

photo - Joe Rector, former OU football player. Staff photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman Archives
Joe Rector, former OU football player. Staff photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman Archives

Joe Rector was part of some incredibly well-known college football successes playing for Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma in the 1950s.

He was there for a pair of national championships and a good portion of the historic 47-game winning streak.

But Rector knows he might have never made it to OU if it hadn't been for Muskogee High School coach Paul Young.

“That was the turning point in my life,” said Rector, who was an Oklahoman All-State selection in 1954. “With the circumstances I had, it was a pleasure playing for coach Young. He mapped out everything for me in my future.

“My mother died when I was 4 years old. I was semi-raised by my father. When I got to high school, I was in wonderland — wondering what I was going to do. Paul Young took me under his wing and gave me some direction for what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

In observance of the 100th edition of The Oklahoman's All-State football team, to be announced in late December, the newspaper will recognize players from the previous 99 teams.

Rector was joined on the All-State roster by teammate Olen Treadway, a passing quarterback who ended up playing at Iowa after being named The Oklahoman's Back of the Year in 1954.

Muskogee's 1954 team went 9-0-1, with a scoreless tie against Tulsa Rogers. It didn't get a shot at a state championship, because of the state association's declaration of “too much football,” when it canceled the '54 playoffs.

“We were fortunate to have a lot of talent in those years at Muskogee,” Treadway said. “Guys like Joe, the Burris twins, Kurt and Bob, who went to play at OU. And Ernie Day.

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by Scott Wright
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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Over the next five weeks, The Oklahoman will look back on the previous 99 years of Oklahoman All-State football teams, leading up to the unveiling of the 100th All-State team on Dec. 23. Each Sunday and Wednesday until then, we'll take a look back at a team from each decade. The second installment of the series looks at the fours — 1914, 1924, 1934, etc. On Sunday, we'll look back at the fives.


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