Northwest Knights football
|4 - 6||2 - 4||2 - 2||.400||215||326|
|2012-08-30||@||John Marshall||W||35 - 16|
|2012-09-07||vs||Northeast||W||56 - 0|
|2012-09-14||vs||Woodward||L||21 - 28|
|2012-09-20||vs||Western Heights||W||56 - 27|
|2012-09-28||@||Guymon||W||28 - 7|
|2012-10-05||vs||El Reno||L||7 - 23|
|2012-10-12||@||Carl Albert||L||0 - 58|
|2012-10-19||vs||McGuinness||L||0 - 52|
|2012-10-26||@||Deer Creek||L||12 - 66|
|2012-11-02||vs||Guthrie||L||0 - 49|
|Rush Yds||Rush Yds Game||Pass Yds||Pass Yds/Game||Yards Total||Yards/Game||Pts Total||Pts/Game|
|Rush Yds Allow||Allow Rush/Game||Pass Yds Allow||Allow Pass/Game||Yds Total Allow||Yds Allow/Game||Allow Pts||Allow Pts/Game|
|Player Name||Number||Year||Height||Weight||Position (main)|
|There are no players associated with this team.|
Northwest football News
NewsOK articles about Northwest football, or articles mentioning current or former Northwest football players.
Northwest High School Varsity Boys Football
Aug 18, 2015
Coming off a 31-5 season, Kimo Aweau’s squad will count heavily on fourth-year starter Hannah Rose Frohling, who is verbally committed to Pepperdine, and 6-foot-2 MaryKate Gatewood at the hitter positions.
High school notebook: Edmond North volleyball nationally ranked
BY SCOTT WRIGHT AND JACOB UNRUH | Aug 18, 2015With seven players returning who played major roles last year, Edmond North is gaining national attention in high school volleyball rankings. The Huskies were ranked No. 48 by prepvolleyball.com in their preseason top 100. Coming off a 31-5 season, Kimo Aweau’s squad will count heavily on fourth-year starter Hannah Rose Frohling, who is verbally committed to Pepperdine, and 6-foot-2 MaryKate Gatewood at the hitter positions. The Huskies are 1-0 on the young season with a match against visiting Westmoore at 6 p.m. Thursday. HARRAH QB INGRAHAM IMPROVED There wasn’t a lot of passing from the Harrah offense last season, and for good reason with Little All-City Player of the Year Grant Martin at running back and Oklahoma commitment Logan Roberson on the offensive line. The Panthers certainly aren’t going to change that mentality, but they realize the need to throw a little more to take pressure off Martin. Coach Phil Webb is confident in Kostner Ingraham if that’s the case. “He’s worked extremely hard and had a great offseason,” Webb said. “I’ve coached many, many years and probably I can tell you he’s probably one of the top few kids from a transition of what he was last year to what he is this year is day and night. Ingraham completed 62 of 113 passes for 1,045 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions last season. He said he just wanted to improve in every facet. “I just lifted and ran just to get better,” Ingraham said. OKLAHOMAN MEDIA DAY WEDNESDAY The Oklahoman's annual Fall Sports Media Day is set for Wednesday at McGuinness High School. The event will be held in the lobby of the gymnasium, beginning at 3:30 p.m. and ending at 7:30. The school is located at 801 Northwest 50th Street in Oklahoma City. Each Oklahoma City-area high school participating in football, fastpitch softball, cross country, volleyball and fall baseball is encouraged to bring athletes to meet The Oklahoman's high school coverage team for interviews, videos and photos that will be used throughout the upcoming season. Contact Scott Wright at email@example.com for further information.
Aug 16, 2015
Executive Q&A: Brett Leopold is president of ITC Great Plains, a transmission-only utility operating in the Southwest Power Pool region with 436 circuit miles of transmission lines in west and southwest Kansas and southeast Oklahoma.
Executive Q&A: Utility chief enjoys helping rural communities thrive
By Paula Burkes Business Writer firstname.lastname@example.org | Aug 16, 2015A native Kansan, Brett Leopold joined others from the Sunflower State in wildly celebrating the Kansas City Royals’ appearance in the World Series last year after 29 years of angst. He and his two young sons attended one of the playoff games. These days, Leopold said he and his boys are just as avid in their support of the Oklahoma City Thunder. As president of Topeka-based ITC (International Transmission Co.) Great Plains LLC, Leopold — who lives outside Kansas City — is in Oklahoma at least twice a month for several days. He typically stays at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel so he can walk to the company’s Oklahoma City offices on the 25th floor of City Place at 204 N Robinson, and to Thunder games. ITC Great Plains — a subsidiary of ITC Grid Development LLC, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Novi, Mich.-based ITC Holdings Corp. — is a transmission-only utility operating in the Southwest Power Pool region. The company operates 436 circuit miles of transmission lines in west and southwest Kansas and southeast Oklahoma. Transmission is the bulk delivery of electrical energy from power generating plants along high-voltage aerial lines to the local distribution systems of utilities serving communities, explains Leopold, who rotates among regional offices in Topeka, Wichita, Little Rock and Oklahoma City. The company employs 18, including five here. From his Oklahoma City offices, Leopold, 47, sat down recently with The Oklahoman to talk about his life and career. This is an edited transcript: Q: Tell us about your roots. A: I grew up in Hoxie in northwest Kansas. The population was 1,500; my graduating class numbered 38, and the closest “big city” was Haze, Kansas (population 18,000) 85 miles away. We were three hours from Wichita and four hours from Denver. While I was growing up, my father had two full-time jobs: running the funeral home and working as a CPA. My mother, who’s an RN, took care of me and my three brothers, who are two and half to nine years younger. My parents still live in Hoxie. We lived in town, but I worked plenty of farm jobs, from moving irrigation pipe to cutting down shattercane weeds in milo fields. Q: What were the highlights of your school days? A: I rode my bike, played with friends and competed in baseball, football and basketball. In seventh and eighth grades, I was the Sheridan County spelling bee champ. I went out on the word “emphysema,” at the state bee in eighth grade. In high school, I continued to play football and basketball, but my focus was debate and speech. My debate team won state my sophomore and senior years. My coach, a native Filipino who immigrated to the U.S. at 18, had a big impact on me, along with a great English teacher who drilled us in writing essays and stories. I also took advanced algebra, trigonometry and calculus. From freshman year on, people would tell me they thought I was headed for law school. There were three practicing attorneys in town and of course I knew all of them. But I didn’t decide on law until I was a senior in college. Q: How did you meet your wife? A: In a practice clinic my second semester at Yale Law School. The professor sat us alphabetically and “Leopold” and “Leith” landed us right next to each other. We really got acquainted working on a project to help represent federal prisoners. I had a car, but Heather didn’t, so we had a lot of time to talk on our three-hour round-trip drives to the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut. Upon graduation, Heather went to work for a big law firm in New York City, and I accepted a one-year clerkship with a federal appellate court judge in Kansas City. After that year, I joined a private firm, and she came to work for another federal judge in Kansas City to try out Kansas City. A native of Iowa, she spent most of her childhood in Salt Lake City. Things continued to go well for us both in Kansas City and we married a few years after graduation. Today, Heather serves as general counsel of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Q: When did you move into the utilities industry and specifically, ITC Great Plains? A: In 2001, I joined the regulatory department of Kansas City-based Sprint, after serving three years in the U.S. Attorneys Office of the Western District of Missouri and a second, three-year stint in private practice. It was with Sprint that I started traveling to Oklahoma City, to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, on a monthly basis. ITC Great Plains was established in 2006, and its first employee had worked with me at Sprint. She contacted me about the opportunity with ITC Great Plains, and I joined the company as senior counsel in January 2008. I liked the fact it was a start-up in the energy industry in which there was a lot going on. And it was clear that if we were going to succeed, our investment was going to be made in rural parts of Kansas and Oklahoma. Helping communities like my hometown of Hoxie appealed to me. Our $500 million investments over the past five years have led to an increase in the property tax rate base in those areas and, most importantly, have increased the reliability and efficiency of the electric grid in the region, which is critical for residents and big businesses to be happy and successful. Q: You’ve read all of Charles Dickens’ books. Which is your favorite? A: I was introduced to Victorian literature in an honors English class at KU, and the professor sold me on Charles Dickens. My favorite is “David Copperfield.” I read it to my firstborn when he was a baby, and “Great Expectations” to my second son. Since they were infants, I figured it wasn’t critical that I read children’s books, but rather to be holding them and reading to them.
Patterson announced on his Twitter page Thursday morning that he was leaving the program but did not state a clear reason why. Hours later, however, the tweet was removed.
High school notebook: Lawton's Patterson leaving K-State?
BY JACOB UNRUH AND SCOTT WRIGHT | Aug 13, 2015Former Lawton standout Darreyl Patterson’s tenure at Kansas State might be over before it really started. Patterson announced on his Twitter page Thursday morning that he was leaving the program but did not state a clear reason why. Hours later, however, the tweet was removed. Attempts to reach Patterson have been unsuccessful. Lawton coach Randy Breeze told The Oklahoman he has yet to speak to Patterson and is unsure of what’s happening. Patterson was a standout running back and defensive back for Lawton, which finished as the Class 6A Division II state runner-up last season. He rushed for 2,071 yards and 20 touchdowns while also snagging two interceptions in a limited defensive role to make The Oklahoman’s All-State team. KING GRATEFUL FOR OPPORTUNITY AT NORTHWEST CLASSEN Having served as the offensive coordinator and associate head coach at Okmulgee, Edward King knew he was ready for his first head coaching job. Taking over in July at Northwest Classen, King and his new players have been on a crash course to learn about each other the last few weeks. “We’re trying to get to know each other, and in this heat, you get to know a lot about each other fast,” King said after the Knights’ first official workout this week. “I’m excited. I can’t wait for the season, but I know those steps between now and then are important.” King is putting the offense in the hands of quarterback Roger Edison. Among the leaders on defense will be Julian Henderson at nose guard. DEER CREEK’S WINFIELD INVITED TO ALL-AMERICAN GAME Deer Creek defensive lineman Joseph Winfield was recently invited to the Senior All-Star Game at the National Underclassmen All-American Game in December. “It just means that all of my hard work has been paying off,” Winfield said. “I’ve just been trying to make sure my name is out there. Winfield, a 6-foot-1, 240-pound defensive end, recorded 123 tackles and an interception last season as a junior for Deer Creek, which won the District 5A-2 championship. Deer Creek coach Grant Gower said Winfield has turned into a great leader for the team. “He’s got a really, really good heart,” Gower said. The game and combine is scheduled for Dec. 29-30 in Charleston, S.C. OKLAHOMAN MEDIA DAY SET FOR WEDNESDAY The Oklahoman's annual Fall Sports Media Day has been set for Wednesday at McGuinness High School. The event begins at 3:30 p.m. and ends at 7:30. The school is located at 801 Northwest 50th Street in Oklahoma City. Each Oklahoma City-area high school participating in football, fastpitch softball, cross country, volleyball and fall baseball is encouraged to bring athletes to meet The Oklahoman's high school coverage team for interviews, videos and photos that will be used throughout the upcoming season. Athletic directors will receive a letter with further information.
Aug 12, 2015
The Oklahoman's annual Fall Sports Media Day has been set for Wednesday, Aug. 19, at McGuinness High School. The event begins at 3:30 p.m. and ends at 7:30. The school is located at 801 Northwest 50th Street in Oklahoma City. Each Oklahoma City-area high school participating in football, fastpitch softball, cross country, volleyball and fall baseball is encouraged to bring athletes to...
High school notebook: The Oklahoman's fall media day Aug. 19
BY SCOTT WRIGHT, JACOB UNRUH AND ERIK HORNE | Aug 12, 2015The Oklahoman's annual Fall Sports Media Day has been set for Wednesday, Aug. 19, at McGuinness High School. The event begins at 3:30 p.m. and ends at 7:30. The school is located at 801 Northwest 50th Street in Oklahoma City. Each Oklahoma City-area high school participating in football, fastpitch softball, cross country, volleyball and fall baseball is encouraged to bring athletes to meet The Oklahoman's high school coverage team for interviews, videos and photos that will be used throughout the upcoming season. Athletic directors will receive a letter with further information. WELLS GETTING HEALTHY FOR PUTNAM CITY NORTH With most of the team’s experience up front on offense and defense, Putnam City North could count heavily on Noah Wells in the defensive secondary. Injuries have hampered Wells’ career the last two years, but the 6-foot, 180-pound senior will anchor an inexperienced secondary as the Panthers try to improve on last year’s 4-6 mark. “He’s been a two-year starter, but injuries have gotten in the way,” second-year coach Rod Richardson said. “He’s a big-time player for us and is one of the highest IQ football players I’ve ever been around.” NORMAN NORTH’S YOUNG ON NIKE ELITE ROSTER Norman North junior point guard Trae Young is one of the most coveted basketball recruits in the country, and he's put himself among elite company once again. Young is one of 12 players on a Nike roster headed to the Bahamas for a training session Aug. 19-23 which will culminate with a game against the Bahamian National Team. Young is one of six Class of 2017 prospects on the Nike EYBL Select Team roster, which is comprised of some of the best juniors and seniors in the country. Young was offered by Kentucky this week, and has offers from many of major college programs in the nation, including Duke, Arizona, Connecticut and Kansas. OSSAA APPROVES CHAMPIONSHIP SITES FOR FALL BASEBALL, TENNIS The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association board of directors unanimously approved the state championship sites for both fall baseball and tennis on Wednesday. Baseball will return to Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark while tennis will remain at the OKC Tennis Center the next three years despite a cost increase. The tennis center costs $7,500 per tournament after a $1,000 increase due to concession costs. Baseball played last fall at Bricktown and both Class A and Class B championships in the spring were played at the ballpark. The OSSAA will determine at a later date the spring championship sites. OSSAA WAIVER REQUEST NUMBERS DOWN OSSAA executive director Ed Sheakley told the board of directors that the number hardship waivers requested the past school year was down significantly due to rule changes and the implementation of the Intermediate Appeals Panel. The OSSAA handled just more than 700 requests of which the staff approved 71 percent. The appeals committee also approved 13 of the 60 appeals heard. All of those appeals then advanced to the board of directors with two being approved. Sheakley told the board that generally the OSSAA receives more than 1,000 hardship waiver requests per school year. The OSSAA formed the appeals committee last year to meet the week before the board and rule on appeals. It also meets an extra time in August and September.
Norm Hitzges was an out-of-work TV sportscaster when KERA-FM (90.1) offered him $15 for an hour of Saturday morning radio airtime back in August 1975. Hitzges grabbed the money and on April 9 was off and running on what has become an unparalleled sports-talk run along the Dallas-Fort Worth radio dial. As if anyone needs to be told, at 71, he’s still going strong as the mid-morning host on...
The Dallas Morning News Barry Horn column
Barry Horn, Associated Press | Jul 31, 2015Norm Hitzges was an out-of-work TV sportscaster when KERA-FM (90.1) offered him $15 for an hour of Saturday morning radio airtime back in August 1975. Hitzges grabbed the money and on April 9 was off and running on what has become an unparalleled sports-talk run along the Dallas-Fort Worth radio dial. As if anyone needs to be told, at 71, he’s still going strong as the mid-morning host on SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket. In honor of Norm’s upcoming 40th anniversary on radio, here’s our first “40 for 40.” Best guest: Don Nelson. He always tried to be entertaining and funny. And, if you listened closely, he told you important things. One day I was pressing him about who the Mavericks might draft that night. He was very coy but as we said goodbye he said, "Auf Wiedershehen." That night German teenager Dirk Nowitzki became a Maverick. Worst guest: Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller. Just a few minutes before he was to go on the air he suggested he should get paid. I was stunned, politely declined and went to "open lines." Busiest year: In 1990, I was an ESPN baseball game analyst every Tuesday and Friday night and doing the morning show every day on KLIF from 5:30-9 a.m. I believe I worked in 23 parks that season. Weirdest thing that ever happened during a show: While doing an early morning show at Fenway Park, I accidentally set off the fire alarm. Within minutes, lots of guys in fire suits arrived and looked at me, certain I was a knucklehead. Best talk show host ever: Johnny Carson on TV. On radio, probably Larry King – great brain. Guest I’ve never been able to book: Either of the Rangers owners – Ray Davis or Bob Simpson. And, yes, we have asked. Favorite caller: Leon Simon, the barber. He became my friend and then co-host for a while. Worst-ever remote location: Outside a Texaco Mini-Mart at Northwest Highway and Abrams during rush hour with the traffic zooming past. And then the skies opened and poured down rain. Best Norm Hitzges imitation: Toss up between George Dunham and Gordon Keith. But Gordon has me saying much weirder things. Twitter or Cyber Dust: Yellow pad and flip phone. If I could attend only one more sporting event it would be: Game 7 of a Rangers World Series win. Favorite play-by-play voice: Four aces – Pat Summerall, Brad Sham, Eric Nadel and Mark Holtz. And I already miss Ralph Strangis. Favorite analyst: Howard Cosell, who broke ground for so many of us. Right now it's Troy Aikman. I learn something every time I listen to him. Vin Scully is truly one of a kind. Greatest career influence: Former local CBS news anchor and news director Eddie Barker who took a raw kid with a big nose, unusual voice and less-than-ideal hair and gave him his first TV reporting job in January 1972. Ever offered a network radio job: No, thank heavens. I might have actually taken it and left an area I've come to love very much. Last job before getting into TV-radio: Teaching journalism at San Antonio MacArthur High School. Best DFW athlete ever watched: Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson. Favorite sport: To announce it would be baseball. To watch on TV it's the NFL. To attend it's horse racing. Least favorite sport: That's easy -- boxing. Favorite racehorse: A cheap claimer named Steal Me Blind who won at huge odds at New Orleans Fairgrounds one day. He paid a huge price creating a very nice payday for my father Edgar and myself. It may have been the first time he'd smiled in the weeks and months since the death of my mom, Lillian, who'd been his wife and racing partner for decades. Sporting event never attended but would like to: Il Palio, a horse race held twice a year around the city square in Siena, Italy. It’s a huge spectacle. Did you think you would ever see another Triple Crown winner in your lifetime: No. Then I saw American Pharoah run with his hooves barely touching the racing surface. Sport most proficient in: Amateur, impromptu hot dog eating contests in ballparks. First time ever on radio: Did play-by-play of a Sul Ross State football games while I worked there as a teacher during the 1967-68 school year. Self-review of first radio talk show: It remains a blur. I was very nervous. I know I talked too fast, which makes my voice get even an octave higher and makes me sound squeakier. It must have been a joy to listen to. Number of times called into a talk show: Not once. Usual work attire: Sweat pants or shorts, a sometimes-color-coordinated T-shirt and sandals. When you dress in the dark in the early morning it's not always pretty. Most unusual idiosyncrasy: I'm anal about always trying to use a few minutes of time to do something, no matter how small that something might be. Initial reaction in 2000 when management informed I was moving to the Ticket: I didn't want to go. I was happy at KLIF. Last book read: God As He Longs For You To See Him by Chip Ingram. Best series on home DVR: House of Cards. The perfect Saturday night: The 3 M's -- Merlot, movie and (wife) Mary. For my last wedding anniversary: We planned our next journey to some place she'd always wanted to go --Tuscany. Best movie of 1939, Wizard of Oz, Mister Smith Goes to Washington or Gone With The Wind: Gone With The Wind. John Wayne, Jack Nicholson or Tom Hanks: Hanks by a nostril hair over Nicholson. Favorite all-time pro wrestler: The late Angel of Death, who was my friend. Next birthday wish: Another birthday. How many more years I have remaining on the air: How many more years do I have left? Message to listeners: I hope I always deserve you. Adios Ortegel: At least for now Bob Ortegel, who brought smarts and grace to every Mavericks broadcast with which he ever was associated, announced this week he will not be back for the 2015-16 season. Ortegel, 74, said he made his impromptu decision when he couldn’t sleep at 3:30 a.m. Thursday. He said he was up thinking about the great coaches he calls friends who have died, including Dean Smith, who passed earlier this year. In a conversation Friday, Ortegel emphasized he was not using the word “retiring” to describe his situation. “I’m taking the year off and I have no idea what will happen after that,” he said. Ortegel debuted as the Mavericks television analyst Nov. 26, 1988 on the cable network then known as HSE. He was hired to work alongside Allen Stone as a replacement for Bob Weiss, who had abruptly left to become assistant coach of the Orlando Magic. Ortegel broadcast Mavericks games on TV and radio until February 2011, when he was bounced from his television seat by owner Mark Cuban, who was looking to “refresh” the product. Ortegel joined Fox Sports Southwest’s Mavericks’ studio 10 months later. He called games worked by all nine Mavericks coaches. Ortegel coached college basketball for 18 seasons before sliding into a TV analyst seat on Missouri Valley Conference basketball in 1982. He worked alongside Ray Scott, better known nationally for his NFL work. Said Mark Followill, who worked alongside Ortegel for six seasons on Mavericks television and is 30 years his junior: “He has been a mentor on life, basketball and broadcasting. He is a friend who was always welcoming, nurturing and teaching, which must have come from his years coaching.” Talking Cowboys The team’s preseason television schedule belongs to KTVT (Channel 11). The station will air the four games with Bill Jones, Babe Laufenberg and Keith Russell behind the mikes. The Blue-White scrimmage on Aug. 9, which also will attract a lot of eyeballs to watch grown men run around in shorts, will be on sister station KTXA (Channel 21). Bryan Broaddus replaces Laufenberg alongside Brad Sham on the radio. Meanwhile ESPN decided that the 90 minutes it planned to allot for Tuesday’s training camp special with the Cowboys couldn’t possibly be enough. It has decided to expand to two hours beginning at 6 p.m. Kenny Mayne, John Gruden and Darren Woodson will serve as tour guides. And Fox Sports Southwest has a daily 15-minute training camp wrap at 10:30 p.m. or after Rangers’ post-game shows. Sham, Mickey Spagnola and Lindsay Cash cover the news of the day. Numbers game 3.0 and 1.4: Monday’s Dallas-Fort Worth ratings for Rangers 6-2 loss at home to the Yankees on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN, who shared the game. 2.3: Tuesday’s D-FW rating for Rangers 21-5 loss to the Yankees on Fox Sports 1. 3.5: Wednesday’s D-FW rating for Rangers 5-2 win over the Yankees on FSSW. 3.9: Thursday’s D-FW rating for Rangers 7-6 win over the Yankees on FSSW. On Twitter: @bhorn55 ——— ©2015 The Dallas Morning News Visit The Dallas Morning News at www.dallasnews.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. _____ Topics: t000002537,t000040350,t000002664,t000002672,t000003183,t000381949,t000002674,t000002409,t000002437
Board of Education members Tuesday approved the hiring of new assistant principals for the Norman School District. Peter Brown will serve as assistant principal at Irving Middle School, and Danielle M. Eikel will be Roosevelt Elementary School’s new assistant principal. Brown served as head tennis coach at Northwest Classen High School in Oklahoma City and taught social studies and coached...
Principals hired in Norman
Jane Glenn Cannon | Jul 31, 2015Board of Education members Tuesday approved the hiring of new assistant principals for the Norman School District. Peter Brown will serve as assistant principal at Irving Middle School, and Danielle M. Eikel will be Roosevelt Elementary School’s new assistant principal. Brown served as head tennis coach at Northwest Classen High School in Oklahoma City and taught social studies and coached ninth-grade football at Southmoore High School in Moore. Eikel is a former instructional coach, reading interventionist, administrative intern and lead teacher at Lincoln Elementary School.
Jul 27, 2015
NASCAR veterans Kenny Schrader and Kenny Wallace will compete Tuesday night at the Longdale Speedway, which is on Highway 58 in the northwest corner of Blaine County, between Fairview and Canton. Longdale Speedway runs International Motor Car Association series, and Wallace and Schrader are scheduled to compete against local drivers. And how I know all this is a good story. At least to me. You...
Northwest Oklahoma travelblog: How I made it to Longdale
Berry Tramel | Jul 27, 2015[img width="" height="" style="" render="w620"]3746730[/img] NASCAR veterans Kenny Schrader and Kenny Wallace will compete Tuesday night at the Longdale Speedway, which is on Highway 58 in the northwest corner of Blaine County, between Fairview and Canton. Longdale Speedway runs International Motor Car Association series, and Wallace and Schrader are scheduled to compete against local drivers. And how I know all this is a good story. At least to me. You can learn a lot by getting in your car and getting out of town. A week ago Friday, I took a road trip to a section of Oklahoma I rarely see but always enjoy. The grandfather of our man Jacob Unruh died, and his funeral was in Cherokee, which is about 20 miles east of Alva. We call Jacob “Virgil” for reasons that are a mystery to me, but we think the world of Virgil and wanted to make sure he knew we were thinking of him. So three of us were able to break away to make the 21/2-hour drive to the service. High school editor Darla Smith, sports web editor Erik Horne and myself. We also gave a ride to Virgil’s wife, who is in nursing school, had some business in OKC that morning and needed a ride to meet her husband. So we launched off from Northwest Expressway and away we went. Out to Okarche and onto Highway 81 north through Kingfisher, Dover, Hennessey, Waukomis and Enid. Darla’s a life-long Yukon gal, so she’s been all over the state, but Erik the Red is from Louisiana and hadn’t been past Okarche. So we gave him an educated tour of that region and eventually gave all of us an educated tour of that region. I always build up Okarche and Kingfisher as my favorite small towns in Oklahoma. Okarche as my favorite tiny town — 2,000 or less population — and Kingfisher as my favorite small town. I just love their feel and their pride. Both are well-kept. Cool, old houses. Not a bunch of shabby homes and buildings falling down. Not every place is spit-shine, but no place, home or business, is a dump. At least from what you can see. A few months ago, I went through Davis, down in southern Oklahoma, and was reminded that Davis can give Kingfisher a run for best small town above 2,000 population, but still, Kingfisher is a cool place. And Erik was duly impressed. We built it up, and Kingfisher delivered. Dover has a better setting, with more trees lining the little town, but it’s run down. Hennessey is a solid town but isn’t quite as well maintained. Not much to Waukomis to maintain. Driving through Enid was fun. For such a big place — population in the 50,000 range — I rarely make it up there. We drove past the Plainsmen’s football field, where Lydell Carr and PJ Mills and Austin Box and Clint Chelf starred, and I should have driven Erik the Red over to the downtown area where Mark Price Arena sits. Enid has to have one of the most unique high school basketball coliseums in America. A civic auditorium, named after an NBA star. Enid’s a lot like Ponca City and Bartlesville, other northern Oklahoma towns that once were the headquarters of major oil companies. Phillips in Bartlesville, Conoco in Ponca, Champlin in Enid. All are big versions of Kingfisher. Well-kept. Lots of pride. Lots of history. Good places to live, if you don’t need a metropolitan city. Champlin was closed in 1984, and Enid has found its footing without a major anchor. The guys in the car made fun of me, because I drew a rough map of our trip. I hate following GPS, or even phone maps, because they don’t give you a big picture. I couldn’t find an old-fashioned road map, so I drew one before we left. Darla made fun of it, took a picture of it and put it on FaceBook. Dirty Rotten Scoundrel. Anyway, north of Enid, I had planned to turn west on Highway 45 and go through Carrier, where my pal Richard Mize recently pastored a Congregational Church, and Goltry and Helena, towns which formed a consolidated school. But I missed that turn, so we went on north and then west on U.S. 64. That took us through Jet and Nash, two more towns that long ago consolidated schools. Not much to Jet or Nash, but I remember from the ‘70s, looking at the scores of Jet-Nash and Helena-Goltry. Now, those two schools and four towns have consolidated into one school. The elementary school is in Jet, the high school is in Helena. It’s 20 miles from Nash to Helena, so that’s a fair drive. But it’s the truth of western Oklahoma. Diminishing population, schools trying to survive. My only knock on Timberlake is the name. Where’s the timber? There’s no timber in northwestern Oklahoma. The lake, I sort of get, since the Great Salt Plains Lake sits just north of Jet. But Timberlake is a good name for a school in Little Dixie or Green Country. How about Salt Plains High School? Or Big Sky High School? Oh well. Driving along U.S. 64, you see Great Salt Plains Lake off to the north. At least you think it’s the lake. It might be the shimmering selenite crystals that form part of the shoreline. The saline content is perhaps a quarter that of ocean water, and the crystals are unique to the area. Visitors dig for the crystals, and Oklahoma maintains a state park as part of the lake. It’s a little like Little Sahara, which is one county over from Alfalfa, in Woods County, between Woodward and Alva, and has magnificent sand dunes that attract motorcycle riders. Barren territory that suddenly draws people. Sand dunes, salt lakes. Oklahoma is an interesting place. Anyway, we drove on into Cherokee and found complete charm. Great small town. Some cool old houses. A good-sized grocery store. Some small businesses. A couple of neat churches. Alfalfa County courthouse. And way more trees than you’d expect in northwest Oklahoma. I seemed to remember that Cherokee had a downtown movie theater that famously burned some years ago. We found a storefront that seemed like it could have been the theater, but I couldn’t be sure. I forgot to ask anyone, and I couldn’t find anything on the Internet, so maybe I’m mixed up. Anyway, Cherokee was a great little town. The service at the First Baptist Church was nice. Virgil spoke about his grandfather and did a great job. A men’s quartet sang, and the four men produced beautiful harmony on both “How Great Thou Art” and “It Is Well With My Soul.” First off, you can’t miss with good material. Two of the top five songs of all-time, and I might be short-changing them. Add in quality voices, then touch it off with the endorsement of Jehovah himself, and it was riveting. I’m not kidding around. It started raining a little as we arrived in Cherokee, and it was raining pretty good when we got out of the car. During the service, it started storming. And I swear, when the quartet sang the first verse of “How Great Thou Art,” at the very point when they belted out “I hear the roaring thunder,” the skies boomed with thunder that shook everyone in the sanctuary, both physically and spiritually. It was the darndest thing. We paid our respects to Virgil, then headed out. I was determined to go home a different way, see more stuff, and it didn’t take us long. I went south out of Cherokee and hooked up with Highway 8. I wanted to go through Fairview, a decent-sized town that I had never visited. We went through Cleo Springs, not much there, but north of Fairview, we passed another Oklahoma jewel — Gloss Mountain. We saw in the distance, off to the west, some beautiful mesas. Didn’t know what they were but eventually found out. The Gloss Mountains, sometimes called the Glass Mountains, according to travelok.com, have a high selenite content that mimics a shiny glass exterior. There’s a state park at Gloss Mountain, with hiking trails, and spectacular scenery. Let me promise you. The landscape in northwestern Oklahoma is underrated. Now you know why they call it Fairview. I had never been to the Major County seat, which has a population of about 2,500. But Fairview had a good football program in the 1980s, and I sort of always followed the Yellowjackets. Plus, I had an extra reason for going. A few years ago, at Mike Gundy’s kickoff golf tournament in Stillwater, I ran into a guy I once knew. Todd Smith played football at Norman High, graduating in 1983, and went to OU on a football scholarship. I covered that 1982 Norman team, and I lost track of Todd after that. But there he was at Karsten Creek that day. Turns out he married a Fairview girl and was running his father-in-law’s car dealership in Fairview. The father-in-law was an OSU booster, so here was an ex-Sooner, at the Gundy Invitational. I enjoyed seeing Todd and told him I’d stop in if I ever was in Fairview. And so I was in Fairview. Todd runs Jensen’s Buick-GMC dealership. It’s a great old art deco building, with lots of vintage signs. Alas, Todd was not in the office, so I left him a note and we were on our way. Fairview seemed like a nice place. Not quite up to Kingfisher’s standards, I’d say, but livable. They’ve got a Sonic, a Pizza Hut and a Taco Mayo. Fairview probably is like much of western Oklahoma, in that it is reeling a little from the oil bust after the great oil boom that created a housing shortage. In Cherokee, we saw a sign for dorm-style lodging that could house 60 workers. But until the price of oil bounces back, that demand has weakened. Fairview actually has three car dealerships. Jensen’s Buick-GMC, Eischen’s Chevrolet (don’t know the relationship to the Okarche landmark) and Vinton Baker Ford. Any place with three new car dealers has something going for it. Leaving Fairview, I was going to go east on Highway 58, then jog back south to Okeene, because going south out of Fairview veered west and was out of the way. But before we turned around, I saw a mileage sign. Longdale 13. And my heart leaped. I swear. I try not to be too sentimental. But I got all fired up. Longdale is where my dad coached high school basketball in the 1950s. I had heard him talk about Longdale all my life, but I had never been there. I knew it was close to Canton, and I once thought about trying to go through Longdale on the way home from Colorado, but it was out of the way, and everybody was tired. So I told Darla and Erik the Red. We’re going to Longdale. Longdale High School is long since closed. I think in the ‘70s. The elementary school closed in 1991. My impression of Longdale was as a ghost town. That nobody and nothing would be there anymore. But I was wrong. Longdale still lives. It’s got a population just under 300, with a couple of gas station/convenience stores and quite a few houses. And the gymnasium still stands. The Longdale gym looks like an old WPA project — heck, it is an old WPA project, we found an inscription — but on the north end is painted a huge mural detailing the history of Longdale. The gym is locked up, but it was cool to walk around the place where my dad coached 60 years ago. We snapped a few pictures, then we were on our way. Seems like in the ‘70s, when I was a kid, some guys from Longdale that had played for my dad dropped by the house, the morning of an OU football game. My dad died in 2007; how I wish I had made the trip to Longdale with him. Anyway, back to NASCAR. As we left Longdale, there suddenly appeared a race track. Glittering. New. I’ve passed a bunch of Oklahoma dirt tracks, and none of them stood out like this. We were stunned. We had no idea what it could be or why it would be. But Darla looked it up on that FaceBook machine of hers, and there came the news. Longdale Speedway. Home of regular racing. Hosting Kenny Schrader and Kenny Wallace on July 28. Turns out, Longdale Speedway is thriving with local racers from all over zipping into town to race on most Saturday nights. Our adventure was mostly over. We drove down to Canton, hit Highway 51 and took it east through Okeene, which I had been to recently. I showed Darla and Erik the Red the great spires atop the St. Anthony Catholic Church. You can’t believe it. Looks like something you’d see in Italy. Then we drove south to Watonga, east back to Kingfisher and finally we were backtracking. We stopped in Okarche at the Popcorn Station, a popcorn store that sits on the north side of the road that runs through Okarche and separates Kingfisher and Canadian counties. Eischen’s Bar, home of the world’s greatest fried chicken, actually is in Canadian County. Then it was back down Highway 3, which becomes Northwest Expressway and the city that seems far removed in more than just miles from Cherokee and the Great Salt Plains Lake and art deco Buick dealership and the old gymnasium where my dad coached 60 years ago. Quite an adventure for a summer’s day.
Jul 26, 2015
iJobs, an internship program, gives special education students experience in the workforce.
Program gives students real on-the-job training
Paula Burkes Business Writer email@example.com | Jul 26, 2015When Eddie Wrenn, general manager of Raising Cane’s restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City, agreed to host a field trip for special education students of Deer Creek High School, it led to the hiring of some of his best employees. “We treated the outing as a working interview, and sort of a day in the life at Cane’s,” he said. “Then, the hair on the back of my neck stood up when I realized I could hire some of those students to help keep our restaurant clean during our busiest times.” One student — Jack Fry — stood out, Wrenn said. “He showed tons of enthusiasm,” running from job to job, cleaning off tables, sweeping the floor, emptying trash cans and picking up the parking lot. Wrenn subsequently hired three students with disabilities, including Fry, who has speech and hyperactivity challenges from being born 15 weeks early. This summer, Fry, 18, is working 15 to 20 hours a week through iJobs, an internship program sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services in partnership with Francis Tuttle and Moore Norman technology centers, and funded by the Galt Foundation. The program’s 23 participants are paid minimum wage. “The cool thing about Jack is as soon as he’s done with iJobs, he’ll be employed here and actually get a raise,” Wrenn said. "Customers love him,” he said. “Though it’s not part of the job, Jack holds the door open for people, and he has a built-in panache to know when to move out of customers’ way.” At Norman Regional Hospital, Deanna Christian, coordinator of food nutrition services, is equally pleased with iJobs intern and cafeteria assistant Savana Frederickson, a returning junior at Norman North High School who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and some developmental delays. “She’s a real asset, cleaning up around the salad bar, stocking cups and lids, sanitizing tables and sweeping around them when they’re not full of patrons,” Christian said. “She has a work ethic you don’t see in everyone her age. The only thing you have to tell her is when to slow down and have lunch.” Frederickson said she mostly likes the good feeling she gets from having a job, and plans to buy new school clothes with the money she’s made. Fry is saving some of his salary, but spending some on video games. Jack’s mother, Mary Jane Fry, said Jack’s first job is helping him mature. “It’s showing him he can make a difference in life and in himself,” she said. “He’s very smart. We’re not planning on him drawing disability benefits; we expect him to earn more.” Eric Frederickson said he and his wife, Robin, after having a son, purposefully adopted a special needs child as their way of giving back to society. Born to a drug addict, Savana at the time of the adoption was 18 months old and not talking. “Today, she’s on an IEP (individual education plan) at school, but she makes some excellent grades,” he said. The iJobs program includes one week of classroom instruction, where students learn how to dress for work, write resumes, interview, manage money and more. “People with disabilities deserve a chance to work and provide a living for themselves,” said Bonnie Allen, a DRS vocational rehabilitation specialist who with Terrisha Osborn coordinates the iJobs program in the northwest Oklahoma City/Edmond and Moore/Norman areas. With her own invisible disabilities, Allen knows all too well. Diagnosed at age 8 with Type 1 diabetes, she 16 years ago had eye surgeries for diabetic retinopathy. Before she learned to manage the disease, she lost her peripheral vision and had a real fear of going blind. Meanwhile, Osborn’s father is a paraplegic. He was injured in a car accident when she was 5. “His disability didn’t stop him from coaching my softball and basketball teams, and my brother’s football team,” Osborn said. Both specialists earned graduate degrees in vocational rehabilitation; Allen at East Central University and Osborn at Langston University. The schools offer the only programs in the state.
Good evening. Here's a look at how AP's general news coverage is shaping up in Louisiana. Questions about coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the AP-New Orleans bureau at 504-523-3931 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Chevel Johnson is on the desk. AP-Deep South Editor Jim Van Anglen can be reached at 404-653-8460 or JVanAnglen@ap.org.A reminder this information is not for publication or...
BC-LA--Louisiana News Digest Advisory 6 pm, LA
Associated Press | Jul 20, 2015Good evening. Here's a look at how AP's general news coverage is shaping up in Louisiana. Questions about coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the AP-New Orleans bureau at 504-523-3931 or email@example.com. Chevel Johnson is on the desk. AP-Deep South Editor Jim Van Anglen can be reached at 404-653-8460 or JVanAnglen@ap.org. A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories and digests will keep you up to date. All times are Central. Some TV and radio stations will receive shorter APNewsNow versions of the stories below, along with all updates. TOP STORIES: SCHOOL MONEY BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana owes local public schools $137 million because state lawmakers didn't properly pass previous school funding formulas, a state district judge ruled Monday. The St. John the Baptist Parish School Board filed a lawsuit claiming the Legislature didn't meet passage requirements for the formula used in the 2013-14 budget year. Thirty other local school boards, nearly half of Louisiana's parish school boards, joined the lawsuit. By Melinda Deslatte. SENT: 535 words. JET CRASH-INVESTIGATION NORFOLK, Va. — A decorated combat veteran who died in an F-15 crash in the George Washington National Forest in Virginia was incapacitated and unable to eject, according to an Air Force investigation released Monday. Lt. Col. Morris "Moose" Fontenot Jr., a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, was killed in the Aug. 27 crash near Deerfield, about 135 miles northwest of Richmond. By Brock Vergakis. SENT: 606 words. DEAD ZONE LAWSUIT NEW ORLEANS — It will be at least spring before there's a new ruling by the federal judge who ordered the Environmental Protection Agency in 2013 to act to regulate farm runoff and other pollution blamed for the Gulf of Mexico's annual oxygen-depleted "dead zone." An appeals court ordered District Judge Jay Zainey in March to reassess his order telling EPA to set limits on the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorous in U.S. waterways. Those elements feed huge algae blooms that contribute to loss of oxygen in part of the Gulf of Mexico every summer, killing or chasing away marine life. An order signed Friday says Zainey will base his ruling on written motions and responses from both sides. The schedule's final deadline for those filings is March 16. SENT: 238 words. FROM AP MEMBERS: EARLY COLLEGE OPTION GONZALES — A River Parishes Community College program that lets students simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an associate's degree will have its largest freshman class yet when school begins Aug. 10. More than 100 ninth-graders have enrolled in what's called the Early College Option program, a partnership of the community college and the Ascension Parish school district. Early College Option lets public high school students attend the college in Gonzales for all four years of high school while they are still considered enrolled in their home high schools. Students enroll in the program a year at a time, and will take both high school and college classes. When they graduate, they'll have both a high school diploma and an associate's degree in humanities. SENT: 314 words. YOUNGSVILLE GROWTH YOUNGSVILLE — Officials are debating whether to levy a fee for each new residential permit issued in Youngsville that would generate income needed to maintain infrastructure in the coming years. Mayor Ken Ritter said Youngsville's robust population growth — over a thousand permits for new homes issued over the past two years — is putting a strain on the roads, sewer system and other public works responsibilities. Ritter is proposing charging residential developers and home builders a $2,250 impact fee that ultimately would be paid by home buyers. Ritter said the fee is a figure he came up with to get the discussion started. If the five-member City Council approves its passage, Youngsville would be the first government in Lafayette Parish to impose the fee. SENT: 348 words. LAFAYETTE-RETAIL SALES LAFAYETTE — Lafayette Parish retail sales were down by 9 percent in May 2015 compared with May 2014. It's a dip local economic development officials blame on weak oil prices slowing activity in the oil patch. The figures, the most recent available because reporting is behind actual sales by several weeks, were released Friday by the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. May 2015 saw $484 million in sales, compared with $535 million in May 2014. April 2015 sales were off by 5 percent — $494 million in 2015 compared with $522 million in 2014. Year-to-date sales as of May are down 2 percent from 2014, which was a record year for retail in Lafayette Parish. SENT: 278 words. IN BRIEF: --LOUISIANA GOVERNOR-FUNDRAISING — U.S. Sen. David Vitter continues his strong fundraising in the Louisiana governor's race. The Republican candidate for governor said Monday he raised more than $1.3 million in the most recent fundraising quarter ending July 16. SENT: 140 words. --ST TAMMANY FRACKING — St. Tammany Parish says it has told Helis Oil & Gas to stop work on an exploratory well for a proposed fracking project near Mandeville. SENT: 128 words. --VANDALS ARRESTED — Three people have been arrested in connection with vandalism of logging equipment earlier this month in Ouachita Parish. SENT: 140 words. --SHRIMP SEASON-LOUISIANA — The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has scheduled a special meeting for Thursday to consider open dates for the 2015 autumn shrimp season. That means the season will likely open before the commission's next regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 6. SENT: 133 words. --LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN DEATHS — New Orleans police say a 5-year-old boy died Sunday evening in Lake Pontchartrain at about the same spot where a 7-year-old girl drowned Saturday. SENT: 119 words. --LOTTERY RESULTS — The Louisiana Lottery Corp. says nobody won three big weekend drawings, so the jackpots are growing. SENT: 67 words. --TICKFAW POLICE — After serving as Tickfaw's police chief for six months, Frank DiBenedetto feels the department is moving in the right direction. SENT: 129 words. --LOUISIANA REGIONAL AIRPORT — The Louisiana Regional Airport just outside Gonzales grew by about 30 acres last week. SENT: 130 words. --SEX TRAFFICKING SENTENCE — U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite says a 26-year-old Dallas man who created a radio program called "Cheap Hoes Gotta Go" has been sentenced after admitting he brought a 16-year-old to Louisiana as a prostitute. SENT: 130 words. --PONZI SCHEME — U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley says a Lake Charles man has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in a $5.8 million Ponzi scheme. SENT: 121 words. --OFFSHORE STUDENTS — Marine zoology students at Nicholls State got a rare chance to study offshore aquatic life, thanks to a Mississippi research vessel. SENT: 137 words. --NIGHTCLUB SHOOTING — Three teenagers are recovering after being shot during a fight outside of a Kenner nightclub. SENT: 121 words. IN SPORTS: SUN BELT-MEDIA DAY NEW ORLEANS — Sun Belt Conference commissioner Karl Benson wants the league's football programs to work on shedding their "addiction" to big-money, non-conference matchups with heavily favored, Power Five programs. More non-league games with "peer conferences" would improve the chances of a Sun Belt team going unbeaten and getting a bid to one of six prestigious New Year's Day bowl games, the commissioner said at the conference's media day Monday. By Brett Martel. SENT: 834 words. SPORTS IN BRIEF: --PELICANS-BABBITT — The New Orleans Pelicans have re-signed free agent forward Luke Babbitt, who has become one of the club's most accurate long-range shooters. The 6-foot-9 Babbitt played in 63 games with 19 starts last season, averaging 4.1 points in 13.2 minutes per game. He shot 51.3 percent from 3-point range. SENT: 140 words. --LSU-ATHLETIC FUNDS — LSU's athletic department says it'll transfer $10 million to the university -- about $3 million more than its required payment. SENT: 123 words. _____ If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have photos of regional or statewide interest, please send them to the AP state photo center in New York, 888-273-6867. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at email@example.com or 877-836-9477. MARKETPLACE: Calling your attention to the Marketplace in AP Exchange, where you can find member-contributed content from Louisiana and other states. The Marketplace is accessible on the left navigational pane of the AP Exchange home page, near the bottom. For both national and state, you can click "All" or search for content by topics such as education, politics and business.
One of the metro area’s longest running high school football camps returns this week. The annual Southwest Air passing camp will be held Tuesday-Thursday in Warr Acres. The camp — originally founded by legendary high school coach Mike Little and now operated by his brother, Mark — is changing locations this year, moving to the Dolese Park/Northwest Optimist Athletic Fields off Northwest 50th...
Annual Southwest Air passing camp this week
Jul 18, 2015One of the metro area’s longest running high school football camps returns this week. The annual Southwest Air passing camp will be held Tuesday-Thursday in Warr Acres. The camp — originally founded by legendary high school coach Mike Little and now operated by his brother, Mark — is changing locations this year, moving to the Dolese Park/Northwest Optimist Athletic Fields off Northwest 50th Street between MacArthur Boulevard and Meridian Avenue, across from Putnam City High School. The camp is managed by several of the area’s top high school coaches, with workouts running from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. each day. It is open to quarterbacks, receivers, tight ends and running backs. Players must bring cleats, a shirt, shorts, socks, towel and a football with their name or their school’s name on it. Athletic trainers are on site, and lunch is provided. Cost is $150. Athletes can register online at www.swair.net, or contact Mark Little at (405) 550-3507.
How OU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley's brilliance carried him from Muleshoe and onto the coaching fast trackJul 11, 2015
Stop almost anywhere in Muleshoe, where grain elevators create the cityscape, and you’re sure to hear a story about its new favorite son.
How OU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley's brilliance carried him from Muleshoe and onto the coaching fast track
By Jason Kersey | Jul 11, 2015MULESHOE, Texas — As Debbie Conner stood at the chalkboard during her Muleshoe High School honors math courses, one student always sat in the back, rarely taking notes. It would have been easy to mistake him for a goof-off if not for the occasional question as Conner was explaining some difficult formula. “Couldn’t you just do it this way?” he would ask before detailing an alternate route to the right answer. Other students groaned. “Shut up! We don’t understand what you’re saying!” Thirteen years later, Lincoln Riley is using that uncanny brain power in a different realm as Oklahoma’s new offensive coordinator, hired by Bob Stoops in January to coach quarterbacks and reinvigorate a Sooner offense that had grown stagnant. The 31-year-old whiz is regarded nationally as one of football’s top young offensive minds, and his rapid rise in the college football coaching world affirms that label. “He had shortcuts that I didn’t even know about,” Conner said. “He’s one of the smartest kids I’ve ever taught. He’s brilliant.” His success can all be traced back to Muleshoe, a small West Texas farm town on the South Plains — located 70 miles northwest of Lubbock, 30 miles east of the New Mexico border and nearly 400 miles southwest of Norman — where four Rileys have quarterbacked the high school team and everyone insists Lincoln can do anything. “I always thought, ‘This is the child who can go out and discover the cure for cancer or do whatever he wants to,’” said Alice Liles, who taught Lincoln’s Advanced Placement English class. “And what does he want to do? He wants to coach football.” ‘What better thing could happen to Muleshoe?’ Stop almost anywhere in Muleshoe, where grain elevators create the cityscape, and you’re sure to hear a story about its new favorite son. At Williams General Store on American Boulevard — one of Muleshoe’s two main roads — owner Roger Williams beams with pride and promises that by football season, he’ll have plenty of Oklahoma apparel and memorabilia in stock. Sooner gear is in high demand here these days. Muleshoe old-timers gather most mornings at the town McDonald’s for coffee. When the conversation turns to football, someone is bound to mention Oklahoma’s new offensive coordinator, who they all watched grow up. The same is true at city hall, Leal’s Mexican restaurant and Grandaddy’s BBQ. Heck, if Old Pete — the fiberglass, life-sized mule statue that stands near the only stoplight in town — could talk, he’d probably have some Lincoln Riley stories to share, too. “It put Muleshoe on the map,” Williams said of Riley’s success. “People know who we are now, especially with Lincoln going to OU. “Golly, what better thing could happen to Muleshoe?” Muleshoe, its residents say, is the sort of place where you can leave the door to your house unlocked and your keys in your car. While other small West Texas towns have seen their populations decrease rapidly, Muleshoe’s has stayed steady around 5,000 because of the area’s agriculture and a recent influx of dairies that moved to escape California’s high land prices and taxes. The community is a highly religious and conservative one — Muleshoe residents just voted to allow alcohol sales in town two months ago — and loves its football. But even before Lincoln Riley’s successful coaching career, the town had a few claims to fame. Muleshoe is the hometown of actor Lee Horsley, who starred in the ABC crime drama “Matt Houston” from 1982-85 and had a minor role in the 2012 hit film “Django Unchained.” Legendary Oklahoman Will Rogers frequently visited a friend at the Mashed O Ranch near Muleshoe, and even wrote columns with a Muleshoe dateline in the 1930s. George W. Bush ran for Congress in 1978 and stumped in Muleshoe. The nation’s 43rd president wrote in his 2010 memoirs about receiving a cold reception there. “Laura and I smiled and waved at the spectators from the back of our white pickup truck,” Bush wrote. “Nobody cheered. Nobody even waved. People looked at us like we were aliens. By the end I was convinced the only supporter I had in Muleshoe was the one sitting next to me.” After Bush was elected president in 2000, “Old Pete” was loaded up and hauled to Washington D.C., for the inauguration. Pete even rode on the Texas float in the inaugural parade. But these days, the town’s biggest source of pride is the former quarterback who kickstarted an unprecedented run of Muleshoe High football success and is today tasked with fixing all that ails Oklahoma’s offense. “If you’re not at least 40 years old, you don’t know who Lee Horsley is,” said Gil Rennels, who runs the local cable access channel with his mother. “(Riley) has roots here as deep as Muleshoe (history) is long.” Riley’s family first moved to Muleshoe in the 1930s. His grandfather, Claude Riley, quarterbacked Muleshoe High to an undefeated season in 1938 — the first of four Rileys to play quarterback at the high school — and at age 95, still lives in the town. Riley’s father Mike runs the family cotton warehouse, which stores baled cotton, in nearby Sudan, Texas, and his mother, Marilyn, also has deep roots in Muleshoe. Marilyn’s grandparents ran one of Muleshoe’s grain elevators — a hundred-foot facility where grain is loaded at the bottom, moved upward on a belt and deposited into storage units — and she grew up on a farm that is still run by her brother. Mike played quarterback at Muleshoe in the early 1970s, but those weren’t good times for the Mules. “We were bad,” Mike said. “Very bad. We didn’t win much. We didn’t have very many kids or much participation. We got hammered.” Mike and Marilyn have lived in Muleshoe all their lives except while they attended the University of Texas in Austin, and raised two sons, Lincoln and Garrett, who are six years apart in age. Lincoln is installing an intricate offense and will call plays in front of more than 80,000 fans this fall, but 20 years ago — as an 11-year old playing back-yard football with his buddies — he was squatted down in the middle of a huddle, drawing plays in the grass. “You don’t typically see kids making up plays,” said Jeff King, one of Lincoln’s closest friends growing up and a high school teammate. “It’s usually just, ‘Get open,’ or ‘Go deep.’” ‘Winning football’s good for the church’ Everyone who knew Lincoln as a youngster remembers his high intelligence and maturity. He didn’t get in trouble very often and always made good grades. Some teachers were convinced Lincoln was cheating on some tests, because he would take hardly any notes and then ace the tests. "One teacher made him re-take a test right in front of her, and lo and behold, he still did everything right to the letter," said longtime Muleshoe football coach David Wood. "They figured out real quick that he had a remarkable memory." But for all of Riley’s academic success, he didn’t particularly enjoy school. “I wouldn’t say he loved school; it was a means for sports, although he did well in it,” Marilyn Riley said. Even Lincoln’s math proficiency can probably be traced back to sports. His interest in baseball stemmed from collecting baseball cards and studying their values in collector magazines. “He would just look and look and look through those magazines,” Marilyn said. “By the end of the month, they’d be ragged. But he knew the players and could rattle off all the stats and values. He just had an incredible memory.” Maggie Rennels, who operates the cable TV channel in town with her son Gil, remembers teaching Lincoln’s junior high Sunday school class one week. She taught that Jesus always encouraged those around him and that Christians should do the same. To prove her point, she looked at Lincoln — the junior high team’s quarterback — and asked him, “How would you feel if there was no pep rally before the football game? Or if the band didn’t show up? Or the student body didn’t come? Or there were no cheerleaders?” Lincoln looked back at Rennels and matter-of-factly responded, “That would be OK. I just love football.” But as Lincoln got to high school, the Muleshoe faithful was becoming increasingly fired up about Mules football. Coach David Wood arrived in the spring of 1996 and started building something special with a program that went 1-29 over a three-year period in the early ‘90s. The Mules made their first playoff appearance under Wood in 1998 — Lincoln’s freshman season — but when Lincoln took over as the team’s starting quarterback his junior year, Muleshoe reached new heights. Running a pro-style, I-formation offense that looks nothing like the Air Raid system Riley employs today, the Mules rolled through the 2000 regular season undefeated, then won four playoff games to reach the Texas Class 3A Division II state semifinals. On its way there, Muleshoe beat archrival Friona for only the third time in 17 years, a victory that would lead Lincoln to, several months later, do what most adults in town remember as his only real act of youthful indiscretion. In the summer of 2001, between his junior and senior years of high school, Lincoln and three Muleshoe teammates drove 30 miles north on State Highway 214, climbed the Friona water tower and spray painted the final score, 23-14. The water tower sits next to a nursing home, and someone stepped outside, noticed the four teenagers and alerted the authorities. Wood was vacationing in Colorado when Riley called and began the conversation with, “Coach, I just wanted you to hear this from me.” The guilty parties paid a fine and apologized — and ran a few extra sprints once Wood returned to Muleshoe — but Friona didn’t paint over the score for many years, choosing instead to use it as motivation. Marilyn Riley blushed and grinned when asked about the water tower incident. “That incident was very funny to everyone else at the time,” she said. “Wasn’t very funny to me. But now, in the grand scheme of things, we really were blessed and lucky in that regard.” Muleshoe residents certainly did have a lot more to be proud of than embarrassed by when it came to the oldest Riley boy, and the Mule football team’s trip to the 2000 state semifinals sits near the top of that list. About two weeks before Stoops and then-OU quarterback Josh Heupel — the offensive coordinator Riley replaced at Oklahoma — won a national title by beating Florida State in the Orange Bowl, Riley was leading Muleshoe into its biggest game ever on the Dallas Cowboys’ home field. Forney High routed the Mules 41-17 that day, with speedy running back DaBryan Blanton rushing for 165 yards and three touchdowns. Riley completed only five of 12 pass attempts for 95 yards with three interceptions. Coincidentally, Blanton would go on to become a two-sport athlete — football and track — at OU. Despite the disappointing end to that season, people around Muleshoe still remember it fondly. Many even give Riley credit for helping kickstart what has become a strong Mules football tradition. “Lincoln was the main person that took Muleshoe to the next step,” said David Jenkins, who was the Muleshoe High principal back then. “I never will forget, he’s the quarterback who led the team to the state semifinals.” Since Lincoln’s freshman year in 1998, Muleshoe has missed the playoffs only once. “Winning football’s good for the church,” said Stacy Conner, pastor of Muleshoe’s First Baptist Church. “When we started winning, our attendance got better. Part of that is because it’s a nice place to come talk about what happened on Friday night.” Garrett Riley, Lincoln’s younger brother who is now a receivers coach at East Carolina, graduated from Muleshoe in 2008 and was also a Mules quarterback. “Kids in my age group really looked up to Lincoln and the other kids on that team,” Garrett Riley said. “We hadn’t had success like that in a long, long time in our school’s history, so it was a big deal. And having your brother be the quarterback on that team was a really big deal to me.” Rare experiences Lincoln Riley always thought he’d begin his coaching career in a place like Muleshoe, but a surprising opportunity presented itself after a year in college at Texas Tech. He walked on to the Red Raiders football team after his first semester on campus and went through spring drills, but a few weeks later, coach Mike Leach called him into his office. Leach bluntly told him he would never play quarterback for the Red Raiders, but offered him an opportunity to become a student coach. Leach and the other Tech coaches had noticed Riley’s intelligence and football acumen, and thought he could be valuable to the program in an off-the-field role. Leach spent about two hours selling Riley on the idea. “I had to make a decision,” he remembered. “Do you keep doing the college thing … or do you wanna grow up right now? That’s the path I chose.” Riley spent the next three years working for the football program while also going to school full time. “His college experience wasn’t like most people’s,” said Mike Riley, Lincoln’s dad. Leach made Lincoln his full-time receivers coach in 2007, when Lincoln was only 23-years old. He called plays as interim offensive coordinator in the Red Raiders’ 2010 Alamo Bowl win over Michigan State, and the next season, became East Carolina’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, a position he held until accepting the OU job six months ago. His 2014 ECU offense averaged 533 yards per game, ranking fifth in the country. Despite all his success, though, Lincoln Riley has never forgotten where he came from. While still at Texas Tech in the spring of 2007, Riley returned to Muleshoe and helped Wood install a version of the Air Raid for the Mules. On Dec. 11, 2008 — a few days before Muleshoe won the 2008 state championship — Riley came back home and spoke before hundreds of students and town residents at a pep rally. At the time, Texas Tech was enjoying its greatest season ever. The Red Raiders were in the thick of the Big 12 and national championship hunts late in the season. To the fans and students, Riley said, “Get off your tails, get out there to the Metroplex and support these guys. It’s very important.” To the team, Riley said, “Man, it’s hard for me to say how proud I am of you guys. … Do what you’ve done all year, OK? You don’t need to change anything. Just because this is a state championship game doesn’t mean that you have to try any harder or do anything more than you’ve ever done. We always tell our guys before big games, ‘We don’t need any superheroes out there. We need everybody doing their job and doing what you’ve done all year.’ “That’s why you’re 14-0. That’s why you’re in the state championship game, because you’re a damn good football team.” ‘Not for second place’ Texas Tech has been — and probably will remain — Muleshoe’s favorite college football team just because of the proximity. But East Carolina became pretty popular in town over the past five years as Riley ran the Pirates’ offense. Many ECU games were broadcast on ESPN, allowing Muleshoe folks to watch and cheer for their favorite son. Of course, Muleshoe residents are happy that Lincoln is closer to home, and Mike and Marilyn are especially thrilled considering their 2-year-old granddaughter is now only a six-hour drive away. For Lincoln, though, the chief focus is rebuilding an OU offense that struggled mightily last season, when the Sooners finished a disappointing 8-5. Entering a season seen by many as the most high-pressure of Stoops’ tenure, he’s placed enormous trust in the 31-year-old Riley to turn things around. Lincoln Riley has reached impressive heights in the coaching world for someone his age, but no one in Muleshoe is surprised. “Anything Lincoln decides to do, it’s not for second place,” said Jenkins, the now-retired Muleshoe High principal. Debbie Conner, the math teacher who marveled at Lincoln’s brilliance from the back of the classroom, still remembers the day he told her he wanted to be a coach. “I said, ‘Lincoln! You’re gonna be a coach? You could cure cancer!’ “He just smiled.”
Jul 10, 2015
OU FOOTBALL -- Who is the man from Muleshoe, Texas, who's supposed to invigorate OU's offense? The Oklahoman's Jason Kersey and Bryan Terry went to the small Texas hometown of Lincoln Riley to learn more about the Sooners' new offensive coordinator.
VIDEO: Lincoln Riley through the eyes of Muleshoe, Texas
FROM STAFF REPORTS | Jul 10, 2015Who is Lincoln Riley? The best way to answer that is to go where it all started. The new OU offensive coordinator is from a small Texas town called Muleshoe, about 100 miles southwest of Amarillo and 70 miles northwest of Lubbock, and The Oklahoman's Jason Kersey and Bryan Terry made the trip from Oklahoma City. In this NewsOK video, the residents of Muleshoe tell the story of Lincoln Riley. Riley's parents, teachers, coaches and more tell stories of Riley's brilliant mind and his quick rise from undersized high school quarterback to one of the brightest young football coaches in America. Kersey offered a preview of his story on Muleshoe via NewsOK.com's OU blog on Wednesday, which you can read here. Be sure to check out Kersey's full story on Riley and Muleshoe here and a gallery of the town here.
Jul 5, 2015
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The latest from the Women's World Cup final (all times local):8:32 p.m.U.S. Vice President Joe Biden played the role of fan and teacher while he watched the American victory in the Women's World Cup final.Biden kept a close watch on the United States' 5-2 win over Japan on Sunday, while also explaining the action or discussing the play with his grandson,...
The Latest: VP Biden dotes on grandson as he watches final
By TIM BOOTH, Associated Press | Jul 5, 2015VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The latest from the Women's World Cup final (all times local): 8:32 p.m. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden played the role of fan and teacher while he watched the American victory in the Women's World Cup final. Biden kept a close watch on the United States' 5-2 win over Japan on Sunday, while also explaining the action or discussing the play with his grandson, Hunter. "Ten minutes, Hunt. Ten minutes," he said as the team inched closer to victory. Biden was asked by a pool reporter if he played soccer as a kid, and he marveled at the growth of the sport. "I played football," he said. "My boys were 5 and 6 and started in a county league. And it went from 50 kids to 600 in three years. I don't even think the high school that I went to had a soccer team." ___ 6:15 p.m. Carli Lloyd has won the Golden Ball as the most outstanding player in the Women's World Cup. Lloyd had a hat trick in the final as the U.S. defeated Japan 5-2 and finished with six goals in the tournament. U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo won the Golden Gloves award as the top goalkeeper in the tournament. The United States defense was stellar throughout and went 540 minutes between the first match of the group stage and Sunday's final without giving up a goal. Canada's Kadeisha Buchanan won the Best Young Player award and Germany's Celia Sasic won the Golden Boot. ___ 5:51 p.m. The United States has won its third Women's World Cup title and first since 1999 with a 5-2 victory over Japan on Sunday behind a first-half hat trick by Carli Lloyd. The Americans became the first country with three women's titles and got a measure of revenge for their loss in the 2011 final against Japan. Abby Wambach and Christie Rampone, the only player remaining from the 1999 title team, both came on as subs late in what's expected to be their final World Cup appearances. Lloyd scored in the third, sixth and 16th minutes, the last a speculative shot from midfield that beat Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori. Lloyd scored the fastest hat trick in World Cup history, men's or women's, in the highest scoring Women's World Cup final. Lauren Holiday also scored in the first half and Tobin Heath added a goal in the 54th minute after Japan scored an own goal to cut the deficit to 4-2. ___ 5:36 p.m. Abby Wambach has come on for the United States in what is expected to be her final Women's World Cup appearance. Wambach subbed on in the 79th minute against Japan with the U.S. leading 5-2. Wambach has morphed from being a starter to a late sub off the bench during the tournament, a role that seemed to boost the American attack. Chants of "We want Abby," started around the 65-minute mark. The roar grew when she was called over to the bench in the 75th minute. Wambach isn't the only star making her World Cup farewell. Japan's Homare Sawa came on in the first half. Sawa is playing in her record sixth Women's World Cup. ___ 5:15 p.m. Just when Japan appeared to have a glimmer of hope, Tobin Heath answered back in a hurry for the Americans. Moments after Japan scored on an own goal, Heath scored off a scramble in the penalty area to give the United States a 5-2 lead. Japan had just cut the deficit to 4-2 in the 52nd minute when U.S. defender Julie Johnston's header went past goalkeeper Hope Solo and into the American net. But the U.S. responded briskly with Morgan Brian laying off a pass into the middle of the box where Heath was unmarked. The seven combined goals are the most ever in a Women's World Cup final. ___ 4:50 p.m. Carli Lloyd rewrote the Women's World Cup record book with three goals in the first 16 minutes as the United States took a 4-1 lead at halftime of the final against Japan on Sunday. Lloyd set records for the fastest goal and became the first woman to score a hat trick in the World Cup final. She also was the third American woman to score a hat trick in any World Cup match, joining Michelle Akers and Carin Jennings Gabarra, both of which came during the 1991 tournament. Lloyd's hat trick was the fastest in women's or men's World Cup history. Lloyd is also the first American to score goals in four straight World Cup matches. Lauren Holiday's goal in the 14th minute gave the Americans a 3-0 lead and Lloyd scored from midfield moments later. She also had chances at a fourth and possibly fifth goal during the first half. ___ 4:31 p.m. Japan is on the board with a goal from Yuki Ogimi, cutting its deficit to 4-1 and ending the United States' streak of not allowing a goal at 540 minutes. Ogimi scored just before the half-hour mark in Sunday's Women's World Cup final. She out-positioned Julie Johnston for a cross into the U.S. penalty area and beat American goalkeeper Hope Solo with a left-footed shot. The U.S. had not allowed a goal since the opening match of the tournament against Australia. ___ 4:20 p.m. The rout is on. Carli Lloyd scored her third goal of the first half catching Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori off her line and scoring from midfield as the United States has taken a 4-0 lead in the first 20 minutes of the Women's World Cup final. Lloyd scored the two fastest goals in Women's World Cup history, scoring twice in the first six minutes of the match. Lauren Holiday scored to give the U.S. a 3-0 lead when she volleyed a shot past Kaihori after a header from Japan defender Azusa Iwashimizu went straight up in the air. Moments later Lloyd took a speculative shot from midfield and completed her hat trick. ___ 4:07 p.m. The United States has taken a 2-0 lead on two goals from captain Carli Lloyd in the first six minutes of the Women's World Cup final against Japan. Lloyd scored in the third minute off a corner kick from Megan Rapinoe that was driven low into the penalty box. Lloyd made a run from outside the box and one-touched the shot past Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori. Moments later, Lloyd scored again off a scramble in the penalty area in the sixth minute after a free kick from the U.S. just outside the Japan penalty area. __ 3:55 p.m. Abby Wambach hopes the "fairytale-like ending," comes on Sunday for not only herself but her U.S. teammates. In an extended monologue interview with Fox Sports, Wambach says, "I hope this is it, not just for me but this entire group of women." Wambach fought back tears throughout the seven-minute interview that was shown prior to the Women's World Cup final between the U.S. and Japan. Wambach says she's not one to often show a vulnerable side but the days are ticking away for her pro soccer career. "I've had the best life and it's all in total because of the friendships I've made. I've literally grown up on this team and the good, the bad and the ugly my teammates have helped me through it all," Wambach said. Wambach was not in the starting lineup for the U.S., but is expected to be one of the first options off the bench. ___ 3:35 p.m. Jill Ellis has no doubt she's made her dad proud. John Ellis served as a commando in the British Marines, and had a long career as a coach, before moving the family to Virginia when Jill was a young girl. The U.S. coach has relied on her father's advice at the Women's World Cup. Ellis faced criticism early on for the team's stagnant offense. But step by step throughout the tournament, the Americans have come together. Now the United States is in the final facing Japan, the team that beat them four years ago at the World Cup in Germany. Ellis has proven adept at shutting out the noise, saying her dad told her when she got into coaching that "50 percent will be with you and 50 percent will be against you." John Ellis is not in Canada for the final. But the 76-year-old does send his daughter texts reading, "Three deep breaths. Keep going." ___ 3:05 p.m. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Vancouver around midday Sunday and met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper prior to attending the Women's World Cup final between Japan and the U.S. Biden led a U.S. delegation to the final that included his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman, and two former U.S. soccer stars: Mia Hamm and Cobi Jones. Also traveling with the vice president: three of his grandchildren and President Barack Obama's daughter Sasha, according to a pool report. Jill Biden led the delegation to the final in 2011 in Germany which the U.S. lost to Japan, but her husband was absent from that trip. ___ 2:40 p.m. Japan was reeling in the wake of the destructive tsunami that struck the country in March 2011. Its women's soccer team had a World Cup in Germany to prepare for while the country was trying to rebuild. One of the opposing countries that became critical in helping Japan prepare for that World Cup it eventually won with friendlies and joint practices: The United States. Japan coach Norio Sasaki said before Sunday's final that he was thankful for how the U.S. helped Japanese soccer during a "tough situation." This will be the third straight major final between the countries with Japan winning the World Cup in 2011 and the U.S. winning the Olympic final in 2012. The Japanese women became stars and a rallying point for their country in the wake of the tsunami, but interest in the team has waned in the years since. "If we can win, we can make soccer a part of Japanese culture, not just a fad," Japan captain Aya Miyama said. ___ 2 p.m. Vancouver is awash in the stars and stripes. American fans filled the streets of Vancouver on Sunday ahead of the Women's World Cup final between Japan and the United States. A large number of those fans came from the Pacific Northwest, with easy access from the soccer hotbeds of Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Sounders, Timbers, Seattle Reign and Portland Thorns jerseys were scattered among the crowd of American jerseys with the names "Wambach," ''Leroux" and "Morgan" across the back. But not all were locals. One family riding the train Sunday morning decided to have a family reunion in Vancouver for the final. One part of the family was from Virginia, the other from California. They bought their tickets for the final at halftime of the U.S. semifinal match against Germany when the game was still tied 0-0 in the hopes the U.S. would prevail. They turned out to be right.
Jun 21, 2015
Oklahoma City homebuilder Jack Evans, who is managing partner of TimberCraft Homes, recently talked with The Oklahoman about the effect growing up with deaf parents had on his life and career.
Executive Q&A: Self-described 'hooligan' in high school finds his strong suit is in building houses
By Paula Burkes Business Writer firstname.lastname@example.org | Jun 21, 2015During their childhood, when televisions had on/off knobs, Oklahoma City homebuilder Jack Evans and his identical twin, Jay, didn’t know — until their friends told them — that the same TV knob also controlled sound. Their deaf parents never turned up the knob, and communicated with their sons through sign language, which was the twins' first language. They needed speech therapy to perfect their English. From a model home in the Pleasant Grove addition near Memorial and Council, Evans, who is managing partner of TimberCraft Homes, recently talked with The Oklahoman about the effect his silent household had on his life and career. Evans, 47, not only had an unconventional upbringing, but also was a nontraditional college student and worked several different jobs before finding his niche in homebuilding 10 years ago. His twin since has followed him into the industry. TimberCraft had annual revenues last year of $16.5 million and employs 16, including an interior designer and two planners who draw the firm’s unique blueprints, Evans said. With paintable exterior sidings, open floor plans, multiple windows and cathedral ceilings, his homes, even those smaller than 2,000 square feet, “give the illusion of volume and a cleaner feel,” said Evans, who’s built in northwest Oklahoma City, Surrey Hills, a little in Mustang and around to Edmond. He’s also built on 42 tornado-ravaged lots in Moore. The following is an edited transcript of the sit-down with Evans: Q: Who’s older, you or your brother, and how identical are you? A: I’m seven minutes older than Jay. We were born, two months premature, in Ponca City, where our parents were passing through. We lived our first two years in Afton, my mom’s hometown, so that my grandparents could help care for us. Then, we moved to Enid. My mom didn’t identify us in most of the pictures from our childhood, because she couldn’t even tell us apart. Today, we don’t look so much alike. But when people see us separately, they still struggle with who’s who. Q: What did your parents do? A: My dad, who was born deaf, and mom, who lost her hearing at age 4 or 5 after getting tuberculosis, met at the Oklahoma School for the Deaf in Sulphur. My mom, at 20, was about to graduate and dad, at 32, had returned for a football game. He had trained as a pressman at the school, but worked 29 years as a butcher for the Enid State School for the intellectually disabled. He died of kidney cancer at age 60, shortly before he’d planned to retire. The most he ever earned was $17,000, but he left a good pension for my mother, who’s retired and lives outside Lawton. My mom worked as a housekeeper for the school, until she was hurt in a car accident. She was riding a Vespa and turning back into the school after a lunch break, when she was hit. Afterward, she couldn’t work and, until she was approved for disability benefits, we for a few years were on food stamps. It was not great. Jay and I can remember standing in line to get cheese and pinto beans. We were old enough, at 11 or 12, to know our friends were not doing that. We have a sister, a few years younger, who has her own business as an interpreter for the deaf in Fort Worth. Q: In which extracurricular activities were you involved in school? A: Jay and I just hung out, often with two other friends. We were hooligans and not the best kids. Our parents taught us a good work ethic and the value of keeping our credit clean; we threw morning and afternoon papers from the time we were 11 or 12 and saved and bought our own motorcycles and cars. But they were satisfied with only passing grades. Meanwhile, largely unsupervised and with an accomplice in each other, we vandalized and shoplifted. Some of our teachers are probably surprised we’re not in jail. Q: And college? A: I’d graduated high school four or five years before I started college, and that was mainly because I wasn’t getting the kind of job I wanted. Having worked as a supervising night stockman for United Foods in Enid and a day stockman for a grocery in Fort Worth, I started at Northern Oklahoma College in Enid toward earning my associate’s in business administration and becoming a food broker. But after I graduated, I decided to continue, commuting to UCO in Edmond. I figured I could always go back and be a food broker, but after earning my bachelor’s in finance, I joined MidFirst Bank and worked five years as a servicing and acquisition analyst in the administration of home mortgages. Q: What made you decide to work for yourself? A: Though I enjoyed working for MidFirst, and got great training in understanding finance and contracts, I didn’t like being chained to the office from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Theresa already had started her own business doing title work for banks on repossessed cars, and I saw how she could come and go as she wanted. My first venture was buying a commercial industrial paint business that was a wholesale supplier to area manufacturers. It was successful, but I hated it. It was a culture shock, coming from a professional bank environment. I found my niche in the housing market, blending white- and blue-collar work by working with banks on financing, but overseeing construction outside of the office. Before I was a builder, I fixed up and flipped homes I bought in sheriff sales, doing most of the work myself. But after shows on flipping houses starting airing in 2005 on HDTV, there no longer was any money in it, and I transitioned to homebuilding. Within six months after the house flipping shows started, the number of people showing up at foreclosure sales ballooned from 50 to 400, including stay-at-home moms pushing baby strollers who thought they could make a little money on the side. Q: Did you and Theresa ever plan children? A: I joke that Jay had my share. He has five kids, ages 8 to 25. And on Theresa’s side, we have 29-year-old fraternal twin nieces, who lived with us for a time when they were attending OU. Theresa had a hysterectomy before we married, so we knew we wouldn’t have biological children. We’d considered adopting, but when the time came, after I’d completed my degree and we’d started our separate businesses, it just wasn’t part of our life. Q: Is it hard competing against your twin brother, Jay Evans of Two Structure Homes, who also builds houses in the same additions as you? A: I don’t see it as business he gets, I lose. Our products are as different as a Subaru and Ford Truck; my homes are more modern and his, more traditional. In general, my buyers are younger, ages 28 to 32, but they’re sophisticated buyers. Many are buying their first homes, only these aren’t cracker box stereotypical starter homes or tract homes, but distinctive homes that reflect them. As twins, Jay and I have competed our whole lives, and the competition has — and still does — make both of us better.
Jun 18, 2015
The day started in the office of a United States Senator. The day ended with a waterfront seafood dinner in beautiful Annapolis, Md. In between I walked through the theater where Abraham Lincoln was shot and through the room where he died, 150 years ago this April. I discovered why people say “It’s a small […]
D.C. travelblog: From a Senator's office to a President's death bed
Berry Tramel | Jun 18, 2015[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2015/06/fords-theater.jpg]3707267[/img] The day started in the office of a United States Senator. The day ended with a waterfront seafood dinner in beautiful Annapolis, Md. In between I walked through the theater where Abraham Lincoln was shot and through the room where he died, 150 years ago this April. I discovered why people say "It's a small world" and why people say D.C. traffic is in the worst in America. I discovered some more gems about the U.S. Capitol. If it sounds like quite a day on our D.C. adventure, believe me. It was. IN EVERY HART THERE IS A ROOM [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2015/06/tramel-and-lankford.jpg]3707268[/img] I headed to the Capitol complex early Wednesday. Oklahoma senator James Lankford meets with constituents from 9-9:45 a.m. every Wednesday for coffee and informal conversation. Most congressional members try to be available to their electorate, but they're like everyone else. Jam-packed schedules. So Lankford sets up what amounts to office hours for his constituents. The government has three senatorial office buildings just northeast of the Capitol. The Hart Senate Office Building, named for Philip A. Hart, a U.S. senator from Michigan from 1959 until his death in 1976. Hart was known as the "Conscience of the Senate." Too bad he wasn't known as the conscience of architecture. Congress gets a bad rap for its own extravagance, but rest assured, it wasn't opulent in its office buildings. The Hart Building is a fine facility, but it was built in the 1970s and looks it. Nothing at all like the regal government buildings down the hill. Lankford's office is on the third floor -- and he was down in the basement until a few weeks ago. Rookies are banished to the basement, but Lankford, who ranks 92nd in Senate seniority, moved into the main building recently and really hasn't gotten everything in order. He apologized for the giant mirror hanging behind his desk, which he inherited from the previous occupier of the office, whose name will not mentioned to protect the guilty. About 20 Oklahomans gathered to chat with Lankford. A pharmacist from Norman and his family (more on them later). Two ministers (more on them later). Three students in D.C. to compete in the National History Contest, one with her family of four from Broken Arrow plus her teacher and her teacher's mother, two more from Classen with their mothers. A farmers advocate from Hollis. A just-graduated Stillwater High School student and his mother. I think that was it. Lankford's staff, all young, greeted us, then Lankford arrived and could not have been more accommodating. I like several things about Lankford: He's down to Earth. No pretentiousness. He's smart. I assume we have few dilberts in Congress, but Lankford seems exceptionally bright. A good friend of mine is a political reporter who likes Lankford for this reason -- ask him why he voted a certain way on a bill, or what's really going on with the bill, and Lankford actually knows. Doesn't have to ask an aide for a reminder or a briefing. Lankford knows. My friend says it's not the same with our other senator, Jim Inhofe. Lankford is not a career politician. Six years ago, Lankford was running Falls Creek, the Baptist Youth Camp outside Davis, in the Arbuckle Mountains, and had been for more than decade. Now he's a U.S. senator. Mr. Lankford goes to Washington. We need fewer lawyers and fewer career politicians in Congress. Lankford fits the bill. Lankford's wife, Cindy, is in town for the week, because his daughters are at Falls Creek. He said that's a treat, and I'll bet that's right. Lankford told us tries to get home most weekends, but otherwise, he's home only one week out of seven, plus most of August. The Senate session is almost year-round. The congressional members with families usually try to maintain such schedule. Displayed just outside his inner office are five football helmets. Officials from Oklahoma Baptist University brought the first, then Burns Hargis brought an OSU helmet signed by Mike Gundy, and since then OU, Tulsa and UCO have joined the collection. Lankford fielded questions about education and farming and world hunger. Pharmacist Brian Shaw's daughter, who's headed for the fifth grade, asked Lankford the best question -- where does he live while he's in Washington. (Lankford said he lives in a Row House, not far from the Capitol, with eight other congressmen, which sounds insufferable.) I told Lankford I was pleased that his office was next to the office of Elizabeth Warren, the Democrat from Massachusetts who graduated high school from Northwest Classen, and I was glad to see the Republicans and Democrats weren't separated in the building. Lankford gave us a quick tutorial on how things move slower in the Senate, by rule, and how members of opposing parties have to work together more than they do in the House. More common ground is needed in D.C., in my opinion. In D.C. and elsewhere. Lankford even told us about a bill he's working on with noted Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California. So that's encouraging. The time went fast, and Lankford posed for pictures with each individual group. I thought it was cool. I know Congress has a well-deserved rap, but when you meet someone like Lankford, you get a little more faith in the system, and when you're in D.C., you get a little more pride about the process itself. I left Lankford's office with a little more hope. CAPITOL GAINS [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2015/06/senate-chamber.jpg]3707266[/img] Lankford's office offered tours of the Capitol and Senate Gallery passes. The Dish still was in conference, until noon, so I figured I'd tour the Capitol again. See if a Senate intern could get me more places than what the official Capitol tour had. And the answer was yes. Josh Jackson, an OSU student from Coweta and a really nice fellow, took a group of seven of us on the tour. Josh wore a light blue sportcoat; I told him he had no future in Washington, where everyone in politics seems to dress alike (dark suit). Just getting to the Capitol was interesting. We went to the basement of the Hart Building, passed the catacomb offices from which Lankford had just escaped and walked under one of the other Senate office buildings. Then we arrived at the underground tram that zips people back and forth between the office buildings and the capitol. We had gone through security to enter the Hart Building, but they rechecked our electronics -- cell phones, primarily -- and we jumped aboard the small train. At the Capitol, Josh went to get our admission tickets and had to stand in line. The Dish and I didn't stand in line at all on Monday. But while we waited, we visited the Capitol Exhibit Hall, which we had skipped Monday. There were some cool artifacts displayed. Maybe the best were the models of the Capitol through the years, from its original 1800 opening to its burning in 1814 by the British to its reconstruction and additions. Then we headed up, and Josh gave us the same general tour as the regular tour, with some notable exceptions. Josh took us to the Will Rogers statue, which sits on the second floor, connecting the House Chamber to the Rotunda. Remember, every state gets two statues in the Capitol. Oklahoma's are Sequoyah and Will Rogers. The latter was placed in the Capitol in 1939, four years after Rogers' death. Josh told us some cool things about the statue. First, it faces the House Chamber, because Rogers warned never to turn your back on Congress. And for some reason, it's become tradition that rubbing Rogers' shoes bring good luck. Sure enough, Rogers' bronzed feet have turned to gold, as people rub them. Presidents walk down that corridor on their way to the inauguration; Josh said D.C. lore is that six straight presidents have rubbed the feet of Will Rogers. Josh also took us into two fabulous rooms we didn't see on the official tour, although I think we could have gone if we had just known to find them. The Old Supreme Court Chamber was a beautiful, intimate room, restored in 1975 to how it looked from 1810-1860. The Supreme Court moved in 1860 to the former Senate Chamber, and the room was converted into a law library. After the Supreme Court left the Capitol in 1935, the Old Supreme Court Chamber was divided into four rooms and used by the joint committee on atomic energy. We also toured the old Senate Chamber, which was used from 1819-1859 by the Senate, then was home to the Supreme Court from 1860-1935. Beautiful and ornate and much more intimate than the current Senate Chamber. Then the tour was over, but we were free to go to the gallery. That required more security, including turning in your cell phone and all electronics. No photos, no cell phones, no nothing. The Congressional chambers are fairly serious places. So we checked our cell phones, went up an elevator and walked through some halls before again going through security. Then we were ushered into the gallery, what amounts to the balcony. The chamber was mostly empty except for officials at the front, doing whatever they do. We couldn't see every Senate seat, but there couldn't have been more than five senators in the room. When we sat down, Maryland Democrat Barbara Mikulski was talking about immigration, telling success stories about young, illegal immigrants. While she talked, Jim Inhofe came in and sat down by her, and later they had a conversation. Which again, to me, was symbolically encouraging. We need more dialogue between the parties. Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, Virginia senator, then started speaking, but we couldn't see him, and I figured I had seen enough to get inspired. So out I went. Down the hall, down the elevator, back to the cell-phone holding room, out the doors and into the sunlight of a free nation. It had been a good day already. FORD'S THEATER It was a little after noon, and the Dish got out of her conference at noon. I texted her before relinquishing my cell phone to the United States Senate, asking if she wanted to grab a cab and meet me at Ford's Theater. We had tickets to tour the shrine at 1:30 p.m. I jumped in a cab myself and we met almost at the same, about 12:15. Too early to enter the theater, so we walked across the street to a deli and got a sandwich. Cosi, is the name of the place. Sort of like a Panera Bread. It was decent and popular. Then we went back to Ford's Theater, which is located a few blocks north of the National Mall, basically in downtown D.C. Ford's Theater sits in the middle of a city block on 10th Street. It was a Baptist church for the first half of the 19th century, but the church sold it, and John Ford turned it into a theater in 1863. It's estimated that the Lincolns attended Ford's Theater a dozen times. We were disappointed to learn that the theater, as is, is not original. After Lincoln's assassination, the government decreed it should no longer be an entertainment venue. It was converted into a warehouse and office building. In 1893, part of the building collapsed, and 22 people died. The site mostly languished until 1955, when Congress approved a study for its renovation. In 1968, Ford's Theater reopened as a performance hall and national historic site. You generally have to purchase tickets in advance, which we did Monday, for timed-entry. You enter and descend into the basement, where there's a Lincoln museum. I've been to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., and it's hard to top that. The Ford's Theater museum has some notable displays which kept the Dish interested, but it's best served to history buffs. The Civil War timeline, with Lincoln's many concerns over leadership and generals, is fascinating. I stayed there an hour and felt like I had completed a Civil War history course. The only thing I missed was a good-sized exhibit on the conspirators, John Wilkes Booth and Co. But they have hourly presentations in the theater itself, and it was time to go. So went ascended back into the theater, and people filled up most of the 661 seats in the place while a U.S. Parks ranger took the stage and told the story of the theater and the night of Lincoln's murder. Even though the theater is a complete restoration, it was quite eerie to be sitting in a seat, looking at the private box where the Lincolns sat 150 years ago, and the stage where Booth leaped to and suffered a broken leg after firing the fatal shot. After the presentation, you walk across the street and get in line to enter the Petersen House, which is where Lincoln was taken after the shot and where he died. The Petersen House is part of the historical site, and you tour three rooms recreated to look like the night of April 14, 1865. The front parlor is where Mary Todd Lincoln sat much of the night. The adjoining room is where Washington police superintendent Almarin Cooley Richards interviewed witnesses and ordered the arrest of Booth. And then you walk through the bedroom where Lincoln died. The original bed long ago was bought by a collector and now is in the Chicago History Museum. But the blood-stained pillow remains with the Petersen House. Upstairs are more Lincoln exhibits, including the stories of the chase for Booth and his conspirators, their capture, arrest, trial and execution. There is much information about Lincoln's family, which was fascinating and much-cursed. Two Lincoln children died young. Robert Todd Lincoln became a prominent American, serving a variety of presidential administrations. Robert Todd Lincoln was at the White House when his father was shot and rushed to the Petersen House. Robert Todd Lincoln was at the Sixth Street Train Station in D.C., serving as Secretary of War, and was an eyewitness when President James Garfield was assassinated by Charles Guiteau on July 2, 1881. And at President William McKinley's invitation, Robert Todd Lincoln was at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo on Sept. 6, 1901, when McKinley was shot and killed by Leon Czolgosz, though Lincoln did not witness the killing. I think most Americans have a general understanding of Abraham Lincoln's status in history. A rather unassuming political figure who was thrust into the darkest days our nation has seen. And he handled it with uncommon wisdom that cost him his life. You'll appreciate Lincoln even more when you walk the site where he was shot and where he died. IT'S A SMALL WORLD Back to Lankford's office. Twenty or so Oklahomans gathered. Out of how many? Four million. And I had connections to two of them. The pharmacist I mentioned? Brian Shaw and his lovely family. Turns out Brian is a pharmacist at the Walgreen's in Norman, at Main and Flood. That's our Walgreen's. That's where we get our prescriptions filled. I went on the tour with the Shaws and they were a delight. The ministers I mentioned? One of them was the Rev. Lori Walke, associate pastor at Mayflower Congregational Church. She was in town for a world hunger conference. You might remember her as Lori Allen, who played basketball at OSU a few years ago. She was recruited by Dick Halterman and she played for Julie Goodenough and Kurt Budke. Lori mentioned to me that I included her a few years ago in our annual Father's Day tribute and that it remains a great memory for their family. And a few hours later, the Dish and I sat down in Ford's Theater for the ranger's presentation, and sitting right behind us was a woman who introduced herself as Robyn Turney, the mother of Tasha Diesselhorst, the Pond Creek-Hunter girls basketball coach who I wrote about during the 2014 state tournament. Think about it. I'm 1,500 miles from, and within a few hours, totally random, I meet someone I wrote about a few years ago, the mother of someone I wrote about last year and my pharmacist. Amazing. Robyn Turney, whose husband Randy is a long-time coach himself, is in town as part of the Oklahoma Youth Tour, sponsored by the National Rural Electric Co-Op Association. That's the group I've seen around town. They were at the airport when we flew out Saturday, they were at the FDR Memorial when we strolled through on Saturday evening, they were at the Museum of American History on Sunday and they were at Ford's Theater on Wednesday. If you didn't know any better, you'd think somebody was following somebody. TRAFFIC? WHAT TRAFFIC I've been saying all week that the horror stories of D.C. traffic are overrated. I haven't seen much of it. I got into a cab at 8:10 a.m. Monday, wondering if I'd be able to get across town to Lankford's office by 9. I was in front of the building at 8:35. I found taxis easily and found them able to navigate. When we left the Petersen House, we needed to take a cab to Reagan National Airport to rent a car, and when a couple of cabs passed us, an unmarked cab stopped. Guy said he had his own service and would give us a ride: $15 to Reagan. We jumped in and he was great. Told us more stuff than any taxi driver had. Got us there quickly, even though it was rush hour. We rented a car and set out for our hotel, to pick up our luggage. I thought it might take an hour, since it was right at 5 p.m. Rush hour. Took us 10 minutes to go the 31/2 miles. Nothing at all. But then we found it. To get to Annapolis, you have to cross D.C. And getting through downtown was bad. Probably took us 25 minutes on L Street, which becomes Massachusetts Avenue, which becomes New York Avenue, which becomes Highway 50. And after we got out of downtown, the traffic worsened. We went two miles in about 50 minutes. I had no deadline, so I didn't get stressed, and I didn't know how else to go anyway. But it was brutal. Finally, we got to the freeway of Highway 50, and it opened up quickly. It's only 30 miles from D.C. to Annapolis. It took 100 minutes, and we made the last 18 miles in about 18 minutes. But I now know what people mean. ARLINGTON NATIONAL One thing we hadn't seen was Arlington National Cemetery, and the Dish really wanted to see it. After getting our rental car at Reagan, en route back to the Melrose Hotel, the GPS told us to go a certain way. Including pulling off the Jefferson Davis Highway, which seemed dubious to me. Seemed like the Jeff was going to take us right where we needed to go. But I dutifully turned off, onto Iwo Jima Boulevard in Arlington, Va., and suddenly, there was Arlington National. It wasn't the main entrance. But we were driving alongside the stone wall that surrounds the cemetery. We saw a turn-in, where we could park and walk in, and the Dish took a bunch of pictures of the gorgeous, serene place. The setting is idyllic. We didn't see any of the famous graves, like the Kennedys'. But Arlington National isn't about fame. It's about service. And the white headstones, row after row, remind you of the ultimate price some have paid for our freedom. DINNER ON THE SOUTH RIVER [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2015/06/mikes-seafood.jpg]3707269[/img] We're spending two nights in Annapolis, because we've always wanted to see the Naval Academy and the beautiful setting of the Maryland capital. It was 7 p.m. when we got checked in at the Residence Inn, and we were hungry, so our Annapolis exploration will have to wait. But dinner didn't wait. We found a place called Mike's Crab House, which sits hard by the South River, and it was the best meal I've had in months. You can sit outside, by the water, and so we did. I don't like pretentious restaurants, and this wasn't. You can always tell a good seafood joint by the availability of combination dinners. I don't mind paying a lot of money for a lot of seafood. I just don't like paying a lot of money for a little seafood. For instance, at Clyde's the other night in D.C., my dinner was $26 for two good-sized crabcakes and some kind of green bean dish. At Mike's on Wednesday night, my dinner was $28 for a good-sized crab cake, some scallops, several good-sized shrimp and a big piece of grouper, plus a baked potato and salad bar. Even better, I got the Dish's crab soup, because she didn't care for it. Might have been the best soup I've ever had. Thick. I like thick soup. The weather was pristine, about 74 degrees, sitting on the water in the home of our nation's Navy, and the food was fantastic and I got to share it with the Dish, my favorite person in the whole world. I haven't had many better meals in my life. Truth is, this whole day was hard to beat.
Jun 14, 2015
We flew low over the Potomac River and onto the runway at Reagan National. The last time I was in Washington, D.C. (April 1981), Air Florida flight 90 had yet to crash into the Potomac. That would be nine months later. The last time I was in D.C., its close-by airport was called Washington National. […]
D.C. travelblog: A sobering day at the Memorials
Berry Tramel | Jun 14, 2015[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2015/06/korean-memorial.jpg]3702689[/img] We flew low over the Potomac River and onto the runway at Reagan National. The last time I was in Washington, D.C. (April 1981), Air Florida flight 90 had yet to crash into the Potomac. That would be nine months later. The last time I was in D.C., its close-by airport was called Washington National. Ronald Reagan had been in office less than three months. But now we were back, the Dish and I. She has a fund-raising conference this week, and I tagged along. I figure an American ought to see his capital every 30 years or so. I came through D.C. when I was 15, 1976, and spent a day. Then another day in 1981, just after my brother's Virginia wedding. Now I've got several days, with the perspective of half a century on Earth, to take in our seat of government. I had a friend who once joked that he thought a career as a schoolteacher would be tremendous, except for all those kids he'd have to deal with. D.C.'s a little like that. If it wasn't for the politicians, what a heck of a place Washington would be. So it's good in D.C. to try to focus on the government, and not the politics. Government gets a bad rap. Politics don't. Politics deserves its sewer-rat status. But government doesn't. Government has helped us produce a fabulous nation. You realize that walking the streets and the sights of D.C. We're staying at the Melrose Hotel, on the edge of Georgetown in northwest D.C. It's a good-sized room. The desk is built into a little enclave. Above the desk, on the wall, is not a picture or a window. It's a giant script, proclaiming, "We the People," continued in smaller type by remnants of the Constitution. I'm a little like Annie when she goes to spend Christmas at Daddy Warbucks' house. I think I'm gonna like it here. MEMORIAL ROW [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2015/06/washington-monument.jpg]3702692[/img] We had a 7:05 a.m. flight out of OKC on Saturday, which meant waking up at 5 a.m., and we didn't get to sleep very early Friday night, so we were running on empty when we got to our hotel about 4 p.m. Eastern time. Still, that's almost five hours of daylight. So our gameplan was this. Try to knock out the western side of the National Mall, which is a national park, rectangular in shape, that stretches from the U.S. Capitol on the east to the Lincoln Memorial on the west. It's 1.9 miles long, east-to-west, and varies north-to-south. Think Central Park, only with historical monuments. We figured we'd be walking a ton, so we took a cab to the Mall, which is about two miles from our hotel. We drove by George Washington University, which sounds cool but which has a setting a little too urban for my taste, and the State Department, which is a massive compound without much character (no political jokes here). The cabbie let us out on the north side of the park. And our stroll was tremendous. ‘* We entered the Vietnam Veterans Memorial without even knowing it. I guess we entered from the wrong side, though I don't know why it matters. You've heard all about the Wall. But the Vietnam Memorial is not something adequately experienced in print or video. The names are on two gabbro walls -- gabbro is a reflective rock -- each 246 feet, 9 inches in length. They are placed L-shaped and sunk into the ground, so you enter from either side and begin walking at a downward angle. The rock walls are just eight inches in height at the top, which means we didn't even know we were walking past them. Eventually, we figured it out, and at the bottom, the walls are over 10 feet tall. It's a sobering experience to walk past the walls. As of last year, there were 58,300 names listed. We went through six memorials Saturday; the Vietnam was easily the most reverent. It's the names, of course. Individual names personalize a war. At each end of the memorial are books, protected from the elements but accessible to the public, to look up a particular name. Fortunately, I couldn't recall a family member or friend who had been killed in Vietnam. I found the name of Bob Kalsu, the former OU star. I thought of Del City's football stadium, named for Kalsu, and the first time I saw it and wondered who Bob Kalsu was. [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2015/06/lincoln-memorial.jpg]3702693[/img] * The Lincoln Memorial stands majestically to the south of the Vietnam Memorial. We didn't get to the west of the Mall during either of my previous two trips to D.C., so I was looking forward to the Lincoln Memorial. I've always remembered the Gomer Pyle episode, when Gomer is supposed to sing at some big function in D.C., and Sgt. Carter has him signing some goober song, but a commander suggests "Impossible Dream" instead. Then Gomer finds out he's singing for the Vice President loses his voice because he's nervous. Gomer trudges off in shame and finds himself at the Lincoln Memorial, where a National Parks Service guard tells him that Abe Lincoln never lost his serve. Gomer starts reciting the Gettysburg Address, which is in huge type on the east wall of the Memorial, and gets his voice back. It's not completely kooky. I can think of few things more inspirational than reciting the Gettysburg Address at the Lincoln Memorial. I did it myself, in my head, Saturday. What a speech. On the west wall is Lincoln's second inaugural address. And the massive sculpture, with Lincoln sitting in a chair, is fantastic. The Lincoln Memorial is a Roman-style monument that sits 55 steps above the ground, overlooking the Mall. Lincoln himself is looking out over the Mall, in the direction of the Washington Monument. It's a glorious setting. As we descended the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, we noticed a singing group standing at the bottom, not far from the long reflecting pool (2,029 feet by 167) that stretches toward the Washington Monument. We went down and listened. I have no idea who they were; about 20 people dressed in blue shirts, most of them older but a few young people, singing "Shall We Gather at the River." * The Korean War Veterans Memorial was next. Full confession. Until Friday, I didn't know we had a Korean War Memorial. And it was the best surprise of the day. The Korean memorial includes a 164-foot-long granite wall, that contains more than 2,500 photographic images sandblasted, representing the land, sea and air troops who served. The main memorial is in the shape of a triangle, in which are 19 stainless steel statues, each over seven feet tall. They represent a squad on patrol. The entire memorial is gorgeous. It contains a short wall listing the nations that participated in the war. Inscriptions list the numbers killed, wounded, missing in action and captured. A plaque proclaims: "Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met." I wondered how the people of South Korea felt about Americans today. South Vietnam fell. South Korea didn't. South Korea is a thriving nation. North Korea is, well, North Korea. Then I got my answer. At the top of the triangle with the 19 soldier statues, sits a wreath, with these words: "We remember you forever. With people of the Republic of Korea. Presented by: Class of 1963, College of Commerce, Seoul Nation University." My father-in-law served in Korea. I wish he could have seen this. He died in 1995, the same year the memorial opened. [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2015/06/mlk-stone1.jpg]3702691[/img] * I've been to the Civil Rights Museums in Memphis and Montgomery, Ala., which in many ways are tributes to Martin Luther King Jr., and I've been to the MLK museum in Atlanta. So no reason to skip the MLK Memorial in D.C. The D.C. Memorials are more tributes than museum. They're not designed to tell the whole story. But the MLK Memorial, and the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial, come close. Both Memorials are across Independence Avenue, toward the Potomac River, which means they're outside the Mall. They sit on the Tidal Basin, the partially man-made reservoir between the river and the Washington Channel. It's a beautiful setting; it's the focal point of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. To enter MLK's Memorial, you walk through huge stones. Almost Egyptian in feel, and see back of the MLK monument, made out of the same stone. On one side is the inscription, "Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope." MLK's likeness then looks out over the Tidal Basin. Almost Egyptian in feel, and see back of the MLK monument, made out of the same stone. On one side is the inscription, "Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope." MLK's likeness then looks out over the Tidal Basin. The memorial, which didn't open until 2011, contains rock walls, also looking out onto the water, with 14 famous MLK quotations. Like this, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." * You walk maybe an eighth of the way around the basin to get to the FDR Memorial, which opened in 1997. It's spread over 71/2 across of rock formations and contains four sequences, each representing an FDR term in office. Sculptures include FDR with his dog, iconic Great Depression scenes such as men waiting in a bread line and a citizen listening to a fireside chat, and Eleanor Roosevelt standing before the United Nations emblem. FDR quotes are inscripted upon the rocks. The most famous, of course, is "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." I heard a young woman in her 20s say, "Hey, I like that." Yep, it might have some staying power. * The Jefferson Memorial is on the opposite side of the Tidal Basin, which is 107 acres of water. So it's a nice walk. The Jefferson Memorial is not as famous as the Lincoln Memorial but is very similar. Roman-style columns, massive steps, covered but open-air sculpture. Jefferson is standing, not sitting, but same as Lincoln, some of his famous pronouncements are displayed on the sides of the memorial. Most historians agree that Jefferson was the smartest of our presidents. Maybe the smartest of our Americans. I had a history professor once say that the Theory of Evolution takes a hit when you compare modern presidents to Thomas Jefferson, who maybe wasn't the Father of our Country but was the Father of How We Think, as the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. By this time, we were pretty gassed. The Dish has one of those Fitbit things, and she was in the 18,000-step range (she would finish with 22,000-plus), so we decided to start planning for dinner. We continued to circle the Basin, back towards the Washington Monument, and near the Monument we hailed a cab. Our tour for the day was over. Lots more still to see, but unlike my previous trips to D.C., this time, I've got time to see them. COLD OR HOT Here's the problem when you travel in summer. It's hot outside. It's cold everywhere you go inside. Our Southwest flight from OKC to Atlanta was freezing. I wore a sportscoat for that very reason, and because that's how I keep track of everything, with interior pockets. But the Dish had my coat before we hit cruising speed. At dinner Saturday night, a famous D.C. place called Clyde's, the temperature had to be 66. It was freezing. But it wasn't freezing in our hotel room. The Melrose is an elegant hotel, seems to have all the amenities, but our room was hot when we checked in. I turned on the fan, thought maybe that was it, and when we returned Saturday night, it was no better. So I called the front desk, and about 20 minutes later they sent up an engineer. He found the problem in about 10 minutes. Some valve something or other. So it cooled off. But the Melrose isn't in the business of prompt service. They don't have ice you can retrieve yourself. You have to call for it. This isn't a resort. I don't mind getting my own ice. But you have to call for it. The Dish doesn't function without ice water at night, so I called for it. And 15 minutes later, it hadn't come. So I went down and made them hand it over. Some things done in the name of service are the exact opposite. The flights were mostly uneventful. The Atlanta airport, Hartsfield, is massive, of course, and they've got great dining options. Chick-fil-A is headquartered in Atlanta. So is Coca-Cola. Both had big airport presence. Varsity, a longtime Georgia institution, was there, too. I ate at one in Athens. The Dish got a good window seat for the flight to D.C., in front of the wing, but you have to be careful. You don't really want to watch baggage-handlers. Sort of like watching people make your food. You might be better off ignorant. It was nice to see them load both of our bags, but they were treated with all the delicacy of potting soil. GEORGETOWN I assume we'll start using the Metrorail, but it was all taxis Saturday. Reagan National sits on the south side of the Potomac, in Arlington County, Va., but literally on the banks of the river. So it's an easy jaunt over to the bridge that takes you right by the Lincoln Memorial. The cab ride from the airport to our hotel was $19. The cab ride from the hotel to the Mall was $6.22. The ride from the Washington Monument to Georgetown was $13, a lot of it caused by traffic. Traffic is bad in Georgetown. Georgetown is the neighborhood with the university of the same name, but it's also the trendy area of D.C., with great shopping, dining and housing. We had lunch at the Atlanta airport -- shared a cheesesteak at Charley's Cheesesteak, which was good -- but were hungry by 8 p.m. So we went to Clyde's, which has several locations in the D.C. area. It's sort of an old-saloon atmosphere. Quaint and lively, I'd say. We sat in the corner, literally in the corner, in rounded booth-like seats. The Dish had pasta carbonara; I had a Thai seafood stew. The carbonara was good, though it had bacon and I prefer chicken. My stew was good; really wasn't much of a stew. More just a collection of seafood, with rice, but it was excellent. The prices weren't too bad; mine was $19, I think, and the Dish's was $17. I'd go back. Then we got a piece of chocolate next door at Godiva and walked back to the hotel, ready to conk out and get rested for another day of adventure in our nation's capital.
Despite a senior class with only four players, Lafayette’s Chris Neff recently saw two of his players move on to the next level.O’Shaye Kirby and Malik Hughes each signed to play college basketball, one bound for junior college and the other to a NAIA school.Kirby started only one year for the Fighting Irish but averaged 9.5 points and 7 rebounds per game for the Irish, which were ranked No. 1...
Lafayette duo to continue basketball career at next level
Cody Thorn, Associated Press | Jun 10, 2015Despite a senior class with only four players, Lafayette’s Chris Neff recently saw two of his players move on to the next level. O’Shaye Kirby and Malik Hughes each signed to play college basketball, one bound for junior college and the other to a NAIA school. Kirby started only one year for the Fighting Irish but averaged 9.5 points and 7 rebounds per game for the Irish, which were ranked No. 1 almost the entire season by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association. The 6-foot-2, 200 pound prospect improved as the season went, something that caught the eye of Southwestern’s coach Todd Lorensen. “He does some things you can’t teach with his athletic ability, I really think the sky is the limit as a player,” said Lorensen, who spent five years as an assistant at then-MIAA schools Truman State and Nebraska-Omaha. “Coach Neff has great confidence in O’Shaye, not only what he did to develop as a player but his desire to get even better than he is right now, which is important. We want guys who will come in and work their tail off with a workman-like attitude and be the best player he can be.” Lorensen said he has recruited Lafayette players before while at the MIAA schools, but came up short trying to sign Bryston Williams and Xavier Kurth. Now, he finally landed his first Irish recruit just a year after from becoming the junior college’s head coach. Kirby eschewed interest from North Central Missouri College and Missouri Western to chose the Creston, Iowa school. “It is a great feeling I can continue playing with a good school and a good program,” Kirby said. “They had a lot to offer and I felt it was the best for me. It is kind of a shocker I’m playing college basketball, but great things happen for those who wait.” Also moving on his Hughes, who signed to play with Central Methodist in Fayette, Mo. The 6-3 forward scored 2.4 points and grabbed 1.7 rebounds in a reserve role for the Irish this year. A soccer player as well, Hughes had an option of playing either sport at the school, where he will focus on his major music performance. “I pretty much played basketball all my life and without playing basketball, it wouldn’t feel right,” said Hughes, who often had to battle inside the paint with the likes of Jeff Leeson and Kurth in the past due to his height. “It is a pretty good team and I met with the coaches and scrimmaged with the team. There are great players and it is a great environment … the same as here. I think it’ll be a good fit.” Neff gave credit to the duo — who along with Drew Cortez (a football signee at St. Mary) and Chester Goudeau stuck around for four years of basketball. Four years ago, 40 players signed up for freshman basketball and this quartet were the only ones to make it through. “Malik will be the first to tell you his value to our team at Lafayette is his ethic and how hard he works and things he’s done in the four-year process,” Neff said. “He hasn’t won awards in regard to all-state player or all-conference or all-district or St. Joseph News-Press team. He has just been a really important cog in our program and one of the four seniors to make it through.” The Irish won three conference championships and three district championships in the seniors’ tenure at Lafayette. Stewartsville changes At the conclusion of the school year there were plenty of open varsity positions at Stewartsville. The most notable is at the football and track and field coaching positions where Corey Creason resigned after two years at the helm. Creason will become a new assistant coach at Hamilton, under the leadership of new coach Caleb Obert. He will coach the secondary and running backs and wide receivers, while assisting the girls basketball team. A 2005 Smithville graduate, Creason guided the Cardinals to a 7-4 mark this past season and 5-5 in his first season. The last winning season before this past year came in 2008, when Stewartsville went 8-3. Also leaving is Jordan Richman, who was the boys basketball coach this past season. He resigned to take the girls basketball coaching spot open at Hamilton. Creason was Richman’s assistant this past season. Another opening came when Cassandra Winder, who stepped down after one year as the softball coach. Also an assistant track coach, she took a new position at East Buchanan, where she will assist in both sports. Sams to Southwestern North Platte all-stater Chelsi Sams signed to play basketball at Southwestern Community College in Creston, Iowa. Sams is a two-time all-stater — 2014 and 2015 — and received All-KCI honors the past three years. Sams averaged 17 points and 6 rebounds per game this season, which saw her break the 1,000-point barrier during districts. Her junior year, she helped guide the Panthers to the Class 2 quarterfinals. Her freshman season the Panthers went to state and placed fourth. “Chelsi comes from a great program with a winning tradition,” said coach Addae Houston, a former Northwest Missouri State assistant coach. “She scored more than 1,000 points during her high school career. We can’t wait to see her put more points on the board for the Spartans.” Sams joins a roster that features two other Missouri products, including North Nodaway product Cambry Schluter. Extras — Central Methodist soccer player Hunter Ziph (Lafayette) and track and field/cross country runner Gabe Lemmon (Rock Port) were honored for their academic work this past school year by the Fayette, Mo.-school. … North Andrew will have a new athletic director next year in Del Morley. The boys basketball coach will replace Jeff Walker, who resigned after three years on the job to focus on his expanded technology position. … Pattonsburg has its first football signee when Carl Parman signed to play at Peru State. The defensive lineman also played for King City before Pattsonsburg started an 8-man team. … Atchison’s Andrew Adrian received the Troy Hodge Award, a traveling trophy given to the top senior wrestler in the KCAL Conference. He is the third to win in the seven years the trophy has been around. … Maur Hill-Mount Academy’s baseball team clinched the Northeast Kansas League championship and later added a regional championship to the ledger. The Ravens went to the Class 3A tournament and lost 3-0 in the first round to Wichita Independent, which placed third. ——— ©2015 the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.) Visit the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.) at www.newspressnow.com/index.html Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. _____ Topics: t000003277,t000040508,t000003183,t000156678,t000002776,t000049144,t000003199,g000065614,g000362661,g000066164,g000065634
Jun 4, 2015
Ammendola — a kicker from North Penn High School about 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia — will join the Cowboys as a preferred walk-on this summer
Oklahoma State-bound Matt Ammendola plans on being more than just trick-shot specialist for Cowboys
By Kyle Fredrickson, Staff Writer | Jun 4, 2015He calls it the “spin kick” and it’s like something out of a Harlem Globetrotters’ playbook for high school football. The ball rests on its side and is spun backward with one foot, then forward with the other, forcing it to rotate on one point like a high-speed top. With a running start, he launches the free-spinning leather 45 yards through a pair of field goal posts. You can watch Matt Ammendola — a kicker from North Penn High School about 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia — master the spin kick in a Bleacher Report video that’s been viewed more than 25,000 times on its website. “I just like to be creative and mess around with new kicks,” Ammendola said, “blindfolded kicks, kicking into trash cans and all sorts of things.” This fall, you might see that same leg booting kicks for Oklahoma State. Ammendola’s trick-shot video served as an eye-opening announcement that he committed to the Cowboys as a preferred walk-on and will join the program this summer. Although OSU returns junior field goal specialist Ben Grogan next season, its likely Ammendola will immediately compete for the starting role on kickoffs. But before he makes the 1,300-mile trip to Stillwater in July, Ammendola opened up about the football path that led him to the orange and black. A journey that started long before that video was posted. “That’s been my whole life since I was eight, just kicking a football through uprights,” Ammendola said. “I had a good feeling it could take me somewhere far.” Ammendola excelled in a variety of sports growing up, including wrestling and soccer. But his father, Sal, recalled a handful of Pop Warner football games where his son foreshadowed his future. While most teams passed on extra point attempts for two-point conversions, Ammendola’s leg proved more reliable. “In the back of my mind, I knew that if he focused all his attention on kicking, he had the physical ability to do it,” Sal Ammendola said. “The mental aspect is half the battle, and that would be the only question mark.” Expectations were certainly high. Ammendola and his youth team were in the stands at a 2007 North Penn football game when Brandon McManus — now a kickoff specialist for the Denver Broncos — hit a school-record 54-yard field goal. Sal Ammendola remembers the Pop Warner coach turning to his son: “Matt, when you get into high school, you’re going to beat that record.’” Six years later as a junior at North Penn, Ammendola did just that, hitting a 56-yard attempt with three seconds left before halftime on senior night. Later that summer, he attended Ray Guy kicking camp (prokicker.com) and turned in a performance that ranked him as the No. 2 kickoff specialist nationally in the 2015 class. Even then, Ammendola’s recruitment was slow moving. The sample size for his accuracy on in-game field goals was small, because North Penn didn’t kick many. The only substantial scholarship offers he received were from non-FBS schools. So, when OSU special teams coach Robby Discher called with a chance to walk-on for the Cowboys, Ammendola jumped at the opportunity. “He was so focused on kicking at a Division I school that he turned down a lot of money at a Division II school,” said Dick Beck, Ammendola’s high school coach. “I was personally shocked that he decided to walk on. But he’s very focused and wants to kick at the highest level.” Ammendola made his first-ever trip to Oklahoma in March for an unofficial visit to Stillwater. Ever since, he’s set the goal to be remembered as more than just a trick-shot specialist by winning a job with the Cowboys. “Robby told me that Coach (Mike) Gundy’s motto is that if you beat someone out and do well throughout the season, eventually, you’ll be put on scholarship,” Ammendola said. “When I came out to visit, I just knew this was going to be my home for the next four years. I loved everything about it.”
May 30, 2015
Fayette, Iowa, native started as high school baseball, then an assistant softball coach at University of Southwestern Louisiana — now Louisiana-Lafayette — while a graduate student
Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy takes unique path to success
By Jason Kersey, Staff Writer | May 30, 2015Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy led the Crimson Tide to their 10th Women’s College World Series appearance this season, beating Oklahoma in a Super Regional last weekend in Tuscaloosa. Murphy has become one of the most successful head coaches in college softball, but took a unique path to get there. He grew up in Fayette, Iowa, and graduated from Northern Iowa in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in history education. After coaching high school baseball two years in Sumner, Iowa, he enrolled at the University of Southwestern Louisiana — now Louisiana-Lafayette — for graduate school in communications. While there, softball coach Yvette Girouard asked him to also help her team as an assistant coach. He spent one year as interim head coach at Northwest Missouri State in 1995, then joined Alabama as an assistant coach in 1997, the program’s first year of existence. Two years later, Murphy took over as the Crimson Tide’s head coach. In the summer of 2011, he briefly accepted LSU’s head coaching position — replacing Girouard, his old mentor who had retired — but changed his mind and went back to Alabama a few days later. Less than a year after that, he led Alabama to its lone national title by beating Oklahoma in the WCWS championship series. Murphy is very media-friendly and engaging in press conferences. He’s also very active on social media with over 30,000 Twitter followers. I can remember back when I was probably 5-years old, we would go to family reunions at my grandparents’ farm in Dumont, Iowa. My mom has five siblings, and two of her brothers have farms, and they were right in a row. Three gravel roads apart. At grandma’s house, we had a huge front lawn, and after everyone got done eating, invariably we’d go out to the lawn and play softball. Two of my uncles played fastpitch in the Army in the '50s and ‘60s. They all had daughters, and they played fastpitch, so that was naturally the game we played from when I was 5 until I graduated high school. When I got to college, I did work study in sports information at Northern Iowa. I got to work with all these different teams and coaches, and that’s what started the bug. I thought I was gonna be the next Bobby Knight. I was a huge college basketball junkie. In the winter in Iowa on a Saturday, there’s nothing to do if you’re snowed in. I’d watch NBC Sports, Don Criqui and Dick Enberg would do Notre Dame basketball, and I would sit with a frozen, microwave pizza and watch basketball from 1 to 5 p.m. every Saturday, and think I would be the next star at Notre Dame. I’m an Irish, Midwest Catholic, but I didn’t grow too tall so I didn’t get to play basketball and didn’t coach basketball. When I went to grad school in Lafayette, Yvette Girouard, who was the coach at the time, lost her assistant. I’m going in there thinking I’m gonna work in the SID office, and she took me out for pizza and said, "Hey, do you want another duty?" So I was taking classes, working in sports information, doing my thesis, but I thought, "What the hell? Yeah I’ll do it." It was $6,000, no benefits. I didn’t have a car. She let me borrow her dad’s 1974 Ford pickup. You couldn’t open the door from the inside; I had to roll down the window and open the door from the outside. I think having that communication background has really helped me. I still was the SID three years into the assistant job at Lafayette, so I was feeding stuff to the media as an assistant coach, which was really weird. But I could tell you what everybody hit, their ERA, how many walks, everything. I just think I’ve kept up with that a little bit and pay attention to details. They were very good. They had two pitchers who were incredible, and Girouard had worked her butt off for years and years and years, and I was just the beneficiary of being in the right place at the right time. It was such an awesome game and the fans there were incredible. We went to regionals every year. After we made it to the World Series the first time in 1993, I was hooked. It was such a fun game, fast-paced. Lots of strategy. It was too good to pass up. I went to Northwest Missouri as an interim coach for one year. I wanted to be a head coach and I knew some kids on that team who were from Iowa. I only spent one year there because they wanted somebody with a PE master’s who could teach, and I didn’t have that. I’d probably still be there if I’d gotten the job, because I really enjoyed it. I never expected to be at Alabama this long. I mean, I had an apartment for 12 years. I was stupid for wasting all that money. I thought, it’d be three or four years and then I’d go back to the Midwest. I never, ever dreamed that I’d be in the football capital of the United States and that softball would be so accepted. They love it, so it’s hard to leave. In our hallway in the Coleman Coliseum, the guy next to me is Mic Potter. He won a women’s golf national championship. The guy next to him is Jay Seawell, he won the men’s golf back-to-back. Down the hall was Sarah Patterson, who won six national championships in gymnastics. So you had 10 national titles in one hallway, and football was across the street. I think everybody in the hallway secretly competed against each other, but we tried to keep up with each other. I think it’s that way with every sport now. We’ve improved in so many sports since I’ve been there. It’s unbelievable, but you can’t not use that tradition to your benefit. My biggest professional challenge was probably the very first year as head coach at Alabama. I was the assistant for two years, and everybody loves the assistant. I remember playing in a tournament at Arizona State, and my star player was Kelly Kretschman, who became an Olympic gold medalist. I recruited her daily. I was a good friend to her. Now I’m the head coach, and I’m not a friend. She was at third base in a game against New Mexico, and it was 0-0. She took a big lead, and I said, "Do not get picked off. We’re not scoring many runs today." The next pitch, she got picked off. I looked at her and said, "On the bench." As soon as I did it, I thought, "Oh my God. I hope she comes back. I hope she doesn’t quit." I look up in the stands, and her mom and dad get up to leave. I thought, "Oh my God. The best player I’ve ever had is gonna quit." It turned out, they had to catch a flight. They were upset with the kid and fine with me. It was a lesson she needed to be taught. Right then and there, I learned the biggest lesson between being an assistant and a head coach. You have to make some decisions that aren’t gonna be very favorable with some people, but that’s part of the job. I’ve tried to keep that in mind with every decision I’ve made ever since. The thing that helped us out the most was getting our stadium. We played at a city park for three years, and then in 2000, they finally started to break ground. That was the biggest key to the program, because then you could take a recruit. It was basically modeled off of Hall of Fame Stadium. I don’t know what I really expected, but I knew with that passionate fan base, you could do something good. There are too many rabid fans. You could win in bowling, and they would come to watch. We won a conference title one year, and got our rings at halftime of a football game. At the time, Bryant-Denny seated about 90,000. I thought to myself right then, “If I can’t get 2,000 of these rabid fans to come to our games — a great, fun sport to watch — they need to get rid of me.” That was the year we really pushed to sell season tickets. We sold almost 2,200 season tickets this year. We try to go where the girls are from at least once in their career, so we’ve played in Maryland, Miami, Houston, all over the country, really. And almost every time, we have more fans than the home team. It’s a lot of fun to see. There’s a lot of red and white, but it makes for a better atmosphere, and the home team loves it because they’ve got a sellout crowd. The fans follow us a lot. I could tell you what every former player is doing, whether they’re married, if they have kids, what their husbands name is, just everything, because I’ve been here from Day One. I used to joke that I was the Tom Landry of college softball, but that’s the neat part. I have everybody’s email address, everybody’s address. When we have alumni functions, it is a lot of fun because about 80 percent of the kids come back and it’s like one big family. We’d just come back from the 2011 World Series, and we had lost Sunday night. It was a rough game. Got off the plane, got a phone call from LSU. When you’re down in the dumps and all of a sudden, somebody says, ‘You’re the one we want.’ Wow. Then the whole week was a roller coaster. You go over there and feel the love, and then you don’t get the right feeling. It just didn’t feel right. It was nothing against the people or the program, because obviously they’re doing really well right now. It was probably a rushed decision. I would probably tell everybody in the same situation to take your time and really, really look it over. Alabama is kind of like the top dog to me. There’s not a bigger stadium. The winning tradition is there. The kids are still coming. The fans are awesome. The administration is great. There’s not much more that you could want. This year, our theme was grit. We started on August 25 at the very first team meeting. I watch a lot of TED talks and read a lot of books, and grit is the number one factor in predicting success later on in life. Not IQ, not a bunch of other things. It’s the ability to bounce back after failure. That’s what softball does to a kid. Softball, baseball, any sport where you lose, are you gonna bounce back or are you gonna pout for a month or two? That’s teaching you the most incredible life lesson of all. All of these girls know what it means to have grit now. So when they get that job, maybe they don’t get the boss that they like or maybe they get fired, or maybe they can’t stand their job, but they’re gonna be the one who is able to keep pushing forward and making things better.
In his seven terms, state Rep. Wayne Smith had never presented a bill to the House’s Public Education Committee — until March 24.“This one has cause,” Smith, R-Baytown, said at the time.His legislation — House Bill 767 — would make Texas the first state in the nation to require a heart screen known as an electrocardiogram before competing in high school athletics.“The bottom line is, if we save...
The Dallas Morning News Corbett Smith column
Corbett Smith, Associated Press | May 9, 2015In his seven terms, state Rep. Wayne Smith had never presented a bill to the House’s Public Education Committee — until March 24. “This one has cause,” Smith, R-Baytown, said at the time. His legislation — House Bill 767 — would make Texas the first state in the nation to require a heart screen known as an electrocardiogram before competing in high school athletics. “The bottom line is, if we save even one kid’s life, this is worth it,” Smith told the committee. Yet, the widely held consensus among doctors’ advocacy groups in America, such as the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, is that mandated ECG screening is unwarranted. The bill, which passed the House and is now pending in the Senate’s Education Committee, is an illustration of what happens when passionate advocacy, public policy and science collide. Smith’s bill would require an electrocardiogram (also known an EKG) be included as part of two physical exams, during the first and third years of a student’s participation in a University Interscholastic League high school athletic activity. The measure, which passed the House, 86-57, would allow for a parent or guardian to obtain a waiver through a written request. An ECG is a non-invasive test that measures the time and volume of electrical activity through the heart by placing electrodes on a patient’s chest and limbs. It can be administered by someone with little to no medical training, with results going to a cardiologist or pediatric cardiologist for evaluation. The bill’s proponents say the test is affordable, readily available and could save lives. Several nonprofit groups throughout the state, such as the Plano-based Living 4 Zachary, help sponsor heart screens for school districts and parents for as little as $15 per student, with other groups offering grants to cover the expense. A few school districts, such as Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, a suburb northwest of Houston, require the test as part of the physical exam. Cy-Fair athletic director Ed Warken said that the district has “elected not to pass the cost of the test to the parents” and that the district recently purchased new ECG machines for its 10 high school campuses at a cost of around $50,000. Driving force The bill’s driving force, Scott Stephens, originally tried to work with the UIL to increase the availability of ECG screening statewide on an opt-in basis. Stephens’ son, Cody, died in his sleep in May 2012 of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM, a thickening of the heart muscle that is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in athletes. A 6-9, 289-pound offensive tackle at Crosby, Cody had signed to play football with Tarleton State. While Stephens successfully lobbied the UIL to include a “Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Form” in its pre-participation packet two years ago, the league’s medical advisory committee went no further, basing its decision on the existing medical literature, which questioned the efficacy of the ECG as a screening tool. Instead, the UIL relies on a portion of its current physical that is based on the American Heart Association’s 14-point screening process. For example, the physical has questions asking athletes whether they’ve passed out during or after exercise, experienced chest pain, or had a family member die unexpectedly before the age of 50. Some question the efficacy of relying solely on a history and physical exam, however. Jonathan Drezner, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington and one of the nation’s leading proponents of ECG testing on student-athletes, told The Dallas Morning News in 2013 that a basic physical examination is “very insensitive” because “most of the conditions that cause this tragedy don’t have any warning symptoms.” Relying on the physical alone was not good enough for Stephens. "The UIL told me that without their Medical Advisory Committee agreeing to it, their hands were tied,” Stephens said in April, after the House passed HB 767 named “Cody’s Bill,” in honor of his son. “The only way I could get this thing done was to get a law passed.” According to Stephens, his organization — the Cody Stephens Go Big or Go Home Memorial Foundation — performed ECGs on 15,000 athletes last year and found 15 who needed heart surgery. Two were told to quit contact sports altogether. “We found 17 kids out of 15,000,” Stephens said. “If there’s a million kids in the state of Texas getting a physical, that tells me — just by the math — that there's 1,000 kids out there that are possible candidates for sudden cardiac arrest.” Many shades of gray Critics, however, view the ECG as an imperfect, hard to interpret test, with Texas currently lacking the infrastructure to interpret the results and deal with the glut of potential patients. Potentially thousands of healthy athletes could be forced to sit on the sidelines while waiting for expensive follow-up exams. Those showing signs of disease via an ECG — but not any symptoms — could receive overly aggressive treatments, or be inappropriately pulled from athletic participation. “At the end of the day, unfortunately, the ECG is not a perfect test,” said Benjamin Levine, the director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine and a professor of medicine and cardiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “It’s not a pregnancy test; it’s not positive or negative. There are many, many shades of gray.” An ECG is used to screen for electric diseases of the heart — such as Long QT syndrome, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome and Brugada syndrome — and can catch some incidence of HCM as well. But its accuracy in identifying HCM is spotty; Levine said that almost a third of ECGs of patients with known HCM are incorrectly identified with the test. Cody Stephens had two ECGs before his death, in seventh and ninth grades; neither indicated heart problems. Furthermore, the second-leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes — coronary anomalies, which account for approximately 17 percent of deaths — is undetectable with an ECG. Levine, speaking as a cardiologist and not as an official representative of UT Southwestern, said that the U.S. rates of sudden death in athletes are similar to those in Italy and Israel, two countries that have mandated ECG screening. The incidences of sudden death in athletes are rare; a national registry of sudden death in athletes from 1980 to 2006 compiled by Barry Maron, the head of the Minneapolis Heart Institute, found 1,049 deaths as a result of cardiovascular diseases in 13- to 25-year-old competitive athletes. False positive concerns Additionally, an ECG also has a false positive rate ranging anywhere from 3 to 10 percent, meaning that of 100,000 students tested, as many as 10,000 could show abnormal ECGs where no disease is present. According to a 2013-14 survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations, Texas had the largest number of high school students participating in athletics in the nation: 805,299. Assuming a modest false positive rate of 5 percent, 20,000 healthy students would be pulled from athletic competition until follow-up tests occurred. Silvana Molossi is the co-chair of the Sports and Exercise Council for the American College of Cardiology and the medical director of the Coronary Anomalies Program at Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital. She said the availability and speed in which subsequent tests would occur could be drastically different from area to area, depending on the number of cardiologists in a given regions. The number of false positives would also vary from region and city, she said, depending on the experience a cardiologist had with reading a child’s ECGs. “Without taking a pause to understand what the real implications would be in this state, I probably don’t think it’s the best way to proceed,” Molossi said. The American College of Cardiology’s Texas chapter estimated that there were only 175 pediatric cardiologists statewide. For those who show an abnormal ECG, the cost of a “cascade of work-up” would fall solely on families, said Levine, including those who either don’t have insurance or couldn’t afford the deductibles. The bill in its current form does not include any funding. “Many people who have no disease will have an abnormal EKG, and what that means is that all those people would be held out of sports, and then they would have to go through a very comprehensive examination with a cardiologist, including perhaps an echocardiogram, an MRI, exercise testing — all unfunded,” said. “And that’s one of the big problems with this particular bill. It’s an unfunded mandate, where the entire burden of this work-up falls on the poorest parents and kids in Texas.” The Texas Medical Association estimated in 2011-12 that nearly 1.2 million children in Texas were uninsured, 16 percent of the child population. For families paying out of pocket, follow-up tests could run from a few hundred dollars to $15,000, Levine said. Limited knowledge For asymptomatic patients, those whose ECGs indicate signs of disease but whose personal histories don’t show any other flags of sudden cardiac death, there is a lack of understanding on how to proceed, Levine added. “Even if we pick up a disease in a truly asymptomatic person, we don’t know what to do with it,” Levine said. “We have to accept the limitations of our medical knowledge. Most of what we know what to do with patients with disease come from centers who study patients who are sick or have a medical problem.” Levine drew up a hypothetical: An athlete has HCM, but only a modest amount of heart thickness, and no other signs, including no family history of sudden death. “What do I do with that patient?” Levine said. “I have no idea. I can keep them out of sports, but people like Cody Stephens, he died in his sleep. It’s not going to help him, keeping him out of sports. “It’s true that sometimes intense athletic competition will precipitate an arrhythmia in someone with HCM, but how about running for a bus? How about having sexual relations? How about playing pick-up basketball? We don’t tell kids with HCM to sit around on a chair and don’t do anything. There is no therapy that protects against sudden death, except the defibrillator.” Lisa Salberg, the founder and CEO of the New Jersey-based Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association, said she understood the desire for action for those who lost a loved one. Salberg, an HCM patient with a defibrillator, started her organization not long after her sister died of sudden cardiac arrest in 1995, the fourth member of her immediate family to die from a sudden cardiac event. Nevertheless, Salberg and her organization are against mandated ECGs. She and Levine were members of a group that authored a joint statement from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, stating that mandatory mass ECG screening in large, healthy populations from 12 to 25 years of age was “not recommended for athletes and nonathletes alike.” “It’s understandable that when you lose someone, you want to have control over the controllable,” Salberg said. “There’s so much passion, but so much of it is based on wishes, and not fact. There’s not a simple answer. I wish there was. These diseases are very complex; there’s not a simple solution, and identification doesn’t mean you won.” There is debate, however, within the field. After a panel discussion on cardiac screening of young athletes at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in 2013, held in Dallas, a straw poll of the audience found 60 percent in favor of including ECGs in screening programs. A similar online poll by the New England Journal of Medicine found 58 percent of respondents in favor of screening with a history, physical and ECG, although only 45 percent of U.S.-based voters were in favor of the measure. When asked by The Dallas Morning News about his thoughts on the pending legislation in Texas, Drezner demurred. However, Drezner, Levine and Philadelphia cardiologist Victoria Vetter co-authored an article for the Heart Rhythm Society in 2013 in an attempt to find consensus between the two camps. At that time, the trio came to the conclusion that “mandated ECG screening for athletes is not supported” at the current time and that focus on legislative efforts to establish such programs would “divert our attention from issues that can assist physicians.” The future It’s unclear whether the ECG bill will even make it out of the Senate’s Education Committee. As the Legislature enters its final weeks, tensions often run high between the House and the Senate as the two hash out differences in their proposed budgets and other high-stakes legislation. Anything can happen to a bill. “During this time, sometimes people evaluate bills not based on the horse but the jockey,” said Rep. Harold Dutton Jr., D-Houston. A member of the House Public Education Committee, Dutton was one of the strongest advocates of HB 727 during testimony. He hasn’t heard of any opposition to the bill on the Senate side and doesn't anticipate any trouble getting it passed there. “I think it's going to be all right,” Dutton said. “I hope it gets out. I don’t know that it’s one of those things that hurts anything, and the only possibilities it has is that it helps. So why would anyone be against that?” Levine said that instead of ECG legislation, he wants a renewed effort getting students and families to give honest and accurate answers on the pre-participation physical and family history, perhaps using a novel approach through social media to achieve those goals. The lowest recorded rates of sudden death in young athletes were found in a Minnesota study, Levine pointed out, a state with a stringent patient history and physical exam. Similarly, Salberg’s organization is focused on supporting “comprehensive, sustainable and reasonable” solutions outside of a mandated ECG. Thanks in part to Salberg’s efforts, on May 5, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a bill requiring the inclusion of the 14-point AHA cardiac screening process into every well-child exam for children between the ages of 1 to 19. “When you’re looking to find these problems, you’re looking for a needle in a haystack,” she said. “And there are needles out there, to be sure. But you shouldn’t be building new haystacks. And that’s what [HB 767] would do. Use the health care system that we have, enforce the systems that we have, because that’s where you’re going to see real changes in health care and find meaningful improvement.” Staff writer Eva-Marie Ayala contributed to this report. On Twitter: @corbettsmithDMN ——— ©2015 The Dallas Morning News Visit The Dallas Morning News at www.dallasnews.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. _____ Topics: t000026911,t000003087,t000003088,t000037113,t000040421,t000139548,t000050642,t000002776,t000027855,t000003142,t000047896,t000002827,t000003813,t000412858,t000002865,t000003183,t000200842,t000198908,t000201397,g000362661,g000065562,g000066164,g000065627
May 6, 2015
The duo met up last month after McCleskey’s father, J.J., learned about Stewart’s big-time production for the Cowboys out of the slot.
Oklahoma State football: 2015 receiver Jalen McCleskey taking notes from former Cowboy Josh Stewart
By Kyle Fredrickson, Staff Writer | May 6, 2015They only met once, but Josh Stewart says Jalen McCleskey is like “a little brother.” Stewart is the former Oklahoma State wideout who ranks inside the top 10 all-time in program history for receptions (161), receiving yards (2,204) and touchdown catches (12). McCleskey is the lone wideout in OSU’s 2015 signing class from Covington, La., who tallied more than 1,300 yards receiving over his past two high school seasons and will join the Cowboys next month for summer conditioning. Both are Louisiana natives. Both stand 5-foot-10. And both have a reputation for making defensive backs look silly. “We clicked instantly,” Stewart said. “They say I play like him,” McCleskey added. The duo met up last month after McCleskey’s father, J.J., learned about Stewart’s big-time production for the Cowboys out of the slot. He sought out Stewart’s phone number — and the former Cowboy was happy to take the call. J.J. McCleskey played eight seasons as a wide receiver and cornerback in the NFL between the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals. He currently trains high school athletes back in Louisiana. Stewart sent J.J. McCleskey his playing tape for a critique, and soon after, father and son headed to Texas to meet up. “We wanted to get more pointers on what his mindset was on certain things when he was in the slot, that was very beneficial for us,” J.J. McCleskey said. “Josh is very crafty. My son is a route runner and he’s fast.” As McCleskey heads into his first season at OSU, he’s taken an aggressive approach to soaking in any knowledge that might give him a step up in Stillwater. Even with the departure of slot receivers Blake Webb and Ra’Shaad Samples, the Cowboys return nine wideouts who caught at least one pass last season. McCleskey enters the mix as undoubtedly one of the youngest players on the entire roster, as he won’t turn 18 until August. “I think it’s kind of a disadvantage,” McCleskey said. “But I’ve been the youngest in my grade throughout my whole life, so I feel like I’m used to it.” A redshirt season is likely ahead, but there’s no questioning McCleskey’s future potential. He’s clocked a sub-4.4 second 40-yard dash to go along with a 40-inch vertical jump and a broad jump of more than 10.6 feet. At St. Paul’s School, McCleskey caught 43 passes in 2013 and 46 in 2014. Both marks rank inside the top five all-time in program history. Even then, recruiting sites listed McCleskey as just a three-star recruit. Tulane, South Florida and Air Force were among the bigger-name programs to also offer scholarships. “Oklahoma State did a great job of recruiting him and overlooking the fact that he’s only a three-star, didn’t go to all these openings and stuff,” J.J. McCleskey said. “Jalen came to camp and earned his scholarship at camp.” J.J. McCleskey added that OSU assistant Eric Henderson played a key role in the recruiting process — as did receivers coach Kasey Dunn, strength coach Rob Glass and offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. Their leadership and coaching style makes J.J. McCleskey comfortable in sending his son more than 700 miles northwest to play college ball. In the coming weeks, McCleskey and Stewart plan to meet up and run drills. That’s got to make OSU coach Mike Gundy happy, as he compared the two shortly after signing day. “We’re hoping that (McCleskey) has the same side-to-side and make-you-miss movement that Josh has, but much faster straightaway,” Gundy said. “He can really roll.”
MSSU basketball teams add Division I transfersThe Joplin Globe, Mo.Both Missouri Southern basketball teams have signed a Division I transfer, it was announced Tuesday.The men added Vince Fritz, a 6-foot-2 guard who saw limited action at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. He scored five points while playing a total of 28 minutes over five games."Vince is a ked we recruited out of...
MSSU basketball teams add Division I transfers
The Joplin Globe, Mo. (TNS), Associated Press | Apr 29, 2015MSSU basketball teams add Division I transfers The Joplin Globe, Mo. Both Missouri Southern basketball teams have signed a Division I transfer, it was announced Tuesday. The men added Vince Fritz, a 6-foot-2 guard who saw limited action at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. He scored five points while playing a total of 28 minutes over five games. "Vince is a ked we recruited out of high school," Lions coach Jeff Boschee said in a release. "He will give us some toughness on both ends of the floor along with an ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter. We are extremely excited to add him to our family." Fritz, a native of Overland Park, was a four-year letterman and two-time first team all-Eastern Kansas League selection at Blue Valley Northwest. He also earned all-state honors twice and finished as the third leading scorer in school history. Coached by his father, Ed Fritz, Vince helped Blue Valley Northwest win two state championships, including a 25-0 mark as a junior when Northwest was ranked No. 19 nationally by USA Today Fritz also played football and earned all-league honors at defensive back and punter. He comes from a basketball family. His dad played at Baker, and his mother, Ann, played at Nebraska and is the girls basketball coach at Blue Valley Northwest. His grandfather, Vince Costello, played in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns (1956-66) and New York Giants (1967-68) and is a member of the Browns Hall of Fame. After his playing career, he was an assistant coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs, serving as the Chiefs' defensive coordinator in 1975-76 until retiring. The Lions' women's team landed BriAnna (Bri) Shavers, a 6-0 post player from the University of New Orleans. "Bri is going to be a tremendous addition to our post corps," MSSU coach Ronda Hubbard said in a release. "We have a young group in the power forward and center positions and look forward to watching them all grow together over the next few years. Bri will bring strength and versatility to our team that will be needed right away. Her experience at the D-1 level will be beneficial to her transition into the ever so tough MIAA." Shavers, from Carrollton, Texas, sat out the 2013-14 season at New Orleans with an injury. Last season she played in 22 games and averaged 1.4 points and 1.5 rebounds in six minutes per game. As a senior at Creekview High School, Shavers, the daughter of Anna McNeace, averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds and was named second team all-state. "Bri has a strong, athletic body," Hubbard said, "and we expect her to make an immediate impact to our rebounding and back to the basket game while also being able to face up with her mid-range game. We are ecstatic to welcome Bri to our Lion family." ——— ©2015 The Joplin Globe (Joplin, Mo.) Visit The Joplin Globe (Joplin, Mo.) at www.joplinglobe.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Apr 24, 2015
Dixon signed her National Letter of Intent at Northwest Classen on Friday with Brown Mackie College in Salina, Kan., to play basketball, adding another positive step in her journey from homelessness.
High school notebook: Northwest Classen's Tyritta Dixon signs with Brown Mackie
By Jacob Unruh and Scott Wright | Apr 24, 2015The journey of Tyritta Dixon will continue at the collegiate level. Dixon signed her National Letter of Intent at Northwest Classen on Friday with Brown Mackie College in Salina, Kan., to play basketball, adding another positive step in her journey from homelessness. “I feel like this is just another step of me becoming a great person and me becoming great like I want to,” Dixon said. Dixon’s journey was documented in Sports Illustrated last fall and in The Oklahoman in February. She became homeless her eighth grade year when she left her mother’s home and later had a baby, Ta’Niya, after a family acquaintance raped her. Since then, things have started looking up for her. She moved in with her father before this school year and now she has a chance to go further. “It makes everything worth it and it makes me so proud that she overcame so much and finally has the confidence to take this next step, even though there’s been so many doubters,” said Jackee Brown, who coached Dixon the past three seasons at Northwest but was recently informed she would not return next season as coach. Dixon averaged 11.9 points as a senior. She had a chance to sign with Neosho County Community College in Missouri, but hesitated too long. Instead, Neosho coach JJ Davis led Brown Mackie to Dixon. “To me, it’s strange but he said he would have my back and he said he would put me in the best place possible to be successful and he did,” Dixon said. “I really appreciate Coach Davis for doing that.” ALL SPORTS ASSOCIATION NAMES SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS Guthrie’s Beau Davis and Deer Creek’s Abbey Renner have been named the winners of the Oklahoma City All Sports Association’s $1,000 college scholarship awards, the organization announced Friday. Davis, a football and baseball player for the Bluejays, is involved in student council and part of the National Honor Society. Renner plays basketball, serves as a class officer and is involved with the Business Professionals of America and NHS. Selection for the awards was based on achievement consistent with the mission of the All Sports Association, including leadership, athletic participation, civic activities and academics. Applications for the 2016 scholarships will be released in January for students in the greater Oklahoma City metro area. To qualify, student-athletes must be attending a two- or four-year Oklahoma college or university, have a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher and a minimum ACT score of 22. They must also have participated in high school athletics, but cannot be receiving an athletic scholarship, or be participating as a walk-on athlete. For more information about the scholarship program, visit www.okcallsports.org. TUTTLE TRIO HEADED TO SOUTHWESTERN CHRISITAN Southwestern Christian University in Bethany has signed three track and field athletes from Tuttle: Logan Laird, Andrew DeWitt and Colton Owens. OKLAHOMA BIG 10 CONFERENCE HONORS BASKETBALL PLAYERS Putnam City West senior Tyson Jolly and Choctaw sophomore Ana Llanusa were recently recognized as the top players in the Oklahoma Big 10 Conference. Jolly, who has signed with Cal, was named the conference’s Boys MVP, and Lawton Eisenhower’s Bruce Harrington was named Coach of the Year. On the girls side, Oklahoma commit Llanusa was the MVP, and PC West coach Carlos Adamson was the Coach of the Year. Here’s the full list of all-conference honorees: Boys Conference champion: Putnam City West Coach of the Year: Bruce Harrington, Lawton Eisenhower MVP: Tyson Jolly, PC West Offensive Player of the Year: Jamey Woods, Lawton Eisenhower Defensive Player of the Year: Will Lienhard, McGuinness Newcomer of the Year: Jalen Redmond, Midwest City First team: Jamey Woods, Lawton Eisenhower; Will Lienhard, McGuinness; Marquis Johnson, PC West; Drake Perry, PC North; Jourdin Anderson, Midwest City. Second team: Jalen Redmond, Midwest City; Grason Wright, Putnam City; Micah Speight, PC North; Douglas Moore, Lawton Eisenhower; Dakari Moss, Lawton. Third team: Breiman Alexander, Del City; Darius Roy, Lawton Eisenhower; Stuart Krous, McGuinness; Dedrian Parmer, PC West; Tre Evans, PC West. Honorable mention Choctaw: Lonell Burris; Enid: Braden Rogers; Lawton Eisenhower: Bentley Bross, R.J. Fisher; Midwest City: Johntae Upchurch, Brendan Brown; Putnam City: Braden Hudson, Chris Pogi, Kelvin Dickerson. Girls Conference champion: Midwest City MVP: Ana Llanusa, Choctaw Coach of the Year: Carlos Adamson, Putnam City West Offensive Player of the Year: Crystal Polk, Lawton Eisenhower Defensive Player of the Year: Chinna Fair, Midwest City Newcomer of the Year: Areanna Combs, Putnam City West First team: Asia Davis, Midwest City; Nakylia Carter, PC North; Zahria White, Choctaw; Gabrielle Johnson, PC West; Torie Shambour, McGuinness; Ana Llanusa, Choctaw. Second team: Asia Cowen, PC West; Carrington Small, Putnam City; Nashyla Hammons, Putnam City; Haven Bay, Enid; Ireon Smith, Midwest City. Third team: London Archer, PC North; Ossyana Ozoani, Putnam City; Bailey Golden, Choctaw; Chelsey Olds, Midwest City; Maci Hanson, Choctaw. Honorable mention McGuinness: Hattie Mzuya, Ashli Brown, Kaylee Martin; Midwest City: Brooklyn Reeves; PC North: Ella Gills; Putnam City: Kelzie Orr; Choctaw: Allysa Sievert, Jessica Fairley; Lawton: Bailee Cox, Haley Eaves; Lawton Eisenhower: Sydney Ellis; Del City: Breail Goodlow; PC West: Carman Green, Tionna Gillispie.
A few National Football League players with MIAA connections have seen their name pop up in the transaction wires, while others will be impacted by moves made this offseason.The only MIAA player to change teams since free agency started is Cary Williams, who signed a three-year, $18M deal with the Seattle Seahawks. He played with the Eagles the past two years but was part of an offseason...
MIAA notebook: NFL offseason moves have connections to the MIAA
Cody Thorn, Associated Press | Apr 19, 2015A few National Football League players with MIAA connections have seen their name pop up in the transaction wires, while others will be impacted by moves made this offseason. The only MIAA player to change teams since free agency started is Cary Williams, who signed a three-year, $18M deal with the Seattle Seahawks. He played with the Eagles the past two years but was part of an offseason shakeup by Chip Kelly. The reigning NFC champions will be the fourth team for the Washburn product that entered the league as a Tennessee draft pick in 2008. He has also played for the Ravens. Former Nebraska-Omaha quarterback Zach Miller has re-signed with the Chicago Bears. The 2009 draft pick hasn't played in an NFL game since 2011 but showed flashes of his talent with the Bears last year by catching six passes and two touchdowns in the preseason opener, but suffered a torn ligament that ended his season and landed him on the injured reserve. Miller, an option quarterback at the now-defunct Mavericks program, played for Jacksonville between 2009 and 2011, hauling in 45 catches for 470 yards and four touchdowns. In the years since a shoulder injury, a torn Achilles tendon, torn calf muscle ended his Jacksonville tenure and a concussion ended his 2013 season with Tampa Bay and led to an eventual release. Miller's signing gives three NFL teams two MIAA players on the roster. The Bears have Miller and David Bass (Missouri Western); Cleveland has Pierre Desir (Lindenwood) and Michael Bowie (Northeastern State) and the Rams have Mason Brodine (Nebraska-Kearney) and Greg Zuerlein (Western). A pair of defensive stalwarts were impacted by other moves. Baltimore traded Haloti Ngata to Detroit, opening up a spot for Missouri Southern's Brandon Williams to become a starter on the Ravens' defensive line. The Sacramento Bee reported in early March that San Francisco had shopped Washburn product Michael Wilhoite, but since then the linebacker has seen teammates Patrick Willis and Chris Borland retire, which essentially pulled him from the trading block. MIAA coaching additions New Missouri Southern football coach Denver Johnson has hired his coordinators, including one very familiar with the MIAA. The Lions' new defensive coordinator is Kenny Evans, who spent six years as the head coach at Northeastern State. He posted back-to-back winning seasons in 2010 and 2011, while winning the Lone Star North Conference and earning a bowl bid. However, the school struggled with the move to the MIAA and Evans was let go following the 2013 season. This past season Evans coached East Central High School in Tulsa. He returns to Joplin, where he served as an assistant coach on the staff from 1989-1997. He has also had stints as an assistant coach at Southeastern Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Florida, Louisiana Tech and North Texas. Southern's new offensive coordinator is Corey Fipps, who coached at Bellhaven last year, which ran a similar high-octane passing attack that new coach Johnson ran at Tulsa. Fipps' offense at Bellhaven passed for 337 yards per game, while his passing attack at NAIA Montana Tech finished 15th in the country in 2013. Two MIAA men's basketball coaches quit on same day In the leaving department, Southern, Southwest Baptist, Central Oklahoma and Lindenwood all have openings. The MIAA lost a pair of men's basketball coaches on Friday, just hours apart. In the early morning hours, Central Oklahoma announced the resignation of Terry Evans, who stepped down after 13 years of guiding the Bronchos program. Evans went 263-124 and led Central Oklahoma to the playoffs seven times, including a pair of Elite Eight trips. He had eight 20-win seasons and set the school record with a 30-4 mark in 2010-11. Evans, a former Oklahoma basketball player, leaves UCO as the school's winningest coach. The school's press release said he is pursuing other coaching opportunities. Lindenwood issued a press release late in the afternoon announcing the resignation of men's basketball coach Brad Soderberg, who accepted an assistant job at Division I Virginia. In six years at the St. Charles school, Soderberg racked 127 years and leaves as the Lions' all-time winningest coach, as well as the school's highest winning percentage at .690. Soderberg racked up 47 wins in MIAA play. Prior to Lindenwood, he has served as the head coach at South Dakota State, Loras, St. Louis and as an interim coach at Wiconsin – where he worked with current Virginia coach Tony Bennett. Nick Bradford, a two-year assistant basketball coach at Southern, resigned to pursue other professional goals according to the school's press release. He played collegiately at Kansas before a professional basketball career that spanned eight years. Baptist is looking for a new women's soccer coach following Rob Podeyn's resignation. The Bearcats had advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament the past two years, while winning the MIAA postseason tournament in 2013. Podeyn coached at the Bolivar, Mo.-school for the past six years. Fast Football If you've caught yourself flipping through the TV lately you may have stumbled across an Arena Football League game on ESPN. This year, there are four MIAA football players in the league, including two on the Orlando Predators. Lincoln's O'Hara Fluellen was recently named the team's defensive player of the game for the Predators after a win against Jacksonville. He is in his second year in the league and is two years removed from being a first-team All-MIAA defensive back. A newcomer to Orlando this year is Central Missouri's Paul Stephens. A four-year veteran in the leauge, the former All-MIAA pick has snared 18 interceptions in three years playing with Spokane before moving over to Orlando in the offseason. He graduated from Central Missouri in 2010. Another Central Missouri product is Jamar Howard, a wide receiver for the Portland Thunder. The ex-NFLer has 34 catches for 447 yards and 9 touchdowns on the young season. A newcomer to the league is former Northwest Missouri State kicker Tommy Frevert. He connected on 263 PATs and 41 field goals in his career as a Bearcat and has kicked in various leagues since leaving Maryville in 2008. He played recently in the CPIFL for the Kansas City Renegades in 2013 and the Oklahoma Defenders last year, but impressed the Philadelphia Soul in an open tryout. When starter Carlos Martinez was injured in the season opener, Frevert signed and has made 15 PATs for a team co-owned by ESPN announcer Ron Jaworski. Hall is calling The NJCAA announced its 2015 Hall of Fame baseball class and one of the inductees has roots in the MIAA. Southwestern (Iowa) baseball coach Bill Krejci was one of the four selections. A Chicago native, Krejci played baseball at Northwest Missouri State from 1971-73 and in 1996 was inducted in the school's M-Club Hall of Fame. He racked up a 558-495 records in 22 years coaching the school in Creston, Iowa. After stepping down from that baseball position, he served as the athletic director until 2014. He has also been involved working with USA Baseball for more than two decades. Extras: Central Missouri basketball player Brennan Hughes played in the Division II All-Star game held last month during the Division II Elite Eight in Evansville, Ind. … Nebraska-Kearney softball coach Holly Carnes earned her 300th career win on April 14, when the Lopers swept Hastings. … Former Emporia State basketball player Spencer Allen has started working as the assistant director of athletic development at his alma mater. His new position is to build support for athletic fund-raising as the school works towards a goal of $45.3M. … Mississippi State women's basketball team went 27-7 this year and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. One of the Bulldogs' assistant is Elena Novato, who played and earned MIAA newcomer of the year at Missouri Southern. She served as a graduate assistant at Pittsburg State before an stint as an assistant at Houston that led to her posting a 113-8 record with a pair of NJCAA titles at Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College. This was her first year at the SEC school. ——— ©2015 the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.) Visit the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.) at www.newspressnow.com/index.html Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC _____ Topics: t000046469,t000003194,t000003183,t000007067,t000003277,t000040506,t000404471,t000007233,t000007237,t000007060,t000007249,t000007075,t000007239,t000007065,t000007099,t000007131,t000007085,t000007089,t000165503,t000007151,g000065614,g000362661,g000066164,g000065603,g000065577,g000065634,g000220102,g000065625,g000065598
Apr 17, 2015
Taft Stadium, built in 1934 under the Works Progress Administration, has hosted a multitude of events ranging from stock car racing to All-State football games. Taft hosted professional soccer, too. The Oklahoma City Slickers played there in the 1980s.
Oklahoma City Energy FC: Taft Stadium is ready for Energy's home opener
By Chris Brannick | Apr 17, 2015After more than two years of sitting empty, and more than $12 million in renovations, Taft Stadium is opening its gates once again. The historic stadium, with its 81-year-old rock wall still looming over May Avenue in northwest Oklahoma City, will open its gates at 5:30 p.m. Saturday for the Oklahoma City Energy Football Club’s first home contest of the season, against the Seattle Sounders FC 2. Taft Stadium, built in 1934 under the Works Progress Administration, has hosted a multitude of events ranging from stock car racing to All-State football games. Taft hosted professional soccer, too. The Oklahoma City Slickers played there in the 1980s. And so professional soccer returns with the United Soccer League’s Energy FC. When asked what it means to finally be ready to play a game at Taft, Energy FC general manager Jason Hawkins said, “It means we’re home.” Taft Stadium sits just a mile east of Interstate 44. If you’re stopped at a red light on May Avenue and NW 23, you can’t miss that giant rock wall. The road to Saturday’s home opener hasn’t been easy. Taft Stadium was in dire need of renovations well before 2013. The Oklahoma City Public Schools decided to flatten and rebuild the venue. Using funds from a bond issue passed in 2007 as well as other public school funds, Taft has been under construction since 2013. Later that year, in an Oklahoma City courtroom, Prodigal, LLC., the company operating Energy FC faced off against Sold Out Strategies to determine who would get the rights to put a professional soccer team in Taft Stadium. Tim McLaughlin, who was with Sold Out Strategies at the time, was awarded the lease. But less than a year later, as Energy FC began preparations to play its inaugural season at Pribil Stadium at Bishop McGuinness High School in Oklahoma City, McLaughlin, with his Taft Stadium lease in tow, joined forces with Prodigal giving Energy FC a new place to call home. The Energy played its first season at Pribil Stadium and sold out eight of the 14 contests while renovations continued at Taft. Work is nearing completion, but the press box isn’t finished and there are some unresolved cosmetic issues. Still, it’s time to play the games. “The most exciting part,” Hawkins said of re-opening Taft Stadium, “is the themes that we heard from the fans, we were able to deliver on those.” Capacity at Pribil Stadium was right around 4,600. At Taft, it’s closer to 8,000. The entire west-side bleachers are filled with green chair backs. Suites have been placed in the north end zone with bleachers for The Grid, the Energy supporter group, in the south end zone. The cement bleachers that backed the rock wall on the east side of the field have been removed and replaced with metal bleachers, and new turf has been installed. There are new locker rooms and concession areas. “We heard the theme more seats in general and so obviously as you walk in that’s been delivered on,” Hawkins said. “The other thing we heard was chair backs. If you look at it, there is literally 10 times the number of chair backs available. But then you also think about that as just a section of the stadium. For us it’s been really important with a bigger stadium we’ve been able to get down to each type of customer. “The supporter group still has their area that’s really their own but your able to separate them from the fans who don’t want to be standing and screaming and chanting the whole time. We’ve committed this year to holding two zones for walkups. We want to have a $10 ticket available for someone who just walks up to the gate (on game day).” The effect of an open-for-business Taft Stadium goes well beyond Energy FC. Hawkins said they’ve already been approached about hosting other events. The stadium, as it did before the renovation, will host middle school sporting events and high school football games for Northwest Classen and John Marshall. It will also host track and field competitions as well as high school soccer. Hawkins stood on the southwest corner of the field looking out across the stadium he once sat in to watch his first professional soccer game almost 30 years ago. The lifelong “Oklahoma City person,” as he called himself, was in awe of the idea that he has helped in some way give soccer in Oklahoma City the biggest stage to play on. He offered up his feelings in one sentence. “We want to make history in this place.”
A look at Oklahoma high school athletes who have signed to play college sports as of April 4.
Oklahoma high school sports signing list: April 4, 2015
COMPILED BY SCOTT WRIGHT | Apr 4, 2015BASEBALL T.J. Black, Stillwater (NOC-Enid) Brayden Blaylock, Tulsa Union (NEO) Andrew Bolen, Silo (Arkansas) Brady Bradshaw, Noble (Crowder) Blake Brewster, Moore (OU) Chase Burgess, Jenks (NEO) Riley Cabral, Carl Albert (Chipola College) Joseph Corbett, McGuinness (Ark.-Little Rock) Joel Davis, Midwest City/Seminole St. (Texas A&M) Jonathan Davis, Edmond North (Ark.-Little Rock) Aidan Doherty, Deer Creek (NSU) Jesus Gamez, Dover (Seminole St.) Jackson Goddard, Holland Hall (Kansas) Dylan Grove, Moore (OU) Wade Hanska, Edmond Memorial (NOC-Enid) Thomas Hughes, Norman North (OU) Kale Keith, Verdigris (Connors St.) Karsten Laferr, Edmond North (NOC) Barrett Loseke, Jenks (Arkansas) Joshua Matelsky, Putnam City North (Dodge City CC) Trevor McCutchin, Owasso (ORU) Josh McMinn, SW Covenant/Union City (ORU) Bryan Pacheco, Dover (NOC-Enid) Zach Parish, Sequoyah-Tahlequah (NSU) Lane Paul, Tuttle/Murray St. (OC) Ricky Ramirez, Deer Creek (Seminole St.) Garret Rogers, Putnam City North (Barton CC) Landon Roney, Edmond North (NOC) Colin Simpson, Edmond Memorial (OSU) Blake Shepard, Ponca City (Fort Scott CC) Hunter Southerland, Westmoore (OU) Slater Springman, Holland Hall (OC) Kyle Tyler, Westmoore (OU) Madison Watkins, Sperry (Cowley County) Ryan Weeks, Savanna (Murray St.) Harrison Whitworth, Broken Arrow (Fort Scott) Ryan Wieligman, Stillwater (Cowley County) Lane Workman, Deer Creek (Pratt CC) Corey Zangari, Carl Albert (OSU) BOYS BASKETBALL Conner Avants, Deer Creek (Air Force) Chris Crawford, Victory Christian (ORU) A.J. Cockrell, Memorial (UTSA) Hayden Howell, Carl Albert (Abilene Christian) Will Lienhard, McGuinness (Navy) Chris Miller, Tulsa Washington (ORU) Shake Milton, Owasso (SMU) GIRLS BASKETBALL Amanda Allen, Edmond Santa Fe (McPherson) Ashley Beatty, Anadarko (ORU) Lauren Billie, Tulsa East Central (Texas-Arlington) Blake Blessington, Harrah (North Texas) Shay Brown, Tulsa East Central (Houston) Addy Clift, Kiowa (OC) Madison Davis, Locust Grove (West Texas A&M) Andee Decker, Edmond Memorial (West Texas A&M) Makenzie Ellis, Tulsa Washington (Colorado) Serithia Hawkins, Southmoore (Houston) Jentry Holt, Elgin (OSU) Alyssa Jones (Southmoore (Midwestern St.) DeRae Lewis, Millwood (North Texas) Kylie Looney, Adair (NSU) Crystal Polk, Lawton Eisenhower (Tulsa) Hayden Priddy, Piedmont (SWOSU) Raven Prince, Millwood (North Texas) Bre Reid, Piedmont (Southern Utah) Lexi Smith, Bethany (ECU) Bailey Taylor, Shawnee (UCO) Rylie Torrey, Locust Grove (ORU) Dakota Vann, Deer Creek (Loyola-Chicago) Tia Williams, Norman North (ECU) CROSS COUNTRY/TRACK Ben Barrett, Norman North (North Carolina St.) Bryce Balenseifen, Deer Creek (OSU) Rachel Chrisman, Norman North (Embry-Riddle) Olivia Head, McGuinness (Wofford) Morgan Long, Sand Springs (OU) Baylor Nelson, Lincoln Christian (OSU) Donovan Nunley, Edmond Memorial (Pittsburg St.) Harrison Pierce, Edmond Memorial (OCU) Isabella Rose, Norman North (OU) Sierra Thompson, Owasso (SWOSU) EQUESTRIAN Emma Holbrook, Stillwater (OSU) Addie Minnick, Jenks (OSU) FIELD HOCKEY Ellen Payne, Casady (North Carolina) Mercedes Pena, Holland Hall (Saint Louis) FOOTBALL Emmanuel Adesokan, Victory Christian (OBU) Malon Al-Jiboori, Tulsa Union (NEO) Chazdon Anderson, Davis (SNU) Michael Anderson, Owasso (Tulsa) Collin Andrews, Washington (ECU) Estevan Arana, Enid (Emporia St.) Jordan Baker, Glenpool (NWOSU) Jalin Barnett, Lawton (Nebraska) Dustin Basks, Claremore (UCO) Tyler Beasley, Cordell (NWOSU) Bryce Bell, Nowata (NEO) Keaton Bell, Southmoore (ECU) Sammy Benard, Lindsay (UCO) Don Berger, Owasso (St. Mary’s) Bryce Birt, Lawton (SWOSU) Chris Bishop, Lawton (NEO) Shane Block, Yukon (UT-San Antonio) Terrell Bluejacket, Bluejacket (NEO) Malik Boardingham, Anadarko (UCO) Lane Bouse, Beggs (Panhandle St.) Kaleel Bowden, John Marshall (Feather River) Bryson Bowers, Deer Creek (McPherson) Tanner Bowman, Cherokee (NWOSU) Jakob Bradford, Durant (SOSU) Dominique Briggs, Tulsa Union (Coffeyville CC) Bentley Bross, Lawton Eisenhower (OU)* Taggart Brown, Chisholm (NWOSU) Terrel Buchanan, Tulsa Union (NEO) Dayton Campbell, Stillwater (Texas College) Austin Cantrell, Roland (Arkansas) Cyntrell Carden, Stillwater (NEO) Daulton Cardwell, Glenpool (Evangel) Camron Carson, Midwest City (Langston) Trevin Carson, Midwest City (Langston) Pete Carter, Wynnewood (SOSU) Eric Casey, Vian (NEO) Connor Cherry, Lawton MacArthur (Pittsburg St.) Tre’Von Cherry, Tulsa East Central (Grambling) Nathan Christmon, Carl Albert (OSU)* C.J. Citizen, Stillwater (Texas College) Andre Clanton, Millwood (UCO)* Wyatt Clevenger, Tulsa Union (NEO) Tristyn Close, Stroud (SWOSU) Antonio Cole, Edmond North (NEO) Derek Cole, Cascia Hall (Drake) Michael Colston, Midwest City (Langston) Will Collins, Lawton MacArthur (La.-Monroe) Quinton Conaway, Edmond North (Oregon)* Eric Cook, Tulsa Washington (NWOSU) Blake Cooper, Bixby (Central Missouri) Stelen Covel, Casady (Lamar) Jevonte Cross, Tulsa East Central/NEO (Sam Houston St.) L’liott Curry, Guthrie (UCO) Isaac Dake, Tulsa Memorial (Langston) Riley Daniel, Ringling (Baylor) Anthony Daniels, Jenks (NEO) Kerry Daniels, Beggs (SWOSU) Bradley Davis, Berryhill (SNU) Jonathon Dawley, Lexington (SNU) John DelMoral, Westmoore (NEO) Marwin Dickerson, Ada (OBU) Dameko Doddles, Douglass (Wyoming) Danny Donley, Jenks (Drake) Noah Dorton, Dewar (SWOSU) Dewayne Douchette, Lawton (ECU) Marcellous Dowell, Cache (SWOSU) Trent Dunaway, Thomas (SWOSU) Ben Duncan, Jenks (NEO) Zach Duncan, Oologah (Fort Hays St.) Kris’sean Edwards, Tulsa Union (NEO) Carson Epps, Jenks (Iowa St.) Joe Erwin, Jenks (William Penn) Sheldon Estes, Midwest City (NSU) Mason Farquhar, Tulsa Union (SW Baptist) Zach Fisher, Tulsa Union (SNU) Dajorh Fitzgerald, Midwest City (Langston) Dylan Flinn, Snyder (NWOSU) J.D. Flowers, Wynnewood (NEO) Omorrie Franklin, John Marshall (Langston) Jordan Fredrickson, Harrah (SWOSU) Casey Freeman, Newcastle (SWOSU) Davion Freeman, Del City (Wyoming) Corey Ganz, Enid (SWOSU) Mark Garner, Poteau (NEO) Sullie Garner, Mannford (NEO) Bo Garver, Norman North (SWOSU) Devin Gates, Lawton (ECU) Caleb Gatewood, Del City (NEO) Roscoe Gatewood, Midwest City (Emporia St.) Tim Giddings, Casady (Emporia St.) Reece Gilbert, Southmoore (OBU) Jaymes Ginn, Owasso (William Jewell) Malik Givens, Tulsa Washington (Drake) Seth Glasscock, Nowata (OBU) Tristan Gooden, Lawton (NSU) DeOndre Graham, Tulsa Union (NEO) Dahu Green, Westmoore (OU) Gunner Green, Owasso (UCO) Maleek Greenlee, Tulsa Memorial (NSU) Noah Gregory, Thomas (SWOSU) Austin Grotts, Bixby (Tulsa) Cordale Grundy, Tulsa Washington (NEO) Rhett Hall, Westmoore (OBU) Will Hamilton, Tulsa Union (Washburn) Jason Hand, Edmond Memorial (NSU) Mahlik Hanna, Lawton (Pittsburg St.) Khari Harding, Edmond Santa Fe/Auburn (Tulsa) Davis Harker, Tulsa Union (NEO) Trenton Harmon, Garber (NWOSU) Antwan Harris, Broken Arrow (NEO) Cody Harris, Broken Arrow (NEO) Ken Harris, Edmond Santa Fe (Langston) O’Shay Harris, Lone Grove (UCO) T.J. Harris, Tulsa Washington (Arkansas St.) DeMikal Harrison, Midwest City (North Texas) Judge Hartin, Madill (NEO) Doc Harvey, Seminole (NWOSU) Docker Haub, Kingfisher (NWOSU) Ryan Haymaker, Collinsville (NWOSU) Jacques Henderson, Lawton Mac (OBU) J.R. Hensley, Edmond Santa Fe (Hawaii) Jacoby Hicks, Victory Christian (SNU) Razhon Hines, Tulsa Washington (SW Baptist) Duke Hollingsworth, Northeast (OBU) James Houchin, Lone Grove (ECU) Daniel Hubler, Bartlesville (Evangel) Cameron Hunter, McAlester (NSU) KeyOndre Huntley, Tulsa Memorial (NEO) Travis Hytche, Tulsa Rogers (OBU) Coltyn Ingham, Douglass (Haskell) Kaden Jackson, Kingfisher (Wyoming) Nick Jackson, Broken Arrow (William Penn) Noah Jackson, Stillwater (NEO) John Jacobs, Shawnee (East Carolina) Baylor Jenkins, Skiatook (Haskell) Mark Jimmerson, Putnam City (NEO) Jett Jobe, Tuttle (Emporia St.) Dejai Johnson, Midwest City (SWOSU) Denver Johnson, Casady (Iowa St.) Jonathan Johnson, Tulsa East Central (Sam Houston St.) Chris Jones, Lawton (NWOSU) Ian Jones, Cushing (SNU) Bryan Jordan, Tonkawa (NEO) Larry Joubert, Douglass (NEO) Hayden Kaaiohelo, Edmond Memorial (Lamar) Brendan Kane, Yukon (Friends) Chase Kemp, Edmond Memorial (SOSU) Exzavier King, Putnam City West (NEO) Roderick Kirby, Muskogee (NSU) Nathan Knitig, Texhoma (Panhandle St.) John Kolar, Norman North (OSU) Shawn Koscheski, Collinsville (NWOSU) Bryson Lee, Westmoore (OBU) James Lee, Chisholm (NWOSU) Johnathan Lee, Lone Grove (NEO) Trevor Lester, Noble (Panhandle St.) Adrian Lewis, Tulsa Union (NEO) A.J. Lewis, Tulsa Rogers (Langston) James Lewis, Western Heights (NEO) Jordan Littrell, Apache (SNU) Jonah Llanusa, Choctaw (Navy) Alan Lockhart, Talihina (SOSU) Dillon Lohr, Carl Albert (Emporia St.) Kaelon Love, John Marshall (Army) Keagan Macias, Hollis (Wayland Baptist) Trevor Magee, Norman North (OBU) Tyler Marr, Beggs (SWOSU) D’Shaun Martin, Seminole (NEO) Ryan Martin, Tulsa Kelley (Air Force) Cameron Mayberry, Stillwater (Colo. School of Mines) Akylen Mayfield, Tulsa Edison (Independence CC) Floyd McAllister, Lawton Ike (NWOSU) Stephen McClernon, Edmond North (Benedictine) Kevion McGee, Ardmore (NEO) Aaron McKinney, Midwest City (NEO) Rasha McKnight, Tulsa Washington (Midwestern St.) Robert McQuarters, Tulsa Washington (NEO) Byron Mendoza, Westville (NEO) Jack Meservy, Lawton (Middlebury) Tez Miles, Westmoore (NEO) Johnson Miller, OKC Legion (SWOSU) Alec Monsees , Garber (NWOSU) Jakii Moore, Tulsa Webster/UAB (North Texas) Josh Morgan, Shawnee (UCO) Colin Morris, Casady (Colo. School of Mines) LaMarcus Morris, Hartshorne (UCO) Markale Moses, Broken Arrow (South Dakota) Cullen Nail, Midwest City (Langston) DTravius Neal, Spiro (NEO) Tyeson Neals, Moore (NEO) Chase Nevel, Catoosa (NEO) Carlton Oates, Tulsa Memorial (NEO) Terrence Olds, Star Spencer/OU (SNU) Michael Ott, Broken Arrow (William Penn) Marquise Overton, Jenks (OU) DeMarcus Owens, Yukon (New Mexico St.) Deonta Owens, Tulsa Washington (NEO) Jonathan Palmer, Christian Heritage (NEO) David Parker, Mustang (Emporia St.) Josh Parton, Anadarko (NWOSU) Darreyl Patterson, Lawton (Kansas St.) Jacques Penney, Tulsa Washington (NEO) Ben Persall, Newcastle (SNU) Jacob Peyton, Perkins-Tryon (NWOSU) Nolan Philpott, Sequoyah-Tahlequah (NEO) Chris Pogi, Putnam City (New Mexico) Brandon Pollard, Anadarko (OBU) Tyler Potter, Colcord (NEO) Brandon Prather, Stillwater (NEO) Ashton Preston, Edmond Santa Fe (North Texas) Logan Price, Putnam City North (SWOSU) Wendell Prim, Kingfisher (NWOSU) Tryce Prince, Ada (Abilene Chr.) Camren Proby, Casady (Emporia St.) Jared Ragland, Fort Gibson (SNU) Joshua Redmond, Victory Christian (OBU) Jordan Reed, Edmond Memorial (Emporia St.) Keenan Reed, Tulsa Washington (NEO) TomyJo Reider, Tulsa Washington (OBU) Jordan Rickets, Plainview (OBU) Keonric Ricks, Idabel (NEO) Lance Riggs, Davis (SNU) Cagney Roberson, Coweta (OBU) Brooks Robertson, Roland/UCO (SWOSU) Stephan Robinson, Westmoore (NEO) Roman Rodriguez, Wagoner (NSU) Brandon Rolin, Purcell (SWOSU) Alex Rudolf, Durant (OBU) Curtis Rushing, Wynnewood (SOSU) Kalin Sadler, Lawton (Abilene Chr.) Grant Scherber, Deer Creek (UCO) DuJuan Shaw, Midwest City (Langston) Joseph Shells, John Marshall (SNU) Rylee Simon, Vian (OSU)* J.R. Singleton, Fort Gibson (SNU) Brady Smith, Kingfisher (SNU) Brett Smith, Kingfisher (SNU) Carson Smith, Blanchard (UCO) Darrin Smith, Glenpool (McPherson) Jerome Smith, John Marshall (Langston) Riley Smith, McAlester (NSU) Chase Sparks, Putnam City North (Bethel) Emmett Spencer, Tulsa Hale (NWOSU) Cody Spess, Luther (NWOSU) Wyatt Steigerwald, Nowata (NEO) Jace Sternberger, Kingfisher (Kansas) Austin Steward, Edmond North (UCO) Tyler Stilwell, Yukon (UCO) Bennett Stone, Edmond Memorial (OBU) Jared Storey, Newcastle (OBU) Branson Straessle, Glenpool (Emporia St.) Blake Summers, Davis (ECU) Will Sunderland, Midwest City (OU) Jordan Sweat, Edmond Santa Fe (Langston) Matt Tate, Tulsa Union (SWOSU) Corey Taylor, Holland Hall (Air Force) Jacob Test, Texhoma (Panhandle St.) Lorenzo Thomas, Tulsa Union (Air Force) Robert Thomas, Tulsa Union (Missouri St.) Darwin Thompson, Jenks (NEO) Dylan Thompson, Skiatook (Haskell) Mikal Thompson, Lawton (NWOSU) Rudy Thompson, Western Heights (NEO) Quinton Thorp, Cashion (OBU) Marshall Tolson, Pawhuska (UCO) Jesse Turner, Mount St. Mary (Colo. School of Mines) Dillon Twigg, Empire (SNU) Houston Tyler, Southmoore/Citadel (OBU) Jacob Unsicker, Westmoore (SNU) Nathan Varano, Catoosa (NEO) Ashton Vickers, Vian (OBU) T’Quan Wallace, Casady (Emporia St.) Anthony Walker, Tulsa Washington (NEO) James Walker, Putnam City West (UCO) Kyle Walker, Del City (NEO) William Wampler, Broken Arrow (William Penn) Warren Wand, Edmond Memorial (Arkansas St.) Josh Wariboko-Alali, Casady (UCLA) Jaylon Watson, Broken Bow (Wyoming) Tramayne Wauahdooah, Anadarko (NEO) Chance Wenglewski, Tulsa Union (Lindenwood) Braden Wesley, Idabel (NEO) Lorenzo West, Lawton MacArthur (Pittsburg St.) Gerald White, Tipton (SWOSU) McKinley Whitfield, Spiro (Tulsa) Isaac Whitney, Southmoore/Riverside CC (USC) De’Aundre Wilkins, Pocola (NEO) Daxton Williams, Eufaula (UCO) Justin Williams, Bixby (NEO) Dalton Wood, McAlester (OU) Gary Woods, Casady (Emporia St.) Jake Woodson, Wagoner (NSU) Creede Wright, Velma-Alma (OBU) Demeco Wright, Midwest City (Langston) Tristan Wyatt, Shawnee (Tulsa) Nick Yates, Marlow (SWOSU) Cody Young, Western Heights (NEO) Devontrae Young, Lawton Mac (OBU) BOYS GOLF Rhett Bechtel, Edmond North (SNU) John Bonaobra, Tulsa Union (Central Missouri) Cody Burrows, Chickasha (ORU) Brad Dalke, Hobart (OU) Quade Cummins, Weatherford (OU) Brett Hagan, Edmond Santa Fe (SNU) Thomas Johnson, Norman North (OU) J.T. Neuzil, Bixby (UCO) Arjun Reddy, Holland Hall (Drake) Tyson Reeder, Edmond North (OSU) Ethan Smith, OCS (OC) Logan Smoak, Edmond Santa Fe (SNU) GIRLS GOLF Elizabeth Freeman, Casady (OC) Kathryn Goodwin, Riverfield Country Day (OC) Shannen Stewart, Broken Arrow (OBU) LACROSSE Corey Perron, Edmond Memorial (Missouri Valley) Joey Provost, Edmond North (St. Gregory’s) ROWING Emily Vittitow, Norman North (OU) BOYS SOCCER Junior Andrade, Santa Fe South (OBU) Jake Burger, Edmond Memorial (Fort Lewis) Carson Cacciatore, Norman North (Central Arkansas) Quinton Carey, Edmond Memorial (Regis) Wyatt Carroll, Putnam City North (Barton County) Andrew DeLapaz, Tulsa East Central (Rose St.) Ethan Dvorak, Norman North (OBU) Camilo Haller, Casady (Washington, Mo.) Jacob Jerles, Norman North (Central Arkansas) Matthew McLaughlin, Heritage Hall (SMU) Myles Moore, Edmond Santa Fe (OBU) Cooper Mosely, Chickasha (Harding) Michael Ojada, Edmond Memorial (OC) Austin Parker, Deer Creek (USAO) Ricardo Perez, Tulsa Union (NSU) Keegan Radichel, Mustang (SNU) Munashe Raranje, Jenks (Tulsa) Martin Romero, Southmoore (OBU) Cutter Smith, Mustang (SNU) Tristan Tippeconic, Edmond Memorial (Northeastern-Boston) Jacob Tunney, Edmond North (OBU) GIRLS SOCCER Skylar Bozarth, Bethany (Oklahoma Wesleyan) Kelsi Bussert, Bethany (SNU) Bianca Cardenas, Piedmont (USAO) Sara Clarke, Tulsa Edison (OCU) Bri Demuth, Jenks (OCU) Hailey Drylie, Edmond Memorial (ECU) Catlin Harris, Piedmont (USAO) Casey Herndon, Putnam City North (UCO) Jordan Huereca, Edmond North (SW Christian) Kathryn Huff, Edmond Homeschool (John Brown) Brandi Hutchison, Mustang (USAO) Luka Joyner, Norman North (OU) Tifani Langston, Lawton MacArthur (Bethel) Alina Magruder, Mustang (Iowa) Vanessa McGee, Moore (Rose St.) Sage Moore, Norman North (Nebraska-Omaha) Addy Pritchard, Oologah (Rogers St.) Victoria Segui, Putnam City North (Cowley County) Ashley Snider, Edmond Santa Fe (UCO) Samantha Snow, Lawton Eisenhower/NEO (Rogers St.) Natalie Speer, Stillwater (Rose St.) Tayler Stover, Broken Arrow (Rogers St.) Alissa Tapp, Ponca City (Rose St.) Taylor Williams, Claremore (Rogers St.) Kristin Wilpitz, Norman North (OU) Haley Woodard, Norman North (OSU) Marlo Zoller, Jenks (OSU) SOFTBALL Larie Amos, Westmoore (SWOSU) Erika Brandenburg, Mooreland (Southern Illinois) Michelle Brandon, Piedmont (ECU) Maci Brush, Amber-Pocasset (Rose St.) Katie Carollo, Tuttle (Rogers St.) Jayden Chestnut, Mustang (OU) Caleigh Clifton, Wayne (OU) Dakota Clouse, Amber-Pocasset (Rose St.) Dru Collins, Norman North (Seminole St.) Annie Combs, Tuttle (Cameron) Hannah Danielson, Edmond North (Hutchinson CC) Lacey Davidson, Community Christian (OC) Demi Dobbs, Moore (Rose St.) Kayon Dunn, Edmond North (NOC) Mariah Ewy, Perry (ECU) Bry Flanagan, Bethel (Creighton) Ashley Fletcher, Maud (South Alabama) Katelyn Gamble, Edmond North (Rogers St.) Taryn Gray, Wyandotte (NSU) Sidney Green, Westmoore (USAO) Kelsey Harmon, Washington (NSU) JoBi Heath, Edmond Santa Fe (UCO) Kim Herron, Bethel (Dodge City CC) Courtney Hickman, Tupelo (Rose St.) Madison Hussey, Southmoore (Independence CC) Michal Hylton, Wayne (Creighton) Kyla Ibarra, Hilldale (NSU) Poetry Jameson, Northwest Classen (Rose St.) Nicole Jarvis, Luther (NOC-Enid) Jessica Johnson, Pioneer (Rose St.) Casey Jones, Mustang (Seminole St.) Keely Kingsley, Putnam City North (Rose St.) Dagan Lampkin, Washington (Seminole St.) Erica Martinez, Purcell (Rose St.) Jenifer Marwitz, Mount St. Mary (Kansas) Madison Morris, Piedmont (SWOSU) Alyssa Osterdock, Henryetta (Cameron) Kati Phillips, Sequoyah-Tahlequah (NSU) Ronnie Quinton, Putnam City North (NOC) Baylee Ratliff, Sequoyah-Tahlequah (NSU) Raegan Rogers, Bridge Creek (OU) Kaylee Sallee, Noble (Cowley County) Kirsten Scott, El Reno (OC) Kacey Taylor, Edmond Memorial (Rose St.) Bailey Thompson, Deer Creek (North Texas) Kasady Uhr, Mount St. Mary (St. Gregory’s) Ali Turner, Verdigris (NSU) Mykaela Wallace, Henryetta (SOSU) Abbey Warren, Marlow (Cameron) Emily Wassinger, Frederick (Cameron) Casady Webb, Davis (North Texas) Bridget White, Edmond North (OC) Makayla White, Edmond Memorial (Rose St.) Bailey Whitmore, Westmoore (OCU) Rylee Willmon, Luther (NOC-Enid) SWIMMING Breonna Barker, Broken Arrow (Kansas) Mason McCauley, Bartlesville (William Jewell) Avery Niemann, Heritage Hall (Denver) Ally Robertson, Edmond North (TCU) Conner St. John, Piedmont (Saint Louis) Justin Wu, Norman North (Harvard) TENNIS Alex Bowers, Duncan (OBU) David Burdick, Norman North (Southwestern, Kan.) Blake Cherry, Edmond Memorial (Southwestern, Kan.) Olivia Hauger, Tulsa Washington (California) Jordan Henry, Southmoore (Abilene Christian) Spencer Papa, Edmond (OU) BOYS VOLLEYBALL Logan Agnello, Casady (Missouri Baptist) GIRLS VOLLEYBALL Audrey Alford, Norman North (OU) Anna Bezhan, Holland Hall (Stetson) Maddie Flemmons, Bethany (SW Christian) Cassidy Hackett, Edmond Memorial (NWOSU) Taylor Horton, Edmond Santa Fe (UCO) Rachel Manriquez, Edmond North/Iowa St. (OU) Serena Mar, Lincoln Christian (SW Baptist) Baleigh Murphy, Edmond Santa Fe (UCO) Ijeoma Njenje, McGuinness (UCO) Heather Ann Pruitt, Choctaw (SW Christian) Livi Schiffner, Edmond Memorial (Midwestern) Jordan Spence, Edmond Santa Fe (UCO) WRESTLING Kaid Brock, Stillwater (OSU) Nathan Daniels, Del City (OCU) Jacob Fontanez, Stillwater (Army) Hayden Hansen, Norman North (OU) Davion Jeffries, Broken Arrow (OU) Becka Leathers, Choctaw (OCU) Boo Lewallen, Yukon (OSU) Dylan Lucas, Plainview (OU) Dustin Mason, Tuttle (OCU) Christian Moody, Collinsville (OU) Keegan Moore, Putnam City (West Virginia) Zachary Moore, Putnam City (West Virginia) Tristan Moran, Stillwater (OSU) Markus Simmons, Broken Arrow (Iowa St.) Joe Smith, Stillwater (OSU) *-Will walk on Know of a player who signed a letter of intent but isn't on this list? 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Late in the first half of Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament game against Cincinnati, 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein found an open alley, took a pass in stride and finished a flying slam dunk that became the signature play of the Wildcats’ victory.The path that led to this beautiful basketball moment and so many others created by Cauley-Stein has reached Indianapolis, where the Wildcats are preparing for...
Willie Cauley-Stein's path to Final Four with Kentucky started in small Kansas town
Blair Kerkhoff, Associated Press | Apr 2, 2015Late in the first half of Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament game against Cincinnati, 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein found an open alley, took a pass in stride and finished a flying slam dunk that became the signature play of the Wildcats’ victory. The path that led to this beautiful basketball moment and so many others created by Cauley-Stein has reached Indianapolis, where the Wildcats are preparing for the Final Four and becoming college basketball’s first 40-0 men’s team. But the path to Cauley-Stein becoming one of the nation’s top players and NBA prospects started in a tiny town in western Kansas, where he was raised by his grandparents, and traversed through Olathe, where he got an assist from one of the Kansas City Chiefs’ greatest players. “He’s had a lot of people looking out for him and caring for him,” said Valen “Val” Stein,” Willie’s grandfather. “He probably wouldn’t be where he’s at now if it weren’t for that.” Most of Cauley-Stein’s Kentucky teammates are products of a system that identifies talent at an early age and grooms players for big-time college and professional basketball. Cauley-Stein grew up mostly outside of that world, even as he grew tall and agile in Spearville, Kan., where much of working population in a town of about 800 commutes to Dodge City, some 17 miles to the west. Not ticketed for basketball stardom at an early age, Cauley-Stein’s development may have been delayed. It caused others to question his love for the game, a notion that brings a sharp response. “If I didn’t love the game, why would I play at the University of Kentucky? Why would I ever come here? Cauley-Stein said. “That bugs me when people ask me that, ‘Why don’t you love the game?’” But because he was not immersed in the youth basketball culture, Cauley-Stein was free to set his priorities, which helped shape his personality and world view. Kentucky lists Cauley-Stein’s major as art studio, and when the team played in the Bahamas before this season, he showed up in a T-shirt with his initials in block letters across his chest. Later he said it was his own design and has admitted to a yen for fashion. “If you focus on one thing, you’re going to get bored with it or eventually get burned out if it,” Cauley-Stein said. “My grandparents taught me when I was younger to be involved in a whole bunch of different things.” This was no problem for Kentucky. “You know what that makes him?” said Orlando Antigua, the South Florida coach who recruited Cauley-Stein as a Kentucky assistant. “A unique person. That doesn’t mean he’s not a great basketball player, because he is.” During his interview to become the basketball coach at Spearville High School, Jerrod Stanford got a rundown of the roster he’d inherit. The overall talent was good and an athletic, growing freshman was arriving. “But, I remember being told he also had a lot of other interests and he might not go out for basketball,” Stanford said. Sports were merely another diversion for a young Willie Cauley-Stein and his other brother, Bryce, who grew up in the home of Val and Norman Stein. The boys lived with their mother, Marlene, in Oklahoma City when they were younger, but her long working hours made her life difficult. The boys went to live with their grandparents in Spearville and that became their home. Marlene remains a large part of the boys’ lives, and gets to as many games as she can, Val said. She and Cauley-Stein’s father, Willie Cauley, were basketball standouts, she at St. Mary of the Plains in Dodge City, which has since closed, and he at Dodge City Community College and for one season at the University of Pittsburgh. Cauley-Stein entered the eighth grade standing 6 feet 2. When Stanford met him for the first time in June before his freshman year, Cauley-Stein had grown to 6-6. When he suited up for the first time that season, he was 6-8. “We printed a game program with the roster with heights one day, and the next day it was wrong,” Stanford said. Under Kansas High School State Athletic Association rules, basketball players can play as many as six quarters per day, and Spearville got the most from Cauley-Stein, using him for half of the junior varsity game and the entire varsity contest. By the end of the year, Cauley-Stein was a varsity-only player and made all-conference. His sophomore season would be even better. Cauley-Stein averaged 13.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocks, and one game in particular stood out to Stanford, who is now an assistant coach at Fort Hays State. Spearville’s Royal Lancers played Hoisington, which featured freshman big man Cody Stetler, who would go on to play at Houston Baptist. In a big test, Cauley-Stein had perhaps the best game of his high school career, certainly his best in a Spearville uniform, with 34 points, 22 rebounds, six blocks and four assists in a 65-44 victory. “He’d block a shot, get the rebound, start the break and hit anybody who was open or take it in for a dunk,” Stanford said. “It was one of those days when you knew he was going to be a special player.” And it marked one of those moments when Stanford believed an earlier conversation with Cauley-Stein had paid off. Before the budding star ever put on a Spearville uniform, Stanford had mapped out a course of action. “That first year, we had upperclassmen who could score, so I wanted for Willie to work on his defense and fundamentals,” Stanford said. “My thinking was, if he could become a great defensive player, learned the right way to block shots, guard ball screens in different ways, then he could be an average scorer and still get his college paid for.” The idea would be to use the final two years of Cauley-Stein’s Spearville career to hone his offensive skills and bring it together in a total package. It never happened. The Royal Lancers, in their first state tournament since 1997, went 21-1 during the season but were upset in the Kansas Class 2A first round. Cauley-Stein had played his final game for Spearville. Even with Spearville on the jersey, basketball prospects don’t go unnoticed. But they have to travel. A big moment for Cauley-Stein occurred in the summer after his freshman season. Stanford took seven Royal Lancers to a team camp at Kanas State, and they knocked off several large class schools from Kansas and Missouri, including a Raytown South team with Division I prospects, including future Baylor signee Ish Wainright. That’s where Matt Suther, founder of the Overland Park-based MoKan Elite AAU program, first saw Cauley-Stein. “You saw the raw athletic talent,” Suther said. “He hadn’t played a ton of ball in his life, but you could see the athleticism. He could run like a deer. He wasn’t very confident in his offensive game, but he could block shots with agility.” Cauley-Stein joined MoKan and became good friends with one of his teammates, Shavon Shields, the son of former Chiefs star offensive lineman Will Shields, who’s headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer. Cauley-Stein would stay with the Shields’ on weekends. The occasional visitor soon became a resident. Cauley-Stein moved in with the Shields family and attended Olathe Northwest for his junior and senior seasons. The primary reason: Academics. “I needed what the (Olathe) classes offered,” Cauley-Stein said. “That’s why I moved.” Cauley-Stein buckled down in the Shields’ home and was treated as one of the children, along with Shavon, Solomon and a daughter, Sanayika, There were curfews and discipline, and above all there was studying, guided by Senia, Will’s wife. “She made all of the kids work hard in school,” Will Shields said. “There was no messing around with that.” Shavon Shields and Cauley-Stein helped Olathe Northwest to a 20-2 record and a sub-state final in 2012. By then, Shields had signed with his father’s alma mater, Nebraska, and Cauley-Stein with Kentucky, although Kentucky coach John Calipari’s first impression wasn’t a memorable one. He had visited an AAU game with Antigua, who along with current aide Kenny Payne had done the early recruiting of Cauley-Stein. “I saw him at an AAU game and he got two points and, like, a rebound,” Calipari said. “I said, ‘He’s got a chance, but my gosh, two points in an AAU game,’ and other team wasn’t that good.” Calipari’s subsequent trips to see Cauley-Stein changed his mind. It wasn’t a basketball game. There was a whiffle ball game (“He was a helluva whiffle ball player,” Calipari said), a kickball game and a football game. He saw Cauley-Stein play wide receiver for the Ravens, and playing it well. Transfer rules caused Cauley-Stein to miss the football season and first five basketball games of his junior year at Olathe Northwest, but he was terrific on the gridiron as a senior, catching 57 passes and 14 touchdowns. He was chosen to The Star’s All-Metro team and was a finalist for the Otis Taylor Award as the best wide receiver in the Kansas City area. For Spearville’s eight-man team, Cauley-Stein caught seven touchdown passes in two seasons. Had he stopped growing in the eighth grade, Cauley-Stein might have become a Heisman Trophy candidate. “I love football,” Cauley Stein said. “Still do.” While at Spearville, Cauley-Stein took unofficial visits to several colleges, including Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State. His official visits taken in fall of his senior year were to Kentucky, Kansas State, Florida and Alabama. Kansas wasn’t in the picture. The Jayhawks signed Perry Ellis that year and had targeted Kaleb Tarczewski, who signed with Arizona, and were set with big men for the next couple of years with Jeff Withey in 2013 and Joel Embiid in 2014. Kansas State was Cauley-Stein’s last official visit, and he committed to Kentucky soon after. By the Rivals.com prospect rankings system, Cauley-Stein was the lowest-rated player of the four in Kentucky’s recruiting class, behind Archie Goodwin, Nerlens Noel and Alex Poythress, No. 40 nationally. “The way he moved his feet, run and jump the way he did for his size, you don’t see that every day,” Antigua said. “You saw tremendous upside.” From Cauley-Stein, there were nerves. The Wildcats were coming off the Anthony Davis-led NCAA championship victory over Kansas. Expectations are enormous for any player recruited by the program. The team floundered to an NIT season, but Cauley-Stein had a promising year, getting 14 starts and making the Southeastern Conference’s all-freshman team. The next season, he blocked 106 shots, the second-most in Kentucky history and missed the team’s final three NCAA Tournament games after suffering an ankle injury. After the NCAA championship game loss to Connecticut, Calipari fully expected Cauley-Stein to depart for the draft, bum ankle and all. “I hugged him and said, ‘Hey, congrats man,’” Calipari said. “The next day he came in said, ‘I want to come back.’ “I asked him why? He said. ‘I can graduate, I’m not ready to go to the league, and the third thing, I want to win a championship.’ Three very good reasons.” Barring a major upset, the last one is about to become the first to happen. As for the NBA, the early projections have Cauley-Stein, a unanimous first-team All-American, as a top-10 selection, which would make him the earliest draft call by a former Kansas high school player since Danny Manning of Lawrence was drafted first overall in 1988. Wherever he ends up, an NBA team will get a 7-footer from a small Kansas town who didn’t build his life around basketball but is playing about as well as any college player in the game and enjoying every moment. “I couldn’t imagine not playing this game,” he said. To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @BlairKerkhoff. ——— ©2015 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) Visit The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) at www.kansascity.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC _____ Topics: t000003277,t000003183,t000046469,t000040506,t000003278,t000391277,t000002776,t000049144,t000143260,t000002786,t000404471,t000391287,t000003195,t000404496,t000404736,g000065634,g000065650,g000362661,g000066164,g000065577,g000223654,g000364614,g000362659
Smiles as big hardly appear unless warranted, and a childhood dream becoming reality is a perfect reason for grinning from ear-to-ear.Central Missouri Mules running back LaVance Taylor, smiling wide, inked a professional deal in February to play with the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League.“It’s something I dreamed of all my life,” he said. “The fact that it’s happening is...
Big-time back signs big-dog deal
Dustan Sedgwick, Associated Press | Mar 20, 2015Smiles as big hardly appear unless warranted, and a childhood dream becoming reality is a perfect reason for grinning from ear-to-ear. Central Missouri Mules running back LaVance Taylor, smiling wide, inked a professional deal in February to play with the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League. “It’s something I dreamed of all my life,” he said. “The fact that it’s happening is surreal.” The Mules legend rewrote history during the 2014-15 season by rushing for a school-record 1,918 rushing yards, racking up a school-record 2,618 all-purpose yards, ranking atop NCAA Division-II athletes with 218 all-purpose yards per game. His efforts placed him among candidates vying for the Harlon Hill Trophy, an award given to the best player in D-II football. Taylor is Central Missouri’s sixth player under head coach Jim Svoboda to sign a professional football contract. Ranking atop the annals of school history was hardly a motivator to Taylor’s drive. He began at 5 years old playing in a flag football league in Raytown, a rough area clinging to Kansas City’s outskirts. Cracking shoulder pads and weaving between opposing tacklers quickly became an addiction. Even during time off the field, Taylor spent time playing catch and running in one-on-one drills with his father, LaVoid. “He used to throw me the ball and run after me,” LaVance said. “I used to do moves on him.” The duo partook in weekly Monday Night Football broadcasts and LaVance mimicked pregame highlights in his living room. Football immediately became LaVance’s one true love. On his way to high school his workout routines became more rigorous, his work ethic more entrenched and his goals grew seemingly exponentially. But playing at Raytown High School had its distractions, LaVance said. “I never even thought I was going to make it to college, he said. “It wasn’t because my talent (but) my situation I was in.” The star’s friends tugged at LaVance to join them in passing blunts and boosting department store merchandise – some of the milder illegal activities his crew took part in. Tempted, if only to fit in with Raytown’s roughneck crowd, Taylor shied away. He feared being caught or arrested, either of which would result in termination from the high school football team. “I got a lot of friends that do a lot of crazy stuff,” he said. “I could say that football saved my life. ... I loved (football) so much that I would do anything to keep playing.” By staying away from the law, working harder than any of his teammates and loving so passionately the gridiron, LaVance busted out with the Raytown Bluejays. LaVance set the school’s single-season rushing record as a senior and was a third-team All-State selection, despite his squad losing to crosstown rival Raytown South in the Class 5, District 10 Tournament in 2010. “I hate Ray South still more than I hate Northwest (Missouri),” he said. “They beat us every year.” Central Missouri’s coaching staff plucked LaVance from Raytown in the spring and he immediately had an impact. Taylor, who cried tears of joy upon stepping onto Kennedy Field for the first time, led the pass-heavy Mules with 630 rushing yards on 99 carries. He bettered his numbers in each of the following seasons and finished his career second among Central Missouri running backs with 3,941 rushing yards. “It’s a luxury as a coach when your best players also happen to be your hardest workers,” Svoboda said. “It’s no accident that he leaves this program so highly decorated and having rewritten the record book. Svoboda and LaVance went through the signing process as a team. “He wanted me to make the best decision possible for me and my family,” LaVance said. “He was there the whole time.” The Redblacks begin its preseason slate against Hamilton in early June. Prior to seeing playing time, LaVance said he expects to be the low man on the totem pole, but also said he understands his role as a rookie. “You’re right back at the bottom,” he said. “I’m going to take that mindset in there and learn as much as I can.” LaVance said he spoke with Redblacks offensive coordinator Jordan Maksymic, who said LaVance will primarily be spotted as a scat back and slot receiver, something he’s familiar with. The Canadian game, however, has its quirks, primarily with four major differences from American football: 12-man teams, wider and longer fields, no motion penalties and three offensive chances. And no golden cleats. “Other than that, when I go watch film it looks the same to me,” LaVance said. “It’s not as crazy as I thought it was.” Ottawa’s three-day minicamp is set for April 27. “I’m about to go up there, have my nose to the grind and really get after it,” he said. I’m my biggest critic. I feel like I’m the best.” ——— ©2015 The Daily Star-Journal (Warrensburg, Mo.) Visit The Daily Star-Journal (Warrensburg, Mo.) at www.dailystarjournal.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC _____ Topics: t000046469,t000040517,t000003183,g000065614,g000362661,g000066164
LEXINGTON, Ky. — First there was The Dunk, quickly christened by people as the best of the year even though it was only a week into February.Then came The Dunk to End All Dunks, again labeled the best of 2015 and also a slight sign of progress because we were within reasonable distance of March.That they were both delivered by Willie Cauley-Stein was almost an anomaly, something as rare as a...
Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein poses double threat of defense and dunks
By Mike Bresnahan, Associated Press | Mar 2, 2015LEXINGTON, Ky. — First there was The Dunk, quickly christened by people as the best of the year even though it was only a week into February. Then came The Dunk to End All Dunks, again labeled the best of 2015 and also a slight sign of progress because we were within reasonable distance of March. That they were both delivered by Willie Cauley-Stein was almost an anomaly, something as rare as a junior at Kentucky, which Cauley-Stein happened to be. He’s slotted as a high pick in this year’s NBA draft because he plays great defense. The dunks are a sideshow. If the Lakers keep their top-five protected pick after the May 19 lottery, Cauley-Stein will probably be there for their turn. He’s not polished on offense like presumed top picks Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns but NBA front-office types compare him favorably to defensive stopper Tyson Chandler. Or as one said, he’s “a 7-foot Dennis Rodman,” only touching the surface of a 21-year-old whose confidence has come slowly, part of a complex makeup traced to his younger years. They call Spearville the “City of Windmills” and it’s hard to disagree. Dozens of large wind turbines dot the plains in the western Kansas town, spinning and spinning and spinning. Time is measured in farmer’s almanacs, not rush-hour traffic, and twitter still refers to the peaceful sound of birds. Cauley-Stein was a tree without a forest while being raised by his grandparents, towering over a population of 806 that often congregated at the Windmill Restaurant. His mother and father played basketball at nearby small colleges but split when he was young, leaving him in limbo if not for Norma and Valen “Val” Stein. His older brother, Bryce, was interested in the wheat farm owned by the Steins, but Willie avoided the tractors and combine harvesters. “He was shy and pretty much a homebody,” Norma Stein said. “He’s had to work hard to get where he’s at.” His grandparents kept him in check, guiding him as best they could, but his high school was small. Very small. He might not have had enough NCAA-approved classes to be eligible to play college ball down the road, according to people familiar with his situation. That’s when a future Hall of Famer entered his life. Cauley-Stein played AAU basketball with the son of former NFL offensive lineman Will Shields and ended up becoming friends with Shavon Shields, who now plays basketball at Nebraska. Cauley-Stein transferred to a much larger high school near Kansas City and lived with the Shields family by the end of his sophomore year. The transition was mostly seamless. Mostly. “He’s one of those kids that is just used to doing what he wants to do when he wants to do it,” said Shields, who played 14 years with the Kansas City Chiefs and was elected into the Hall of Fame this year. “He struggled with the fact that, hey, you’ve got to make those phone calls and tell us where you’re going to be, when you’re going to be there, when you’re going to be home. And leave us phone numbers so we can find out who you’re with.” Cauley-Stein realized during an orientation session it would take time to adapt to the teeming hallways of Olathe Northwest High. His entire town of Spearville could fit into the school’s main building, he muttered to himself. “We always thought he would do very well, but I don’t know if he always thought he would do really well,” said Athletic Director Jay Novacek, whose cousin of the same name played tight end for the Dallas Cowboys. “He’s one of those guys who has to really do something before he believes it.” Football played a surprising role for Cauley-Stein, who became one of the state’s best wide receivers thanks to 4.6 speed in the 40, Novacek said. A coach from Kansas University even offered him a football scholarship on the spot while watching him play in a seven-on-seven tournament. Kentucky basketball Coach John Calipari once came to watch Cauley-Stein play football against rival Olathe North. Basketball coaches have an ongoing battle with football coaches because they don’t want their star player getting hurt. Not Calipari. Not that night, anyway. “I stood on the sideline with Coach Calipari the whole game, and of course he loved watching Willie catch passes and run with the ball but he was more excited to watch him just knock people out on catch-and-run plays,” Novacek said. Of greater importance to Cauley-Stein’s existence in the athletic universe was basketball. He had plenty of dunks back then, but his defense was what attracted coaches. Calipari signed him to a letter of intent even though Cauley-Stein’s competition was mainly undersized centers. Kentucky would be different, though. It wasn’t surprising to see Cauley-Stein return to college after his freshman season. He’s not of the same scoring mold as Julius Randle and current-day teammate Towns, past and future members of the one-and-done Kentucky club. Going pro after his sophomore year was more sensible but Cauley-Stein suffered a broken ankle during the Wildcats’ Sweet 16 game last year against Louisville. He would have been a first-round pick but not nearly as coveted as now. He has become college basketball’s most versatile defender, an active shot-blocker who can also cover guards. “Any time you have a 7-foot kid start the game defensively on your point guard, that’s pretty unique,” Tennessee Coach Donnie Tyndall said. (EDITORS: BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM) He also has those dunks. Oh, those dunks. Search for one against Florida in early February and you’ll find these phrases in various online headlines: “Annihilated” (in ALL CAPS), “lays waste” and “posterized” (also in capital letters). His more recent dunk achieved instant Internet immortality, a fastbreak windmill effort against Auburn. “I make a highlight dunk or something, I’m getting head-butted, dudes’ faces are looking crazy,” Cauley-Stein told reporters. “Seeing my teammates happy is more fun than me actually doing something.” Calipari, though, wants more from him. Cauley-Stein’s outside shot has improved but still needs work. His confidence wavers there. “I want Willie to risk more. Risk! Go make a play!” Calipari said after Cauley-Stein scored four points in Kentucky’s 74-56 victory Wednesday at Mississippi State. “He shot an airball (near) the foul line so then he stopped playing offensively. That’s crazy. You’re the best player on the floor.” (END OPTIONAL TRIM) NBA teams will try to answer a simple question: Who is Willie? The one with the thoughtfulness to add Stein to his given last name of Cauley, a nod to his grandparents and his mother, with whom he has since forged a bond? Or the one with the “hellacious” dunks, to quote his grandmother, a soon-to-be-pro trying to make it in a world that isn’t Kansas anymore. Or, shortly, Kentucky. Shields thinks he knows, remembering the increased discipline in the latter part of Cauley-Stein’s high-school days. “At any point, he could have said, ‘I’m going home, I’m not going to come back if you do it this way or that way,’” Shields said. “He persevered. He worked through it.” ——— ©2015 Los Angeles Times Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC _____ Topics: t000003277,t000003278,t000003183,g000065650,g000362661,g000066164,g000065634
The All Sports Association annually gives out $1,000 scholarships to an outstanding senior girl and senior boy graduating from a high school in the greater Oklahoma City area.
High school notebook: All Sports Association scholarship applications available
By Scott Wright and Jacob Unruh | Feb 15, 2015The All Sports Association will once again give out two scholarship awards to high school athletes, and the application is now available to be downloaded. The All Sports Association annually gives out $1,000 scholarships to an outstanding senior girl and senior boy graduating from a high school in the greater Oklahoma City area. That includes Oklahoma, Canadian, Cleveland, Logan and Pottawatomie counties, as well as Newcastle, Tuttle and Bridge Creek schools. Applicant selection will be based on attributes consistent with the mission of the All Sports Association, including leadership, character, academics, athletic participation and accomplishment, and school/civic activities. In order to qualify for the scholarships, applicants must attend a two- or four-year Oklahoma college or university, have a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher, and a minimum ACT score of 22. The student must have participated in high school athletics, but cannot be receiving a college or university athletic scholarship, or be participating as a student walk-on athlete for any sport. Application deadline is April 3, and the recipients of the scholarships will be announced on April 20. The application can be downloaded at okcallsports.org/scholarship. THE OKLAHOMAN’S SPRING MEDIA DAY WEDNESDAY The Oklahoman’s annual Spring Sports Media Day has been set for Wednesday at McGuinness High School. The event begins at 3:30 p.m. and ends at 7:30. McGuinness is located at 801 NW 50 Street in Oklahoma City. The event will be held in the lobby of the McGuinness gymnasium, which can be entered from the Interstate 44 service road off Western Avenue. Each Oklahoma City-area high school participating in baseball, slowpitch softball, soccer, track, golf and tennis is encouraged to bring athletes to meet The Oklahoman’s high school coverage team for interviews, videos and photos that will be used throughout the upcoming season. OSSAA ANNOUNCES FOOTBALL REVENUE The OSSAA announced it that reimbursed schools the most amount of money ever for the football playoffs. A total of $491,463.59 was reimbursed, including $174,550 to participating schools for travel. A total of $316,913.59 was reimbursed to schools hosting semifinals and championship games. The organization netted $286,655.60, an increase of more than $4,000 from last year. Semifinals and championships were all held at neutral sites, with the most expensive being Tulsa University. The school charged nearly $10,000 per game. OSSAA executive director Ed Sheakley said it’s unlikely the OSSAA returns there unless it’s a Tulsa Union-Jenks matchup. NEW BOARD MEMBERS ELECTED Winners of the recent OSSAA board elections were announced by Sheakley. The new multi-high representative will be Northwest Classen principal Brad Herzer. The Southwest Division I representative will be Mustang superintendent Sean McDaniel. Northeast Division I will be represented by Sapulpa superintendent Kevin Burr. Northwest Division II’s representative will be Kingfisher superintendent Jason Sternberger. Rick Pool of Kiowa returns as the Southeast Division III representative.