Norman Tigers football
|5 - 5||3 - 2||2 - 3||.500||306||281|
|2013-09-05||vs||Norman North||W||38 - 31|
|2013-09-13||vs||Moore||W||45 - 30|
|2013-09-20||@||Yukon||L||19 - 21|
|2013-09-27||@||Mustang||L||14 - 34|
|2013-10-04||vs||Edmond Memorial||L||14 - 38|
|2013-10-11||@||Choctaw||W||49 - 31|
|2013-10-18||vs||Southmoore||L||30 - 33|
|2013-10-25||@||Edmond Santa Fe||W||28 - 14|
|2013-11-01||vs||Putnam West||W||48 - 0|
|2013-11-08||@||Lawton||L||21 - 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|
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Norman football News
NewsOK articles about Norman football, or articles mentioning current or former Norman football players.
Norman High School Varsity Boys Football
Jul 2, 2015
The Texas Tech transfer who sat out last season is suffering from shoulder fatigue but does not have structural damage to his throwing shoulder, a source close to the program told The Oklahoman. Mayfield’s soreness is due to “simply throwing too many reps,” the source said.
Oklahoma football: Quarterback Baker Mayfield has shoulder fatigue
BY RYAN ABER | Jul 2, 2015NORMAN — Baker Mayfield might be Oklahoma’s starting quarterback when the season rolls around in September. But in July, Mayfield won’t be throwing much. The Texas Tech transfer who sat out last season is suffering from shoulder fatigue but does not have structural damage to his throwing shoulder, a source close to the program told The Oklahoman. Mayfield’s soreness is due to “simply throwing too many reps,” the source said. With Justice Hansen transferring, the Sooners have just three quarterbacks on campus now —Mayfield, Trevor Knight and Cody Thomas. With a large group of wide receivers, each quarterback has been throwing more than they would during the regular season as the team works out four days per week during the summer. Mayfield’s pain started approximately two weeks ago, and he was shut down from throwing a week later after having the arm examined, the source said. He is expected to stay away from throwing for another two weeks. He will likely be able to resume full activity before preseason practices begin. The source contradicted reports earlier this week that Mayfield suffered a torn rotator cuff. The official Sooners football Twitter account even addressed the report Wednesday night, also characterizing Mayfield’s condition as shoulder fatigue. This isn’t the first time Mayfield has suffered from a sore shoulder. He had a similar experience when he was a high school quarterback in Lake Travis, Texas, as he balanced both football and baseball. With rest, he was able to return to action while missing minimal time. Although the ailment is most often seen in baseball pitchers, Mayfield’s injury isn’t an uncommon one for athletes in sports that involve an overhead motion — including football and swimming in addition to baseball. The treatment for quarterbacks and pitchers is simple — elimination of the throwing motion until the soreness goes away and exercises designed to strengthen the shoulder and/or aid the range of motion in the joint. The injury often includes bursitis or tendinitis as the bursa at the top of the humerus becomes inflamed or the tendons and surrounding tissue become inflamed and swollen. Although Mayfield’s injury appears to be minor, it’s still a concern for the Sooners as OU looks for a starting quarterback to fit into new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley’s Air Raid offense. Mayfield said in the spring that OU’s offense under Riley is “pretty much the same thing” as what he ran at Texas Tech, making him ideally suited to play in the system among the three quarterbacks on the roster. The junior threw for 2,315 yards, 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions for Texas Tech as a true freshman walk-on, starting seven games, before transferring to Oklahoma. After he announced his intentions to transfer from Texas Tech, Riley tried to recruit Mayfield to East Carolina — where Riley served as the offensive coordinator — before the quarterback eventually decided to transfer to OU. He sat out last season under NCAA transfer rules and lost a season of eligibility due to the Big 12’s in-conference transfer rules.
Jun 27, 2015
The Sooners secured a commitment from Mesquite (Texas) Horn quarterback Chris Robison, a four-star prospect, on Friday night.
OU football: Lincoln Riley quickly piling up quarterback recruits
By Ryan Aber | Jun 27, 2015NORMAN — When Cale Gundy spoke about quarterback recruiting earlier this year, he knew weeks like the one just experienced would come. “It’s kind of a dominoes deal,” said the recruiting coordinator. “Once some guy goes somewhere, then someone else, and everyone hurries up and starts picking a spot. With what Coach (Lincoln) Riley has done in his background and the success — I think his quarterback threw it 617 times last year, which I believe is the most in college football. I think he’s definitely gonna have the opportunity to bring in a top-flight quarterback next year.” Gundy was addressing primarily quarterback recruiting for the 2016 class but this week recruiting at the position for the 2017 class heated up and OU was able to grab one of the major pieces. The Sooners secured a commitment from Mesquite (Texas) Horn quarterback Chris Robison, a four-star prospect, on Friday night. Robison’s commit came just hours after Denton (Texas) Guyer’s Shawn Robinson committed to TCU and just a couple days after Kellen Mond of San Antonio Ronald Reagan — the same high school that produced Trevor Knight — committed to Baylor. It also gives Riley, OU’s first-year offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, a second big recruiting win in his five months on the job. In April, Riley landed a 2016 commitment from Waxhaw (N.C.) Cuthbertson quarterback Austin Kendall, another four-star prospect. Robison is the earliest quarterback commit in the Bob Stoops era. Stoops knew Riley’s Air Raid offense would attract quarterbacks. He’d seen it before. When Stoops arrived in Norman in 1999, he hired Mike Leach to run his offense in part based on how successful the Hal Mumme-Leach offense had been at Kentucky but also because of the recruiting dynamic at the quarterback spot. Of course, it didn’t take long for Leach to attract Josh Heupel and in Stoops’ second season, Heupel led the Sooners to a national title. In the Air Raid’s second incarnation in Norman, it’s once again paying quick dividends. Kendall is generally thought of as a pro-style quarterback while Robison is considered a dual-threat. Riley said when he accepted the job that he wasn’t going to make his quarterbacks fit one specific mold. “Not really,” Riley said. “I just want a great player there. You can go on down the line and look at places that have used this version of the offense. We’ve had tall, we’ve had short, we’ve had fast, we’ve had slow. “We have to have a guy who can make decisions. We have to have a guy that’s very accurate with the football. We want a guy who is a winner. We want a guy who, when he’s out there in the huddle and out there playing, the other 10 guys out there with him play better. If they can do those few things, then we’ll build it around the other characteristics that he may have or may not have.”
Jun 26, 2015
It’s been a rough week. We lost Bob Barry Jr., someone we all knew and seemed like always was part of our lives. The memorial service Friday at Crossings Community Church was historic. The biggest funeral most of us could remember. More dignitaries than empty seats. The Barry family designed a service dedicated to laughter and good memories. Mission accomplished. It’s just what Oklahomans...
Bob Barry Jr. stories will help a hurting state
By BERRY TRAMEL | Jun 26, 2015It’s been a rough week. We lost Bob Barry Jr., someone we all knew and seemed like always was part of our lives. The memorial service Friday at Crossings Community Church was historic. The biggest funeral most of us could remember. More dignitaries than empty seats. The Barry family designed a service dedicated to laughter and good memories. Mission accomplished. It’s just what Oklahomans needed. The tonic for BBJ’s family is not so simple, but hopefully the stories helped. High school teammate Greg Blackburn told of BBJ streaking story through Norman’s Central Junior High in 1973, and if you don’t know what streaking is, ask your parents. Don’t google it. Sigma Alpha Epsilon brother Frank Sims told of the Spanish textbook-burning ceremony when OU changed the liberal arts requirements and BBJ no longer had to pass Spanish to graduate. Schoolboy friend Bob Naifeh told of the snowball BBJ landed upside the head of a toupee -wearing assistant principal. Several others told similar tales. I told of BBJ, as a high school senior, petitioning the Norman School Board in 1974 to allow sophomores to move up to the varsity, which was not allowed in Norman’s mid-high system at the time, so that a great sophomore could play point guard for the Tigers. Which meant the heir apparent point guard would go to the bench. That heir apparent was Bob Barry Jr. But my favorite stories Friday were of the old days at Channel 4, when BBJ worked for his dad and always seemed to be in trouble. Channel 4 anchor Linda Cavanaugh told of BBJ, in the 1980s, reporting that Barry Switzer had been dismissed as the OU football coach, with the plan to immediately reveal, “April Fool’s.” Except a director told BBJ his time was up, and he threw it back to a co-worker without that vital piece of information. Big Bob Barry, as he was called around the newsroom, lambasted BBJ and said, “Give me one reason why I shouldn’t fire you.” Replied BBJ, “I’m your son?” Kevin Ogle, who with Cavanaugh and meteorologist Mike Morgan formed with BBJ a landmark quartet for the last 20 years, said, “Nobody could stay mad at Bob Barry Jr. Well, Big Bob could.” Robert Allen, who worked with the Barrys in the ‘80s and ‘90s, told of Ogle’s bachelor party, in which a group of employees rode around in Channel 4’s double-decker bus and things got a little out of hand. The details were told in a house of worship, so I guess they’re fit for a family newspaper. Let’s just say that BBJ consumed quite a bit of liquid and never needed a pit stop, thanks to the back door of the bus. The next morning, Allen managed to oversleep and miss his flight to Kansas City for Big Eight basketball media days. He trudged into the office that afternoon and told Junior, “Bob Senior’s going to kill me.” Responded BBJ, “Get in line.” Turns out the party bus antics had been discovered and the news was out. BBJ and Allen commiserated about what would happen the next day, what they called Black Monday. When Big Bob arrived at the office, he glared at them, pointed at BBJ and said “YOU FIRST!” He pointed at Allen and said, “YOU SECOND!” Allen could hear the first conversation through the door. A series of “What were you thinking?!” “The reputation of the station.” “Your whole career could be ruined.” BBJ was suspended for two days and told, “When you come back, Mister, you better have your head on straight.” BBJ trudged out and told Allen, “I’m going home.” Said Allen, “Yeah, I heard.” Then Big Bob ripped into Allen. “I’m going to get you the biggest damn alarm clock in history. Don’t oversleep an assignment again. You’re a professional, son. I don’t know what to do with you. I had to suspend your brother for two days.” And Allen was overjoyed. He had just been called BBJ’s brother. “So guess what,” Big Bob went on, “You have to work with me the two days. And let me tell you something, your brother got the better end of the deal.” Van Shea Iven was on the Channel 4 sports staff for 17 years, starting in 1989, and became one of BBJ’s greatest friends. Iven told of working part-time at Channel 4 and applying for a full-time position that came open. “Do you have any idea what the opportunity is for you right now?” Big Bob asked. Said Iven, “Absolutely I do. A chance to work with the best and most respected and the most-watched sportscast team in the state of Oklahoma.” No, said Big Bob. “It’s much, much greater than that. I’m going to hire you. You’re my man. You’re going to be the No. 4 guy.” They walked out into the sports area. BBJ and Robert Allen were sitting at their desks. The sports team’s No. 2 guy and No. 3 guy. “Robert had a bag full of peanut M&M’s,” Iven said. “He was tossing them in the air as high as he could. Bobby was about five yards away, sitting in his chair, seeing how many circles he could do before catching them in his mouth. “I knew exactly what Senior was trying to tell me. Those two boobs over there are pretty sure to get fired. You could go from No. 4 to No. 3 to No. 2 by the end of the week.” But Kevin Ogle was right. You couldn’t stay mad at Bob Barry Jr., and decades later, BBJ left Channel 4, left our living rooms, left our sports landscape, only by leaving this Earth. I hope you feel better. You usually did after spending time with BBJ. Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.
Jun 25, 2015
Reader responses to our Bob Barry Jr. tributes have been overwhelming. I thought I would share some with you: Bill Khourie: “Just finished reading your piece on BBJ and yes, so many thousands felt like they knew him and knew him well. I lost my only son over Christmas break while in his last year at OU, Jan. 6, 2009. Many of his friends started a memorial golf tournament and banquet to honor...
Readers lament the loss of Bob Barry Jr.
Berry Tramel | Jun 25, 2015[img width="" height="" style="" render="w620"]3714772[/img] Reader responses to our Bob Barry Jr. tributes have been overwhelming. I thought I would share some with you: Bill Khourie: “Just finished reading your piece on BBJ and yes, so many thousands felt like they knew him and knew him well. I lost my only son over Christmas break while in his last year at OU, Jan. 6, 2009. Many of his friends started a memorial golf tournament and banquet to honor his life and his dedication to his younger sister that he dearly loved. She was born with a very rare syndrome that drastically altered her life. She graduated as a special education student, but her brother took her to the senior prom so she could enjoy the same experience as the other high school students. It was her only time to ever experience a prom. My son was an SAE at OU. BBJ caught wind of the event from SAE alumni and volunteered to emcee his memorial banquet fund raiser without compensation. I had never met him. However, when I introduced myself at the beginning of the banquet, I stuck my hand out to shake, but instead, he gave me a hug and said, ‘As a parent, my heart bleeds for you and I pray God will bring healing to you and your entire family.’ He asked to meet Billy's sister and mother to express his condolences to them as well. His kindness, compassion and generosity was only a part of what made him such an incredibly special husband, father, friend and professional. When my wife and I heard the news Saturday, like so many thousands, we were crushed. Even thou we only got to meet and spend time with him on the one occasion, we felt like we lost a loved one. Yes, you are correct, Berry, the condolences offered by thousands were perhaps for ourselves as well. He may have departed our Earthly life, but his incredible spirit, special smile and kindness to all will continue to loom larger than ever as he and Bob Sr. are broadcasting to a new audience.” Sounds like Bobby. I know he was a loyal SAE alum and was dismayed at the actions of the SAE knuckleheads earlier this year. Bobby also was dismayed at David Boren’s swift rebuke of the fraternity, closing the chapter and the house on the OU campus. Bobby believed that the actions of a few shouldn’t offset the actions of the many. Brent Taliaferro: “Very nice article yesterday — a good tribute. His smile and warmth came through the radio.” I agree. Bobby didn’t have the most provocative radio show. But he might have had the most pleasant. It’s kind of difficult to describe, but the melodic rhythm of Bobby’s voice served to almost relax the sports radio listener. Which is against the grain. Jim Snow: “I have loved your coverage on the loss of Bob Barry, Jr. I think many people, including me, forget how tight the sportscasting fraternity is. The unfortunate thing about losing BBJ is that he was not able to see and receive the accolades that were bound to come his way (even on top of what he has already received). He could have so easily ridden the coattails of his dad, but that was not his style, and you know that far better than me. I am sure that Crossings (church) will be standing room only come Friday. I feel so much for his wife and family. Such a premature loss. I am sure that there will be a lot of weeping on Friday, but I pray that BBJ’s service will truly be a celebratory one.” It is a shame that we wait until such a time as this to tell people how we feel. But maybe BBJ has had an impact on us. I did almost three hours of radio on the Sports Animal with Craig Humphries and Al Eschbach on Monday, and as we left, Craig told me that he loved me. Ben McCain: “Just watched your tribute to Bob Barry Jr. It touched me. You nailed it! My brother, Butch, and I worked with Bob and his dad for several years at Channel 4. We always had a good time on the air and off the air with both of them. They were great broadcasters and great people. Seems like we always ended up laughing about something when we talked to Bob Jr. When I think of Bob Barry Jr., I think of laughter and good feelings. That’s not a bad way to be remembered.” Butch and Ben McCain. The brother duo that news and weather and a variety of entertainment shows at Channel 4 from 1981-87, and at Channel 5 from 1987-94. They’ve been gone from the market 21 years. Gone from KFOR for 28 years. And yet they worked with Bob Barry Jr. That is a stout legacy. Jari Askins: “Count me among the many of your readers who say ‘well done’ on the tribute to BBJ.” Yep. The former lieutenant governor was a big fan of BBJ. More from NewsOK Tramel: I wish Bob Barry Jr. had stayed off 'the death machine' Wright: How Bob Barry Jr. kick-started my career What they're saying about the death of Bob Barry Jr. Carlson: People loved Bob Barry Jr. because he loved people Kevin Durant on Bob Barry Jr.'s death: "It just wont' be the same" Tramel: Fans came to know the real Bob Barry Jr. Verl Brorsen: “I remember when Junior came to Perry some years back playing on a Channel 4 basketball team against some put-together locals for a community fundraiser. He was raining in threes that night like an NBA 3-point champ. He had a great time loving every minute of it.” The Foul Shots, they called their team. I actually saw Bobby play high school basketball team. He was the seventh man in a six-man rotation at Norman High School, but he in all fairness was a solid player on a really good team. State semifinalist as a senior. Left-handed, and liked to shoot. Had quite the flair for fashion, even on the basketball court. Patty Cox Hampton Roloff: “I've enjoyed your writing regarding Bob Barry Jr. In the mid 1970s, Oklahoma City was on the verge of losing professional baseball. My late husband Bing and I appealed to the local sports media to help us find an investment group that would insure that the OKC 89ers would not just survive but thrive in the coming future. Having known Bob Barry Sr. ince our school days, he and other broadcasters jumped on the bandwagon, and our attendance at All Sports Stadium soared from 42,000 in 1975 to over 250,000 per season for the next 15 years. Bobby Jr. followed in his dad's footsteps, not just as an excellent broadcast journalist, but as an avid supporter, booster and true fan of local high school, college and minor league teams throughout the state. A hole was left in my heart after the passing of Bill Teegins, Volney Meece, Bob Hersom, Jerry Park, Bob Sr. and now Bobby Jr. I am thankful that our mayor, Mick Cornett, who was a friend and colleague of all of these great men, exemplifies what they all knew and believed: that no city becomes a great major League city without first being a GREAT minor league city. Bobby Jr. didn't just report Oklahoma sports news but made fans of Oklahoma sports teams in and out of the state through his enthusiasm, knowledge and love of Oklahoma athletes, coaches and administrators. My family's condolences go out to Bobby’s family, friends, colleagues and all of the people who watched, loved and will miss his broadcasts. He was a true ambassador of this great state and will always be greatly missed.” Patty and Bing Hampton indeed rescued baseball in the mid-‘70s. Interesting to know the credit she gives the media for the success of the 89ers. Larry Freeman: “Since Saturday, I have been in absolute mourning — for a man I never met. Your article was astute: we offer condolences not necessarily for you but for us. Bob Barry Jr. was pure joy....excitable...always optimistic. I always wanted to PROTECT him. Never have him change. Hated when people attacked Bob Barry Sr. in great part because I knew it would hurt his son. Loved the way he treated ALL people (just like his dad). Bottom line is this: for better or worse, you guys in the media are in our homes, our cars, our lives. You have been with us so long in great part, because we trust you. You are like family to us. Our connection to the sports world, and it hurts when something like this happens to family.” Exactly. And trust this, Larry. Most of us know it. Most of us know that we have a sacred trust to live up to. Bobby knew it for sure. Bill Plummer: “Excellent piece this morning on BBJ. Like father, like son. Bob was one of a kind and what a great loss. He will be missed by many people. Perhaps his high school would name an award or have a scholarship in his name. I would gladly donate to it.” Norman High School in BBJ’s day certainly was a bastion of future Oklahoma sports media. Dean Blevins was a ’74 grad. BBJ ’75. Me in ’79. Mike Steely, now with The Franchise, in ’81. Heath Holt: “Everybody here at the office is still in shock from the news of the passing of Bob Barry Jr. It is hard to believe that we won’t hear his Oklahoma twang voice over the airwaves each day. Just unbelievable. Most times when a person leaves, they just get replaced by somebody else and everything just keeps on rolling. Sometimes, though, it is just a loss. Things aren’t as good as they were before and we just live with less than we had. Bob Barry Jr. is one of those people that won’t be replaced. Several of us University of Texas graduates that reside around Oklahoma City and Norman feel that loss as well. The passing of Bob Barry Jr. isn’t just a loss for the state of Oklahoma, it is simply a huge loss.” I love the phrasing. Sometimes, you just have to live with less. Mike Skinner: “I know Friday will be a long, tough day. Sending a note now thinking there might be a ‘middle time’ of anguish as those close to BBJ felt he would have wanted you to carry on but feeling a group reluctance to be the first to step out to reach toward what might be a ‘new normal.’ All you've said and written is spot on. Senior and Junior were two in a million, yet we see many of these every day in the middle of America and take them for granted. Hoping we are all reminded of that and send more notes of thanks, etc. Hang tough. It's probably a generational thing (being almost 60), but can't help but think that good and greater times are yet to come as we continue to be better from knowing the best and emulating the best.” Interesting idea. We’ve talked incessantly about BBJ the last few days. So what can we learn from him? Enjoying what we do. Treating strangers well. Throwing ourselves into multiple endeavors. Lots of things are on the list. Coleen Adair: “You put into words exactly what I was feeling. That I had lost a friend. I can't even imagine the hurt all of you that knew him are feeling.” I remember something my friend Greg Blackwood said at Bill Teegins’ funeral. Greg was a long-time videographer for Teegins at Channel 9. Greg spoke and told everyone, “all of you who felt like you knew Bill? You did.” Same with BBJ. He was as he seemed. Scott: “Great article on Bob Barry Jr. I had met Bob but didn't know him. Your article described Bob as exactly the person I thought he was.” Thanks. Phillip Cody: “I went to OSU in 1969 to play football. Later on I remember how proud we were when Bob Barry Sr. became the voice of the Cowboys and still remember how heartbroken we were when he went back to the Sooners. Through the years I continued to respect Senior and then found an admiration for BBJ. Like you eluded to in the article, it's hard to be on a radio show three hours a day and not get to know someone. In essence, if you were passing through Oklahoma and happened to click on his radio show, I would guess most listeners would think this dude is all right. Always humble. That's the difference in BBJ and most of his peers. When you really get down to it, he had enough of his pops in him and I presume family, religion, etc., that he was a voice that from that perspective, was just different. From my perspective, it's something we could all learn from. A little less know it all, talk a little less, listen a little more, search others out who know more about what we talk about and be truly thankful for another day on this Earth to get to do it. I've always detested the way OU and OSU boo each other and how little respect can be shown to the ones that play the game. In regards to that lack of respect, the most decent thing OSU ever did was showing our great respect for Senior the last time he came to Stillwater. I know Junior was in that same mold, no doubt a chip off the old block, a very special individual. I also know he will be missed by so many and especially by people like you, who truly knew him.” Junior grew up in Norman and obviously was an OU graduate. But he never aligned himself with the Sooners at the expense of the Cowboys. He would be found at the best game. Or both games, if possible. Bowls for example. I think he had the respect of both OU and OSU fans. R.J. Johnson: “Listening to BBJ made me feel better about myself. He was the face up front for us average Joes who never had much success in sports. On the radio he wasn't the tough guy, the clown, the jerk, or the know-it-all. He just had a good time, treated everyone fair and gave us the inside scoop on the sports world.” I can’t disagree. Pat Ownbey: “Thank you for your article this morning on Bob Barry Jr. I believe you hit the nail squarely on the head. I am originally from OKC but have lived the last 40 years in Ardmore. When I was younger, I worked at KWTV as a film editor while I attended OU. I teamed with Bob Jr.'s brother, Frank, at KGOU. I did play by play and Frank did color. We broadcast several Norman High School games together and most of the time we would see Bob Sr. at some point in the pressbox. During my stint at Channel 9, I went to see Bob Sr. about sports broadcasting. Long story short, I didn't know him, but the moment I walked in he made me feel like he was my best friend. Bob Jr. was the same way. They didn't seem to ever take themselves too seriously in terms of who they were, and they loved people. I saw that over and over again in the times I was around Bob Sr. Most of the time that was a play by play seminar or at the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters meetings. I stayed in the field for more than 35 years, later working as sports director at KXII-TV in Sherman before running and owning radio stations in the Ardmore market. Today I serve as state representative for District 48, in my eighth year. When Bill Teegins died and now Bob Jr., the shock and grief is that of losing a close friend. I made it a point to listen to Bob Barry Jr. on WWLS partly because of his attitude and his knowledge of sports. I really appreciated how he treated others no matter what the caller was like. I believe all of us would like our lives to matter, to make a difference in the lives of others, to touch people in a positive way. I believe Bob Sr. and Jr. have left a mark on many across this country, certainly here in Oklahoma. For me, as a young man, that message translated into treating everyone with respect, everyone matters. Don't take yourself so seriously and enjoy every moment. To many of us, we have lost a friend that can't be replaced. Our prayers go out to Bob's family and those of you who were close to him.” That’s another thing that can’t be replaced. The decades-long roots established by the Barrys. Robert Leslie: “Shocking and a truly sad moment for Oklahoma. You didn’t have to be only a sports fan for it to hit a nerve. Even if you didn’t really know Bobby, you felt you knew him. I knew Bob Barry Sr. better – what a gentleman and nice, classy person – but Junior was cut from the same cloth. My wife actually called Junior before her weight-loss surgery because he’d been through it, too. She said he was so nice and supportive on the phone and answered every single question she, a total stranger, had. It helped her decide also to have the surgery. Just another story pointing out what a good person Junior was.” That’s the thing about a lot of media people. We are accessible. That doesn’t mean we automatically are amenable to that access. Junior was. Robert Heard: “I too am one of those who never met Bob but feel the loss of such a fine and talented sports person. Most every day I looked forward to Bob and Coach Pat on the Animal. They were like a tag-team of greatness. I've learned at 68 that our life is very uncertain and bad things do happen to good people. Bob will be missed for a long time to come.” Jones and BBJ indeed were an excellent combo on the radio. Think about it. Bob Barry Sr. called the games of Jones’ great OSU teams from the 1980s, then Bob Barry Jr. teamed with Jones on the radio for many years. DeLinda Cole: “I wanted to write to express my condolences to you and the Sports Animal staff for the loss of BBJ. I also want to say that the tribute and expression of love and respect that has been shared about him throughout the past two days has been honoring, and I'm quite certain that BBJ is smiling down from heaven with pride. This is a horrible tragedy, but you all have done an excellent job in honoring him.” Thanks. The reaction from the Sports Animal personalities has been very telling to me. I’ve seen and heard things I never thought I would see and hear. And that’s a good thing. Jerry Isbell: “Oklahoma has lost a broadcasting legend and I’m mourning the loss of a dear friend. I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. Bobby was a rock star. Surely he’d never leave us this soon. He was always the life of the party. Junior never needed sleep or an on-air script. He could ad-lib better than anyone. As a young journalist, Bobby taught me there were only three things to ask… Why, why and why? I can’t figure it out. ‘Why?’ He was killed on his motorcycle as a scumbag with no license, carrying drugs, made a U-turn in his pathway. As always, Bobby was full speed ahead and bringing it peddle to the metal. His heart and peddle were always jammed to the floorboard for us all. That’s why we loved him. I first met Bob Barry Jr. in 1985. I was a freshman at the University of Oklahoma and wanted to be in the TV sports business. But more importantly, I wanted to learn marketing. I realized he ‘had it.’ He knew marketing. I clung to his every move and knew I was watching a legend. Bobby took me under his wings and for some reason liked me. I was an 18 year-old punk from Broken Bow, OK. He treated me like royalty. Why? I made him laugh a lot…he loved to laugh. From scores of chuckles, a great friendship was born. I learned how to ask questions from him. I learned how to work a room from him. I learned how to speak in front of people from him. I learned how to deliver a sales pitch from him. I learned how to love people more… because of him. He always found something great in everyone. Bobby loved people. He craved interaction with others…he needed it like oxygen. No time for ‘downtime.’ He had to hang with folks. His father was the legendary Bob Barry Sr. He was born into Oklahoma broadcasting royalty but never showed it. Bobby worked his tail off. 18-20 hour days…I saw it. He’s helped me immensely through the years. A reference from Bob Barry Jr. was golden. Bobby helped me many times. Anything I needed, he’d do it. We enjoyed hundreds of hours together in news helicopters, satellite trucks, stinky vans and horrible press conference buffets. We spent time together with legends like Gary Player, Barry Switzer, Barry Sanders, Brian Bosworth, Monica Seles and James Garner. I could name drop hundreds more. He connected with them all and they loved him. Why? We last spoke a couple of weeks ago. He’d been wanting to play Cedar Creek Golf Course in Beavers Bend and take his wife to our Mountain Visa cabin. He was planning something great for her…only he knew why. I’ve been fortunate to be around many national media people through the years. None were better than Bob Barry Jr. Especially behind the scenes. He could prepare a sportscast in a matter of minutes. Bobby was lightning fast as a deadline approached. He could work under pressure like none other. There are so many emotions flowing now as tears pound my keyboard. I’d thought several times to tell him, ‘wear a helmet on your motorcycle.’ I was going to tell him the next time we spoke. Why didn’t I tell him sooner? Why did the guy with no license and dope in his vehicle make a U-Turn in front of him? Bobby, you’ve always had the scoop. We’re struggling. We need one last breaking story. Please help us understand ‘why?’” Not really any doubt that BBJ evoked passion and loyalty. Jay Badry: “Having just read of the untimely death of Bob Barry Jr., my heart sank. Of course, I had never met him personally, but he and his dad were such a part of my life as an Oklahoman and a lifetime OU fan. And then I thought of you and others who had a personal connection with BBJ and I can't imagine how this affects you. In the book of James we read that life is like the morning fog that appears for a short time and is soon gone. What a reminder to hold every moment and everyone we love close and never miss a chance to squeeze the very marrow out of life. Certainly, those of us who hope in Christ have assurance of a life beyond this one, yet it's hard to say goodbye, especially when those we love are taken so suddenly.” The suddenness of BBJ’s death is startling. To everything there is a season, but a 58-year-old man still in his prime — Bobby seemed a decade younger — makes us all take stock.
Jun 23, 2015
Here’s a list of known scholarship offers to Oklahoma high school football players from NCAA Division I FBS and FCS schools to date: Tyler Adkins, Tulsa Union, RB: Navy Samuel Akem, Broken Arrow, WR: Montana Abe Anderson, Metro Christian, LB: North Dakota Jordan Brown, Stillwater, WR: Arkansas St., Army, Navy, Southern Miss, Stephen F. Austin, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Wyoming Tyler Brown, Lexington,...
Football recruiting: Who has offers?
BY SCOTT WRIGHT | Jun 23, 2015Here’s a list of known scholarship offers to Oklahoma high school football players from NCAA Division I FBS and FCS schools to date: Tyler Adkins, Tulsa Union, RB: Navy Samuel Akem, Broken Arrow, WR: Montana Abe Anderson, Metro Christian, LB: North Dakota Jordan Brown, Stillwater, WR: Arkansas St., Army, Navy, Southern Miss, Stephen F. Austin, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Wyoming Tyler Brown, Lexington, OL: TCU (committed), Arizona St., Arkansas St., Houston, Illinois, Memphis, North Texas, Sam Houston St., SMU, Stephen F. Austin, Tulsa, Utah St., Wyoming Tiller Bucktrot, Stroud, OL: Tulsa Manuel Bunch, Roland, QB: Air Force, Army Calvin Bundage, Edmond Santa Fe, DB: Arizona, Arizona St., Arkansas, Houston, Iowa, Iowa St., Louisville, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Oregon, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Tulsa Rico Bussey, Lawton Eisenhower, WR: Air Force, Arkansas St., Army, Davidson, UL-Lafayette, UL-Monroe, Missouri St., Navy, North Texas Garrett Collins, Beggs, WR: Air Force Caleb Colvin, Owasso, DE: Army Alex Criddle, Tulsa Edison, OL: Army, Central Arkansas, Harvard, Hawaii, Navy, Tulane, Vanderbilt Tristan Crowder, Bartlesville, DE: Central Arkansas, Illinois St., Missouri St., Wyoming Drew Dan, Checotah, WR: Air Force, Army, Navy, Wyoming Breyden DeSpain, Oologah, WR: Central Arkansas, Stephen F. Austin T.J. Fiailoa, Lawton MacArthur, OL: Arkansas St., North Texas, Stephen F. Austin, Utah St. Mason Fine, Locust Grove, QB: Austin Peay Rowdy Frederick, Broken Arrow, OL: Arkansas St., Houston, North Texas, Sam Houston St., Texas Tech, Tulsa Chandler Garrett, Mustang, QB: Wyoming (committed), Air Force Scotty Gilkey, Broken Arrow, QB: Eastern Illinois, UL-Monroe, Louisville Butch Hampton, Piedmont, K: Western Michigan (committed) Luther Harris, Heritage Hall, OL: North Texas, Ohio, Tulsa Justice Hill, Tulsa Washington, RB: Oklahoma State (committed), Houston, Louisville Quan Hogan, Norman North, RB: Arkansas St., Colorado St., Ohio, Tulsa, Utah St., Wyoming Noah Jones, Southmoore, DE: Texas Tech (committed), Army, Houston, Kansas, Kansas St., Navy, New Mexico St., North Texas, Ohio, Toledo, Tulsa Lenard Leviston, John Marshall, QB/ATH: Air Force Jeremy Lewis, Lone Grove, RB: Arkansas St., Memphis, Nebraska, Ohio, Stephen F. Austin, Texas St., Tulsa, Wyoming DeShawn Lookout, Westmoore, WR: Arkansas St. (committed to OU for baseball) Kyle Mayberry, Tulsa Washington, DB: Arkansas St., Army, Austin Peay, Houston, Illinois, Kansas, Kansas St., Missouri St., Navy, Nevada, Sam Houston St., South Dakota, Stephen F. Austin, Utah St., Washington St., Wyoming Tevin McDaniel, Heritage Hall, ATH: Air Force Patrick McKaufman, Douglass, QB/ATH: Grambling St. Jimmy McKinney, Oologah, LB: Air Force, Arkansas St., Army, Colorado St., Kansas St., Missouri St., Navy, North Texas, Ohio, Stephen F. Austin, Toledo, Utah St., Wyoming Tramonda Moore, John Marshall, OL/DL: Grambling St., Montana, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St. A.J. Parker, Bartlesville, DB: Air Force, Central Arkansas, Sam Houston St., Wyoming Austin Quillen, Jenks, DB: Vanderbilt (committed), Appalachian St., Arizona, Arkansas St., Army, Colorado St., Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana Tech, Navy, Rice, Tulsa, Washington St., Wyoming Logan Roberson, Harrah, OL: Oklahoma (committed), Arkansas St., Illinois, UL-Monroe, New Mexico, North Texas, Stephen F. Austin, Toledo Brandon Scott, Owasso, OL: Army, Central Arkansas, Lamar, Sam Houston St. Quint Scoufos, Sallisaw, ATH: Sam Houston St. Dillon Stoner, Jenks, WR/DB: Oklahoma St. (committed), Arkansas, Arkansas St., Kansas, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, Texas Tech, Washington St., Wyoming Jon-Michael Terry, Victory Christian, LB: Oklahoma (committed) Corey Tipsword, Norman North, DL: Lamar Max Wariboko-Alali, Casady, DB: Iowa, Louisville, SMU, Tulsa, UCLA Walter Watson, Del City, OL/DL: Missouri State Jace Webb, Hollis, OL: Army, Louisville, North Texas, Ohio, Tulsa, Wyoming K.J. Wells, Idabel, ATH: Houston, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oklahoma St., Sam Houston St., TCU, UTEP, Wyoming Wyatt Whitmarsh, Southmoore OL: Central Arkansas Blake Williams, Mustang, TE/FB: North Carolina Dae Williams, Sapulpa, RB: Army, Navy, New Mexico, SMU Micah Wilson, Lincoln Christian, QB: Boise St. (committed), Colorado St., Harvard, Illinois St., Liberty, Nevada, UNLV, Wyoming, Yale Terry Wilson, Del City, QB: Nebraska (committed), Arizona St., Arkansas St., Colorado, Houston, Indiana, Memphis, New Mexico St., Oregon, San Diego St., Texas Tech, UNLV Shiloh Windsor, Ada, LB: Wyoming Compiled from staff and web reports
BETHANY: KYLE DUKE Athletics: First-team Little All-City and coaches’ all-state in football as a senior. Second-team all-conference in soccer. Also played varsity baseball. Academics: Weighted grade point average of 4.1. ACT score of 24. National Honor Society. Special Olympics volunteer. College: Oklahoma Also nominated: Dustin Bielich, Maddie Flemmons BETHEL: CLINT SIMMONS Athletics:...
Scholar-Athlete: Bios of all the school winners
BY JENNI CARLSON | Jun 20, 2015BETHANY: KYLE DUKE Athletics: First-team Little All-City and coaches’ all-state in football as a senior. Second-team all-conference in soccer. Also played varsity baseball. Academics: Weighted grade point average of 4.1. ACT score of 24. National Honor Society. Special Olympics volunteer. College: Oklahoma Also nominated: Dustin Bielich, Maddie Flemmons BETHEL: CLINT SIMMONS Athletics: Honorable mention Little All-City and honorable mention Class 3A All-State in basketball as a senior. Varsity letterwinner in baseball and football, too. Academics: Grade point average of 3.9. National Honor Society. Presidential Academic Excellence Award. Student council. College: Undecided Also nominated: Rylee Steward BLANCHARD: DAVID UMMEL Athletics: Second-team all-district in football as a senior. Member of state championship teams in football and powerlifting. Academics: ACT score of 32. Grade point average of 4.0. National Honor Society president. Student council. Class officer. Fellowship of Christian Athletes. College: Undecided Also nominated: Sierra Bailey BRIDGE CREEK: RAEGAN ROGERS Athletics: First-team All-City softball as a junior, second-team as a senior. Coaches’ all-state. One season varsity basketball. Will play softball at Oklahoma. Academics: Weighted grade point average of 4.1. National Honor Society. Spanish Club. Helmets of Hope volunteer. College: Oklahoma Also nominated: Jimmy Wynne CARL ALBERT: KALEY HALLMARK Athletics: Honorable mention Big All-City in basketball as a junior and senior. All-state in cross country as a senior. One season varsity soccer. Academics: ACT score of 30. Fellowship of Christian Athletes. National Honor Society. Eco Club. College: Undecided Also nominated: Harrison Hightower, Justin Humphrey CASADY: ELLEN PAYNE Athletics: Four-sport athlete who earned 16 varsity letters combined in field hockey, soccer, softball and track. Will play field hockey at North Carolina. Academics: ACT score of 29. National Science League Award. Youth Leadership Oklahoma. Student council. College: North Carolina Also nominated: Yogaish Khastgir CASHION: BRETT WILSON Athletics: Coaches’ all-State and honorable mention All-State in football as a senior. Member of state runner-up teams in football and baseball. Will play football at Oklahoma State. Academics: ACT score of 31. Academic Team captain. Student council. College: Oklahoma State Also nominated: Peyton Maroney, Alix Robinson CHOCTAW: JACOB RAPP Athletics: Coaches’ all-state, honorable mention All-State and honorable mention Big All-City in football as a senior. Honorable mention Big All-City baseball. Academics: ACT score of 27. Weighted grade point average of 4.2. National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete Award. College: Oklahoma State Also nominated: Mackinsey Jo Archer CHRISTIAN HERITAGE ACADEMY: CREED HENDRICKSON Athletics: All-district football as a senior. Crusader Award, the school’s highest athletic award. Academics: ACT score of 27. Christian Citizenship Award, the school’s highest honor. Salt & Light Leadership Program. Will spend a gap year with Impact 360. Also nominated: Jacquelyn Holdridge CLASSEN: TYLER DANG Athletics: Three-time honorable mention All-City tennis . Placed eighth in lightweight 8+ at U.S. Rowing Youth National Championships. Academics: ACT score of 36, a perfect score. Weighted grade point average of 4.5. National Merit Finalist. Youth Council of Oklahoma City. Debate Club. College: Oklahoma Also nominated: None DEER CREEK: BRYCE BALENSEIFEN Athletics: Three-time state cross country champion. All-City cross country runner of the year as a senior. Multi-time state track champion. Three-time Big All-City. Won eight total team titles. Will run at Oklahoma State. Academics: Weighted grade point average of 4.2. College: Oklahoma State Also nominated: None DESTINY CHRISTIAN: DALLAS BIDDLE Athletics: Honorable mention Little All-City in football as a junior and senior. Oklahoma Christian Schools Athletic Association all-state twice in football, three times in baseball. Academics: Grade point average of 3.7. National Honor Society. Robotics Club. College: Central Oklahoma Also nominated: Kylie Bowdler, Lynsi Stanley DOUGLASS: CHRISTIAN LUPER Athletics: All-district and all-conference football. All-conference baseball. Two years varsity track and soccer. Team captain football and baseball. Academics: Weighted grade point average of 4.0. National Honor Society. Student council. Yearbook. Douglass Youth Leaders. Special Olympics volunteer. Gates Millennium Scholarship. College: Oklahoma Also nominated: La'Di'ne Thompson EDMOND MEMORIAL: JACLYN HUMMEL Athletics: Two-time first-team All-City cross country. Honorable mention Big All-City track. Member of state championship teams in cross country and track, state runner-up in soccer. Academics: Grade point average of 4.0. Food Bank volunteer. Bulldog Mentor. College: Oklahoma Also nominated: Jordan Reed, Kayla Utsch EDMOND SANTA FE: JOBI HEATH Athletics: Second-team Big-All City softball. First-team All-City golf. Member of state title team and state runner-up in basketball. Will play softball at Central Oklahoma. Academics: ACT score of 26. ACE Program, working with special needs students. College: Central Oklahoma Also nominated: Tanner Kliewer, Jake Martin GUTHRIE: ALEX NELSON Athletics: State wrestling runner-up at 138 pounds as a senior. Second-team All-City wrestling as a freshman, honorable mention as a sophomore, junior and senior. Four-time state qualifier. Academics: Grade point average of 3.9. National Honor Society. Student council. College: Undecided Also nominated: Beau Davis, Bailey Shaffer HARRAH: RYLAN BOYER Athletics: Three-time state swimming qualifier, two-time finalist. Member of state runner-up team. Academics: ACT score of 30. Weighted grade point average of 4.2. Scholars Club president. Reading Club founder and president. Mu Alpha Theta math club. College: Rose State Also nominated: Jena Graves, Rachael Wright HERITAGE HALL: CONNOR McGINNIS Athletics: Little All-City defensive player of the year and first-team All-State in football. Second-team All-City soccer. Won state titles in football and soccer. State basketball qualifier. Will play football at Oklahoma. Academics: ACT score of 27. Spanish Honor Society. College: Oklahoma Also nominated: Jessica Borsky, Avery Niemann KINGFISHER: BROOKE BOECKMAN Athletics: Honorable mention Little All-City and honorable mention Class 4A All-State basketball as senior. Multiple top-five finishes at state track. Two seasons varsity tennis. Academics: Grade point average of 4.0. National Honor Society. National English Honor Society. Student council president. College: Oklahoma State Also nominated: Garrett Yost LIBERTY ACADEMY: KELSEE CRAWLEY Athletics: Four-time Oklahoma Christian Schools Athletic Association all-state in basketball and volleyball. Won three OCSAA state basketball titles, two volleyball. Varsity track. Varsity golf. Academics: Weighted grade point average of 4.2. National Honor Society. Choir. Gordon Cooper STEM Scholar Award. College: Oklahoma Baptist Also nominated: None LITTLE AXE: KEITH ROBERTSON Athletics: Coaches’ all-state in football. Played three years of varsity football, one year each of varsity basketball and baseball. Voted school’s athlete of the year. Academics: Grade point average of 3.4. Business Professionals of America. Geography Bee. College: Undecided Also nominated: Katherine Johnston, Nik Storm MACOMB: SHANIA PACE Athletics: Honorable mention Little All-City and honorable mention Class A All-State in basketball as a junior. Three-time all-conference. Four-year varsity starter in basketball and softball. Academics: Grade point average of 3.6. National Honor Society. Student council. College: Undecided Also nominated: Jose Chavez McLOUD: AUSTIN ROOKS Athletics: All-district in football. State qualifier in powerlifting. Varsity football three years. Varsity powerlifting two years. Academics: Grade point average of 4.0. National Honor Society. Oklahoma Honor Society. Student council treasurer. People to People ambassador. Envision National Youth Leadership Forum. College: Central Oklahoma Also nominated: None MINCO: ASHER BAADE Athletics: Coaches’ Class A all-state football as a senior. Honorable mention Class 2A All-State basketball as a senior. Two-time honorable mention All-State baseball. Academics: Grade point average of 3.6. National Honor Society. Gifted and Talented. Student council. Yearbook. College: Southwestern Oklahoma State Also nominated: None MOORE: COLBY MOATES Athletics: Three-time honorable mention All-City wrestling. Four-time state qualifier. Three-time state placer, including third as a senior. Academics: Scored 32 on ACT. Weighted grade point average of 4.7. Academic All-State. Award of Excellence Scholar. FIRST Robotics Team. Campfire USA volunteer. College: Oklahoma Also nominated: None MOUNT ST. MARY: JOE CASTIGLIONE JR. Athletics: Two-time honorable mention Little All-City football. Three years varsity football. Four years varsity baseball. Academics: Scored 26 on ACT. Grade point average of 3.9. Oklahoma National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete. National Honor Society. Student council. College: Oklahoma Also nominated: Diana Andrade, Tesa Danusantoso MUSTANG: JAYDEN CHESTNUT Athletics: Big All-City softball player of the year as a senior when her team won state. Gatorade Oklahoma player of the year. Will play softball at Oklahoma. Academics: Grade point average of 3.9. National Honor Society. Students Assisting Students. College: Oklahoma Also nominated: Lance Frost, Brandi Hutchison NEWCASTLE: PARKER BOLLES Athletics: Coaches’ all-state and second-team Little All-City in football as a senior. Two-time state qualifier in powerlifting. Two years varsity soccer. Academics: Grade point average of 3.8. Scored 27 on ACT. National Honor Society. College: Undecided Also nominated: Madison Granger, Shane Martin NOBLE: BRADY BRADSHAW Athletics: Second-team Big All-City baseball as a senior, two-time reserve. Three-time honorable mention All-State. Honorable mention Big All-City football. Two years varsity basketball. Will play baseball at Crowder (Mo.) College. Academics: Grade point average of 3.8. Boys State. DECA. College: Crowder (Mo.) College Also nominated: Kodi Holloway NORMAN: GRACIE KOONCE Athletics: Coaches’ all-state and honorable mention All-City in soccer. Honorable mention All-City cross country as a sophomore. One year varsity track. Will play soccer at Oklahoma. Academics: Scored 28 on ACT. Grade point average of 4.0. Youth Leadership Oklahoma. Student Congress president. College: Oklahoma Also nominated: None OKARCHE: MADISON LEE Athletics: Coaches’ all-state and first-team Little All-City in basketball as a senior. Played for state title every year, winning two. Three years varsity slow-pitch. Two years varsity softball. Academics: Grade point average of 4.0. National Honor Society treasurer. Student council vice president. College: Oklahoma State Also nominated: None OKLAHOMA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL: EMILY ROBERTS Athletics: Two-time honorable mention All-City in volleyball. Honorable mention All-City tennis as a junior. Academics: Scored 34 on ACT. Grade point average of 4.0. National Honor Society. National French Exam Honor. Academic Team. Book Club. Band. Baylor President’s Gold Scholarship. College: Baylor Also nominated: None PAULS VALLEY: KAYLIE UPTON Athletics: Coaches’ all-state alternate and honorable mention Little All-City in softball as a senior. State qualifier in cross country and track. Academics: Grade point average of 4.0. National Honor Society. Oklahoma School of Science and Math Regional School. College: Northern Oklahoma Also nominated: Treston Williams PERKINS-TRYON: BAILEY WENSLER Athletics: Coaches’ all-state basketball as a senior. Two-time honorable mention Little All-City and honorable mention Class 3A All-State. Honorable mention Little All-City track. Will play basketball at South Carolina Upstate. Academics: Grade point average of 4.0. Student council. Academic Team. College: South Carolina Upstate Also nominated: None PIEDMONT: CONNER ST. JOHN Athletics: Five-time state swimming champion. Coaches’ all-state. First-team All-City as a junior, second-team his three other seasons. Will swim at Saint Louis University. Academics: Scored 27 on ACT. Key Club. USA Swimming Central Diversity High Point Award. College: Saint Louis University Also nominated: Brody Largent PUTNAM CITY: BOLU ONIFADE Athletics: Second-team Big All-City football as a senior. Earned three varsity football letters, four track, one wrestling. Will play football at Abilene (Texas) Christian. Academics: Grade point average of 3.8. Senior class president. Elementary school mentor. College: Abilene (Texas) Christian Also nominated: Logan Jegelewicz, Zachary Moore PUTNAM CITY NORTH: KATRINA DWYER Athletics: Four-year state swimming qualifier. Honorable mention All-City. Will swim at Beloit (Wisc.) College. Academics: Scored 31 on ACT. Grade point average of 3.9. National Honor Society. Band. Received $100,000 President Scholarship from Beloit College. College: Beloit (Wisc.) College Also nominated: Casey Herndon, Dylan Rodolf PUTNAM CITY WEST: EASTON RODGERS Athletics: Oklahoma City Area Baseball Coaches Association All-Star. Four-year starter in baseball. Three-year starter in football. Academics: Weighted grade point average of 4.1. Scored 24 on ACT. National Honor Society. DECA. Mr. Patriot finalist. College choice: Undecided Also nominated: None SHAWNEE: GARRETT McDANIEL Athletics: State golf champion as a senior. Led team to first title since 1934. Coaches’ all-state. First-team All-City. Will play golf at Northeastern State. Academics: Grade point average of 3.9. National Honor Society. Junior Investor’s Challenge Team. Christmas Connection volunteer. College: Northeastern State Also nominated: None SOUTHEAST: PAULA CARDENAS Athletics: All-conference in cross country. Voted “most dedicated” by the soccer team. Three years varsity soccer, two years varsity cross country. Academics: Grade point average of 3.6. National Honor Society. Key Club. Business Professionals of America. Student council. College: Central Oklahoma Also nominated: None SOUTHWEST COVENANT: JOSH McMINN Athletics: Two-time first-team Little All-City and Class B All-State in basketball. First-team All-State baseball as a senior. Two-time first-team Little All-City. Will play baseball at Oral Roberts. Academics: Scored 29 on ACT. Grade point average of 3.5. Yearbook Club. College: Oral Roberts Also nominated: None TUTTLE: TYLER LESTER Athletics: Little All-City Player of the Year and Class 4A All-State in basketball as a senior. Led Tuttle to its first state appearance. Will play at Oklahoma Baptist. Academics: Scored 29 on ACT. National Honor Society. Alternative Education math tutor. College: Oklahoma Baptist Also nominated: Lexi Rumbaugh WASHINGTON: KAILEE ORR Athletics: First-team Little All-City in both softball and slow-pitch as senior. Won back-to-back state titles in both, too. Member of two state basketball teams. Academics: Scored 29 on ACT. Weighted grade point average of 4.3. National Honor Society president. Science Club. College: Oklahoma Also nominated: Kyler Barker WELLSTON: BEAU DANKER Athletics: Basketball team captain senior year. Earned four varsity letters. Started one season. Academics: Weighted grade point average of 4.1. National Honor Society. Class president. Family Career and Community Leaders of America vice president. Coached middle school basketball and little league soccer. College: Undecided Also nominated: None WESTERN HEIGHTS: ALI MIX Athletics: Coaches’ Class 5A all-state and honorable mention All-City in soccer as a senior. Will play at Bethany Lutheran (Minn.) College Academics: Ranked in top third of class. Class officer. Business Professionals of America officer. Choir. Elementary reading volunteer. College: Bethany Lutheran (Minn.) College Also nominated: None WESTMOORE: REBECCA RANDOLPH Athletics: Coaches’ all-state soccer as a senior. Two-time honorable mention All-City. Two-time cross country state qualifier. Will play soccer at Adams (Colo.) State. Academics: Scored 31 on ACT. Weighted grade point average of 4.6. Class officer. Scholastic Team. College: Adams (Colo.) State Also nominated: Calvin Miller, Savannah Waddell YUKON: KEEGAN MEYN Athletics: Reserve All-State, first-team Big All-City and coaches’ all-star in baseball as a senior. Two seasons varsity football. Will play baseball at Arkansas-Little Rock. Academics: Scored 28 on ACT. Weighted grade point average of 4.3. Ferguson Jenkins Outstanding Student-Athlete Award. College: Arkansas-Little Rock Also nominated: None
Jun 19, 2015
The best ride we’ve had all week came in a golf cart Thursday. We had just parked near downtown Annapolis, paying $10 to pull our rented Hyundai into a space hard by an inlet of Chesapeake Bay, and were walking down Compromise Street, toward the historic downtown. A guy in a golf cart pulled up […]
D.C. travelblog: The charming city of Annapolis
Berry Tramel | Jun 19, 2015[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2015/06/downtown-annapolis.jpg]3708475[/img] The best ride we've had all week came in a golf cart Thursday. We had just parked near downtown Annapolis, paying $10 to pull our rented Hyundai into a space hard by an inlet of Chesapeake Bay, and were walking down Compromise Street, toward the historic downtown. A guy in a golf cart pulled up and asked if we wanted a ride. We said sure, and he spent the next 10 minutes zipping us around. Drove us past Annapolis harbor. Went through downtown and told us the various places to eat. Went up the hill to the State House and showed us the government section. Detoured over to the Naval Academy and showed us where to enter as civilians on foot. Then he dropped us off back downtown at a lunch spot he had recommended. Maybe it wasn't 10 minutes. Maybe it was 12. But no more than that. I gave him a $10 tip and marveled already at Annapolis. Historic downtown. The Naval Academy. America's oldest state capitol still in legislative use. All bunched together in a quaint tip of Maryland. All within quick walking distance. It's kind of hard to explain. It's so different from the wide-open West. Annapolis has its open spaces. Navy-Marine Corps Stadium isn't on the academy's campus, for lack of room. But there on the point, sharing a precious few blocks by the waters that lead to the Atlantic, is all the charm and history a city can stand. DOWNTOWN ANNAPOLIS Annapolis is a city of some 38,000, though there are surrounding municipalities that swell the area population to a much greater number. Annapolis sits about 30 miles east of D.C. and 25 miles south of Baltimore, so don't get the idea that Annapolis is secluded. There are about nine million people within an hour's drive, so long as you're driving in the middle of the night and don't have any traffic. But Annapolis is secluded in spirit. It's a little bit of a throwback in time. Main Street stretches a few blocks and houses buildings a couple of hundred years old. It includes touristy shops and high-dollar clothing stores and capital-related enterprises and law offices and restaurants and bars. Annapolis calls itself America's Sailing Capital, though Newport, R.I., does the same, and the harbor now is virtually all pleasure boats. The streets jutting off Main also are quaint lanes full of antique stores and retail shops and government enterprises supporting the capital, since the State House is just up the hill not two blocks away. I'm trying to give you a mental picture of our part of the country. Imagine if Guthrie had remained the state capital, only with a more opulent state house, and the U.S. had placed the Air Force Academy where Jelsma Stadium is. And then put a huge bay of an ocean up against it all. And instead of springing up in 1889, it sprang up in 1689 (actually 1649). That's Annapolis. Just a charming place. Very crowded, mind you. And expensive. The median home value in Annapolis is $386,000, according to Zillow. The median home value in Norman is $148,200. So you get the idea. We started off our day with lunch. We had slept in, and by the time we found downtown and parked, it was almost noon. Our golf-cart tour guide dropped us off at Market House, which has been in business since 1788. It's a collection of businesses that combine to make what I would a massive deli. A fish counter that serves crabcake sandwiches. A salad bar. A sandwich shop. An ice cream counter. A falafel stand (falafels are Middle Eastern; a deep-fried, pita sandwich). A friend-chicken stand. I had a crab cake sandwich and a cup of crab soup. The dish had a cup of clam chowder. She was going to eat half my sandwich but didn't care for it. It was good, but expensive. Mine was $16. We later walked through downtown, on bricked streets, and the Dish bought a couple of items. People everywhere. One-way driving. Tourists and locals. But the best parts of Annapolis are not on Main Street. ANCHORS AWEIGH [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2015/06/navy-chapel.jpg]3708479[/img] The Naval Academy from the perimeter -- walking by the gates, or sailing past along the Severn River -- is nice but not gorgeous. You have to get in the middle to see the grandeur. And we did. We went to the Visitor's Center -- right next to the entrance is a vintage house that flew a Navy Brotherhood flag and an OKC Thunder flag -- and paid $10.50 each for a 75-minute walking tour of the campus. But you can stroll around yourself without the guide. Just go through security at the Visitor's Center, and you're in. I enjoyed the guide. I learned all kinds of things about the academy. Its history and its culture. The tour took us through the LeJeune Hall, which houses Navy aquatics plus the wrestling room. Every Midshipmen has to take classes in wrestling, boxing and judo, though I assume the varsity wrestlers get to test out. That building holds the Navy Athletic Hall of Fame and the two Heismans, won by Joe Bellino in 1958 and Roger Staubach in 1963. We walked through Dahlgren Hall, built as an armory and now used as a multi-purpose building. But still stately-looking. We walked into Bancroft Hall, billed as the largest dormitory in the world. All 4,400 Midshipmen, men and women, live at Bancroft, all four years. It looks like something out of Versailles from the outside and is as regal as one of the Smithsonian building in the U.S. Memorial Hall was closed to the public for renovation, but generally, tourists can walk into the midshipmen-maintained memorial to graduates who have died during military operations. Bancroft Hall serves all the Midshipmen's living requirements. Sleep there. Eat there. Clean clothes there. Purchase necessities there. Few Midshipmen are on campus this time of year, but during the school year, they meet for formation in front of Bancroft, which I'm sure is a sight to behold. Then they march into Bancroft's dining hall and stand at attention while announcements are made. They then take their seats, and within 2 1/2 minutes, all 4,400 Middies are served lunch. We did some quick math and figure it takes 400 civilians to serve a group that large that quickly. The most impressive building on campus at is the Naval Academy Chapel. Its dome is visible throughout Annapolis. The church, which serves both Protestant and Catholic Midshipmen, reminds me of the great Italian structures I saw in Rome. Fabulous architecture. Elaborate stain-glass. Ornate beauty. The chapel was featured on the U.S. postage stamp honoring the Academy's 150th anniversary in 1995. It seats more than 2,000 -- chapel attendance no longer is compelled at Navy, and a Jewish chapel has been built in recent years -- and is popular as a wedding venue for graduates. Midshipmen are not allowed to be married, but they often return for their nuptials -- but only an hour is allowed for the wedding. Which includes guests' arrival and departure. Below the chapel is the crypt of John Paul Jones, who died not only before we had a Naval Academy, but before we had a real Navy. Jones, a hero of the Revolutionary War, was a Scotsman who was eager to fight the British. He was a skilled sailor and led a variety of American sea battles, all victorious, against the superior British brigade. Jones died in 1792 and was buried in France, but more than a century later, the Academy campaigned to find his remains and have them brought to Annapolis. Now he's interred below the chapel in a crypt which serves as a mini-museum to Jones and home to opulent casket. STATE HOUSE SUPREME [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2015/06/maryland-state-house.jpg]3708480[/img] I've always been interested in state capitols -- both the city and the building. A few years ago, I ranked the appearance of the state houses I've seen. Probably need to update the rankings. Maryland's would rank high. Maryland's state house served as the U.S. capitol for 10 months from 1783-84. It's the oldest state house still in legislative use. It sits high on a steep hill not three blocks from downtown Annapolis, surrounded by vintage streets and businesses. A few modern government buildings stretch out down the street from the capitol, but many others are sprinkled throughout Annapolis' quaint corridors. The state house is grand inside and out. It was there that George Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief after the Revolutionary War, serving as the spark that we were not to be a monarchy. And the capitol's simplicity inside is fabulous. After winding up a sidewalk to reach the building atop the hill, you walk up 25 more steps to go in the front door. Security greets you, of course, but after clearing security, you're literally 20 steps from both the Senate chamber and the House chamber, which sit on opposite sides of the lobby. The chambers are tight quarters; the Maryland State Senate has 47 members, the Maryland House of Delegates has 141. And they serve in rooms that don't look large enough to house that many chairs and desks. It's all a very intimate setting. The old Senate chamber was open for viewing, too, on the main floor. It all seemed so much more accessible for visitors and voters than we have in Oklahoma. Of course, accessible after you arrive. Getting to Annapolis and parking is no easy thing. CHESAPEAKE BAY We took a boat ride out into Chesapeake Bay. Forty minutes, $15 each. Not a terrible price. We got to see a view of the Naval Academy you really can't see -- the academy sits at the mouth of the Severn River as it enters into the Bay. We viewed some fantastic houses that back up to the water. And we learned a little more history about the history of Annapolis. But it started raining on us the last half of the excursion, so we went down below deck and couldn't hear quite as well. KENT ISLAND [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2015/06/fishermans-inn.jpg]3708478[/img] For dinner, we drove over to Kent Island, which is 31 square miles and the largest island in Chesapeake Bay. It's the third-oldest English settlement in American, behind Jamestown and Plymouth. The island has a variety of unincorporated towns, with a total of 16,000 residents in the 2000 census. It's a haven for boaters and vacationers and the affluent. We found a seafood restaurant, Fisherman's Inn, that was very much like Mike's Crab House the night before in Annapolis. We sat outside by the water and had a seafood feast. It wasn't quite as good as Mike's but still enjoyable. I had some more of my new favorite food, crab soup, and a seafood medley of scallops, shrimp, flounder and crabcake. It was rather pricy, $29, but still good and worth it. It's about 18 miles from Annapolis to Kent Island. The only trouble is the Bay Bridge, a four-mile bridge high above Chesapeake Bay. My interest is not high in driving conditions in which I can plunge to my death. But we survived the four-mile bridge. Paid $6 to cross the bridge going, but there's no charge coming back. I guess they want to expedite the process during morning rush hour and make it up on the back end. NAVY-MARINE CORPS STADIUM [img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2015/06/navy-stadium1.jpg]3708476[/img] I’ve always wanted to attend a game at Navy and Army. I’ve campaigned both Joe Castiglione and Mike Holder to get the Sooners and Cowboys to schedule the service academies. Joe C. got a deal done with Army; the Sooners play at West Point in 2020. Holder was interested in the idea, too, but Navy is a little harder to schedule. But at least now I can say I’ve been to the Midshipmen’s field. Navy's historic football stadium is not on campus. It's not far, maybe a mile or so away in Annapolis, but we drove by it as the sun set, and lucky us, the lights were on. A youth lacrosse game had just been played there. So we got out and walked around. Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium seats 34,000, though as many as 38,000 have packed in. It hosts the Military Bowl and a professional lacrosse team. I liked it. Reminded me a little of Iowa State's Jack Trice Stadium in design. The seats are painted to spell out GO NAVY. And ringing the field are not the names of Navy heroes, but of Naval battles. Normandy. North Africa. Iwo Jima. Okinawa. If that doesn't get everyone's perspective lined up, I don't know what will.
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 17, 2015
NORMAN — Oklahoma picked up a commitment from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M cornerback Maurice Chandler on Wednesday. Chandler announced his commitment on Twitter. Chandler (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) also held offers from Arizona State, Louisville, Missouri, Nebraska and TCU. The former Lawton High standout originally signed with Texas Tech out of high school. Chandler becomes the sixth commitment...
Oklahoma football: NEO cornerback Maurice Chandler commits to Sooners
Jason Kersey | Jun 17, 2015NORMAN — Oklahoma picked up a commitment from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M cornerback Maurice Chandler on Wednesday. Chandler announced his commitment on Twitter. Chandler (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) also held offers from Arizona State, Louisville, Missouri, Nebraska and TCU. The former Lawton High standout originally signed with Texas Tech out of high school. Chandler becomes the sixth commitment for the Sooners’ 2016 signing class, and is the second NEO player to commit to OU this summer. Defensive end Austin Roberts committed and became a late addition to the 2015 class earlier this month.
Jun 16, 2015
Oklahoma offensive lineman Ty Darlington is not worried about the possible distraction with the return of linebacker Frank Shannon and running back Joe Mixon to the team after one-year suspensions stemming from allegations of violence against women. In fact, he thinks it will drive the Sooners. “I don’t think so,” Darlington said. “I think that now we’re focused, we’re ready to go. If anything,...
Scholar Athlete Awards: OU's Ty Darlington says time for Sooners to cast aside distractions
By Erik Horne and Jacob UnruhStaff Writers | Jun 16, 2015Oklahoma offensive lineman Ty Darlington is not worried about the possible distraction with the return of linebacker Frank Shannon and running back Joe Mixon to the team after one-year suspensions stemming from allegations of violence against women. In fact, he thinks it will drive the Sooners. “I don’t think so,” Darlington said. “I think that now we’re focused, we’re ready to go. If anything, I think that we’re just motivated by everything. All of the potential distractions, I think it’s just time for us to cast them aside and focus in.” Darlington was honored as OU’s recipient of the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete award at Tuesday’s 31st annual All Sports Scholar Athlete Awards luncheon. Afterward, he spoke of how the team welcomed both players back. He said both have been impressive in workouts and he was particularly happy to see Shannon back with the team. “I love Frank Shannon, man,” Darlington said. “We missed him last year and I think the whole team — just beyond as a player, but as a person — we’re happy to have him back. He’s a brother and he’s family. We got to welcome one back in that wasn’t able to be with us for a year.” Shannon was accused of sexually assaulting a female student at his off-campus apartment in January 2014. He was never charged criminally, but was suspended for one year after a university Title IX investigation. Mixon was involved in an altercation with a female OU student that turned violent and ended with Mixon punching her and breaking multiple bones in her face in July 2014. He was suspended for the entire season. MORE AWARDS TO COME FOR OSU'S RUDOLPH? As Mason Rudolph took his place in a line of award recipients at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame on Tuesday, he and Bedlam football rival Darlington gave each other a slight head nod and a smile. Darlington, a decorated OU senior offensive lineman, is going into his last season with the Sooners, but Rudolph is just beginning what appears to be a budding career with Oklahoma State. While he's been touted as a darkhorse Heisman Trophy candidate entering this season, Rudolph received the first true hardware of his OSU career at the 31st Annual All-Sports Scholar Athlete Awards Luncheon. The 6-foot-4 quarterback was named one of 10 state school players honored as College Players of the Year by the Oklahoma chapter of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame. The award highlights student athletes who "have excelled on the playing field, in their classrooms and in their communities." "I'm only a rising sophomore, so I haven't really done a lot to receive a whole lot," Rudolph said. "I'm very honored. Obviously, it's an incredible award and, like you mentioned, Ty (Darlington) he's a great guy. I've gotten to know him pretty well. It's a great group of guys seems like, and an overall great afternoon." Based on the end of his season with OSU, leading the Cowboys to consecutive wins in Bedlam against OU and in the Cactus Bowl against Washington, there's more hardware in the future for Rudolph. "I think the whole team has done a great job of really getting after it this offseason," Rudolph said. "Winter program went great, spring practice went great. We're fired up and looking forward to bigger things this fall." Along with Rudolph and Darlington, the following state school players were honored as their school's recipient of the College Player of the Year award: Landon Chappell, University of Central Oklahoma; Chace Green, Langston University; Tanner Hallford, Oklahoma Panhandle State University; William House, Southern Nazarene University; Justin Schanbacher, Northwestern Oklahoma State University; Garrett Stafford, University of Tulsa; Ty Watkins, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College; Cole Weber, East Central University. MCGINNIS MEETS SWITZER FOR FIRST TIME Former Heritage Hall quarterback Connor McGinnis had a chance to meet legendary coach Barry Switzer and was surprised to learn Switzer remembered him from a high school game two years ago. “That was really cool,” McGinnis said. “He said a few really nice things about me. I guess he came to watch one of our games — the Casady game two years ago. “Just the fact that he came and he took his time to come out and watch one of our games and to remember me two years later that means a lot.” McGinnis is a 6-foot-5 dual-threat quarterback who is walking on for the Sooners. He was honored at the luncheon as the Jim Thorpe Player of the Year and also a runner-up in The Oklahoman’s Bob Colon Scholarships. After leading Heritage Hall to the Class 3A state championship last season, some questions remained as to whether he would play quarterback, receiver or defensive back in college. He’s working to address those issues by cleaning up his throwing motion. “Going to the college level everything is much quicker, so making my release quick enough for the college level,” McGinnis said. JIM THORPE WINNERS HONORED The annual Jim Thorpe Player of the Year Award winners were honored at the banquet. Winners include Edmond Memorial’s Colin Simpson (baseball); Deer Creek’s Dakota Vann (girls basketball) and Owasso’s Shake Milton (boys basketball); Henryetta’s Daisy VanMeter (girls cross country) and Norman North’s Ben Barrett (boys cross country); Jenks’ Mackenzie Medders (girls golf) and Edmond North’s Tyson Reeder (boys golf); Jenks’ Marlo Zoller (girls soccer) and Heritage Hall’s Garrett McLaughlin (boys soccer); Edmond North’s Ally Robertson (girls swimming) and Norman North’s Justin Wu (boys swimming); Southmoore’s Jordan Henry (girls tennis) and Mount St. Mary’s Blake Crawford (boys tennis); Vinita’s Carsyn Spurgeon (girls track) and Westmoore’s Calvin Miller (boys track); Elgin’s Jentry Holt (volleyball); and Stillwater’s Joe Smith (wrestling).
Jun 15, 2015
Former Oklahoma football star and current Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy gathered a few of his Sooner teammates on Saturday to help conduct a football camp in Oklahoma City. McCoy was joined by Reggie Smith, Jeremy Beal, Keenan Clayton and Adrian Taylor. Former Sooner and two-time All-American wide receiver Mark Clayton was also at the camp. McCoy says the bond...
Oklahoma football: Gerald McCoy joined by former OU teammates at football camp
BY JOHN WALKER Staff Writer email@example.com | Jun 15, 2015Former Oklahoma football star and current Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy gathered a few of his Sooner teammates on Saturday to help conduct a football camp in Oklahoma City. McCoy was joined by Reggie Smith, Jeremy Beal, Keenan Clayton and Adrian Taylor. Former Sooner and two-time All-American wide receiver Mark Clayton was also at the camp. McCoy says the bond established as teammates extends beyond playing on Saturdays in Norman. "We're all just a family," McCoy said. "Even after we leave OU, we're still a family." McCoy also came with a few of his Tampa Bay teammates, including All-Pro linebacker Lavonte David. McCoy represented the Buccaneers with a bright red patch on the left side of his hair. In the midst of former OU football and current Tampa Bay players, one of the few athletes who had not been a Sooner or Buccaneer is Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan. The 6-foot-3 edge rusher from Georgia Tech developed a more personable bond when Morgan and McCoy spent a week in Rwanda as part of Pros for Africa, a non-profit organization based in Oklahoma City. A few years later, Morgan attended one of McCoy's most momentous occasions. "He was at my wedding," McCoy said. "He is one of my closest friends." McCoy returned to his old stomping grounds in Oklahoma City to host a boys and girls camp on Saturday. The three-time Pro Bowler conducted his second annual football camp at Webster Middle School. The Oklahoma City native's primary goal was to give back to the community that raised him growing up. “You never want to forget where you came from,” said McCoy, who played high school ball at Southeast. Despite the muddy field and drizzle, children were in high spirits as they participated in various football-related activities throughout the morning. “Man, these kids don’t care about weather or anything like that,” McCoy said. “They just want to have fun.”
Demeco Wright, Midwest City Event: 100 meters Class: Senior The story: The speedster, who also played a vital role for the Bomber football team, took third at state with a time of 10.74. Robert Charlton, Edmond Memorial Event: 200 meters Class: Senior The story: One of the state’s fastest athletes the last two years, Charlton medaled at state in the 100 and 200, taking silver in the 200...
High schools: Boys Big All-City Track first-team athlete capsules
BY SCOTT WRIGHT | Jun 15, 2015Demeco Wright, Midwest City Event: 100 meters Class: Senior The story: The speedster, who also played a vital role for the Bomber football team, took third at state with a time of 10.74. Robert Charlton, Edmond Memorial Event: 200 meters Class: Senior The story: One of the state’s fastest athletes the last two years, Charlton medaled at state in the 100 and 200, taking silver in the 200 at 22.18. He turned down Division I football offers to run track at Central Arkansas. Malique Lytle, Shawnee Event: 400 meters Class: Senior The story: Previously an 800 specialist, the Iowa State signee jumped into the open 400 and won state in both, with a 400 time of 48.90 and 800 time of 1:52.79. Calvin Miller, Westmoore Event: 800 meters Class: Senior The story: The Oklahoma signee nearly broke the 800-meter state record earlier in the year with a 1:51.83 and capped his season with a state meet victory in 1:54.98. Bryce Balenseifen, Deer Creek Event: 1,600 meters Class: Senior The story: Headed to Oklahoma State, Balenseifen won three golds and a silver at state, completing his career with four team championships in track and four more in cross country. He won the Class 5A 1,600 in 4:22.35 Athlete of the Year Ben Barrett, Norman North Event: 3,200 meters Class: Senior The story: The North Carolina State signee won the 1,600 and 3,200 at 6A state, but more impressively, he set the state record in both events. He ran 4:09.97 in the 1,600 in late April and ran 8:59.97 in the 3,200 at the Meet of Champions. Micah Fontaine, Edmond Memorial Event: 110 hurdles Class: Senior The story: The gifted hurdler won the state meet with a time of 14.02, less than two-tenths of a second off the state record. Clarence Simpkins, Moore Event: 300 hurdles Class: Senior The story: A top contender all year long, Simpkins ran a 38.66 to win state, following a third-place finish in the 110 hurdles. Vernon Turner, Yukon Event: High jump Class: Sophomore The story: In front of his hometown crowd at state, the Yukon youngster cleared 6- feet, 8-inches to win gold. Cassius Hill, Westmoore Event: Long jump Class: Senior The story: Went out with a gold medal at state with a jump of 23-feet, 41/2-inches. Christian Patterson, Shawnee Event: Pole vault Class: Sophomore The story: Despite matching the previous 5A state meet record, Patterson had to settle for a silver medal with a vault of 15-feet, 6-inches. Jude Richardson, Norman North Event: Shot put Class: Junior The story: The powerful junior claimed gold with a throw of 53-feet, 73/4-inches. Mark Bryant, Edmond Memorial Event: Discus Class: Junior The story: Continuing a line of strong Bulldog throwers, Bryant won state with a toss of 170 feet. Coach of the Year Chris Lowrey, Edmond Memorial The story: Edmond Memorial faced a new obstacle seemingly at every turn at the state meet, but Lowrey kept his team focused through injuries and mistakes to come out with the Class 6A title.
Jun 9, 2015
Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph could be the next Brandon Weeden or the next West Lunt. Time will tell.
Is OSU's Mason Rudolph the next Brandon Weeden or the next Wes Lunt?
By BERRY TRAMEL | Jun 9, 2015STILLWATER — Optimism abounds over OSU football 2015, much of it rooted in Master Mason Rudolph. Hero of the Cactus Bowl. Bedlam victor. Patron Saint of Lost Causes after his first college start, in Waco. Can’t really blame anyone in the stands, on the field or in the pressbox for such euphoria. Rudolph, as a true freshman, looked like the real deal against good competition. But is it’s too early to tell if Rudolph will be the next Brandon Weeden or if he’ll be the next Wes Lunt. Either seems possible, since Rudolph still is one month shy of his 20th birthday and has taken all of 205 college snaps. “He’s only played in three games,” Mike Gundy said. But even Gundy acknowledges it was quite the three games. A put-up-a-fight defeat at Baylor. A stirring win in Norman. A commanding performance against Washington out in the bowl game. Without so much as an inkling that he might play until a few days before going to Waco, Rudolph was impressive. Stunningly impressive. “I don’t know if stunned’s the right word,” offensive tackle Zach Crabtree said. “I kind of thought, ‘He’s a heck of a player. He’s made a lot of plays.’” Most analysis of a raw quarterback’s future is dicey. But OSU is in an interesting place: 2 1/2 seasons before Rudolph took the reins, another true freshman QB did the same. The situations of Lunt and Rudolph weren’t exact. Lunt was proclaimed the starter in April 2012, right after spring practice and before his high school class had staged its graduation, and thus went through an entire off-season as the anointed leader. Rudolph’s rise to the top was sudden, after Daxx Garman’s concussion suffered against Texas. And the OSU offenses of 2012 and 2014 weren’t congruent. The 2012 Cowboys were rebuilding to some degree. The 2014 Cowboys were wiped out, particularly on the offensive line. Lunt had Joe Randle at tailback; Rudolph most certainly did not. Still, enough similarities exist to create a solid comparison. Discounting the Savannah State opener, a non-competitive game if ever there was one, Lunt made three starts before losing his job to injury and eventually transferring. Lunt in those three games played competition similar to Rudolph’s trio. Lunt lost at Arizona 59-38, beat TCU 36-14 in Stillwater and lost 44-30 at Kansas State. A Big 12 champ in KSU (just like Rudolph faced at Baylor) and two other bowl teams. One notable difference, of course, was the stage. Rudolph, who has yet to take a snap in a home game, held up in an arch-rival game like Bedlam. How did they fare? Rudolph actually has better numbers, with much less preparation time. Rudolph, for all intents and purposes, was the No. 3 quarterback last August, then still got limited practice time backing up Garman. Yet in those three games, Rudolph’s numbers were 57 percent completions, 284.3 yards per game, six touchdowns and four interceptions. Lunt in his three games had 58.4 percent completions, 314.7 yards per game, six TDs and seven interceptions. One Cowboy receiver was around for both freshman debuts. David Glidden, who will be a senior in 2015, played on both the ’12 and ’14 Cowboy teams. Glidden’s assessment: “Quite a few similarities. Both big guys. Pretty composed. For being so young and put in those situations, they both kept their cool and stayed pretty composed overall. That to me was one of the biggest similarities. Very impressive to see out of a young guy. Both real level-headed kids. “They both got a little style to ‘em. Wes is probably little more of a true pocket passer. Mase has that about him, but I think he likes to get out and make plays on his own and show he can move around a little bit. He’s not afraid to get out of the pocket, run for a first down, break a tackle. Whatever it may be.” Lunt transferred to Illinois in 2013, after growing discouraged with the quarterback situation and his relationship with Gundy. Last season, Lunt played reasonably well as a third-year sophomore with the Illini; 14 touchdown passes, three interceptions, 63.5 percent completions. He was injured again, but there’s reason to believe he will be a good Big Ten quarterback. Lunt was not the Cowboys’ next Weeden, and I don’t think he’ll be to Illinois what Weeden was to OSU. All-Big 12. First-round draft pick. Quarterback of the 2011 Cowboys conference championship team. Will Rudolph? Too early to tell. But it looks quite promising. Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.
Jun 4, 2015
Natural curiosity. But the answer will not determine the Sooners’ fortunes in 2015. The key to OU football this season is not who, but how. Move the w to the back of the word. How will the quarterback play, no matter who it is?
Quarterback mystery is paramount in the minds of Sooner Nation
By Berry Tramel | Jun 4, 2015DALLAS — From the back of the room in Prestonwood Country Club, a man in a crimson OU shirt yelled out a question. “Who’s your quarterback?” Bob Stoops responded, “Hey, Bud, go to the restroom again.” Don’t worry, Stoops hadn’t lost his manners at the OU Caravan pep rally Thursday night. The guy really was Bud — Bud Hebert, who played safety for the Sooners in the 1970s and now is a long-time friend of Stoops who doesn’t mind being a rabble-rouser. But Hebert spoke for the room. The quarterback mystery is paramount in the minds of Sooner Nation. Baker Mayfield or Trevor Knight or even Cody Thomas? Natural curiosity. But the answer will not determine the Sooners’ fortunes in 2015. The key to OU football this season is not who, but how. Move the w to the back of the word. How will the quarterback play, no matter who it is? Truth is, OU still has some talent, despite an 8-5 record last season. The Sooners went into October with national championship aspirations and limped out of December with the most depressed status of the Stoops era. But that doesn’t mean the shelves are empty. The offensive tackles are untested, and the receiving corps has been disappointing, and the defensive backs were burned a time or two dozen last season. But there still are good ballplayers in Norman. Samaje Perine, Zack Sanchez, Eric Striker, Sterling Shepard, Charles Tapper, Nila Kasitati, even the returned-from-exile Frank Shannon. That’s some upper-tier talent. All but Shannon were around last season, along with six players taken in the NFL Draft — Blake Bell, Geneo Grissom, Jordan Phillips, Aaron Ripkowski, Tyrus Thompson and Daryl Williams. That’s a solid foundation for a football team. “I think it’s really good,” Stoops said of the OU talent base. “And we have good players coming up, even young guys. For instance, true freshman a year ago Jordan Thomas, had his good moments, had his bad moments. But true freshman, that’s what you’ll usually get. He’ll be better this year.” But will the quarterbacking? Without strong quarterback play, a 21st-century football team is adrift at sea. Knight, the hero of the Alabama conquest in the Sugar Bowl, was spotty in 2014. Knight didn’t produce nearly enough big plays to offset the game-changing interceptions he threw against TCU and Kansas State. Off came the wheels. OU went from fourth in the nation to a three-way tie for fourth in the Big 12. If the Sooners get better quarterbacking, the 2015 season gets interesting real fast. If not, it gets old with the same speed. “For any team, college, high school, NFL, so much of it directly reflects on the quarterback,” Stoops said Thursday night. “It’s quarterback play. The guy handles the ball every play. His decisions make a major difference.” Certainly did in 2014, which is why most of us believe Mayfield will be the quarterback. No one really has any idea how he will play as a Sooner, but we’ve seen enough of Knight to know it’s time to see how Mayfield will do. Because despite what was shown against Baylor and Clemson, 34-point defeats both, Stoops has some ballplayers on campus. What he really needs now is a quarterback. Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.
Jun 3, 2015
NORMAN — Oklahoma freshman tight end signee Dalton Wood will report to the Sooners tonight, according to his high school coach. Wood (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) is from McAlester. He was a quarterback for most of his high school career, but was recruited by the Sooners as a tight end. He threw for 1,845 yards and […]
Oklahoma football: McAlester's Dalton Wood will report to OU on Wednesday night
Jason Kersey | Jun 3, 2015NORMAN -- Oklahoma freshman tight end signee Dalton Wood will report to the Sooners tonight, according to his high school coach. Wood (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) is from McAlester. He was a quarterback for most of his high school career, but was recruited by the Sooners as a tight end. He threw for 1,845 yards and 27 touchdowns with only three interceptions as a senior at McAlester, and rushed for 1,198 yards and 20 touchdowns. He missed most of his sophomore and junior seasons with various health problems. Heart surgery to fix a rare birth defect cost him his sophomore season, and he broke his ankle in the middle of his junior year. As of Wednesday afternoon, Wood hadn't reported to Norman yet, although he was supposed to report days earlier. That led to some concern that he might be having a change of heart, but former McAlester coach Bryan Pratt -- who has since taken another job in Arkansas -- said in a text message to The Oklahoman that he would be in Norman by Wednesday evening.
May 30, 2015
Alabama’s Nick Saban wants the NCAA to ban football ‘satellite camps’. Unsurprisingly, Bob Stoops disagrees.
OU football: Bob Stoops has positive view of football camps
BY RYAN ABER, Staff Writer | May 30, 2015NORMAN — Bob Stoops has poked at the Southeastern Conference a few times in the past couple of years. Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh has taken Stoops’ place as the SEC’s antagonist this summer. And he’s not doing it from Ann Arbor. Harbaugh is taking his show on the road this month as he and the Wolverines coaches work camps in seven states — including in Alabama and Texas in SEC country. The tour has reignited debate about coaches working “satellite camps” — camps hosted by lower-level schools or even high schools where coaches from out-of-state Division I programs work as guest coaches. About eight years ago, the NCAA limited programs to hosting camps either within 50 miles of their campus or in the school’s home state. That barred Stoops’ Sooners from hosting camps in Texas and any place other than the Sooner State. That led to a work-around. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have been aggressive in partnering with other schools to work camps officially hosted by the smaller programs. The SEC and the ACC went a step further than the NCAA in prohibiting its coaches from working satellite camps. Now, the SEC is calling for its rule to go nationwide. “If we’re going to compete for the championship and everybody is going to play in the playoff system and everybody is going to compete for that, we need to get our rules in alignment so we’re all on a level playing field, whether they’re transfer rules, whether they’re satellite camp rules,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said recently during the SEC meetings. “It’s a disadvantage not to be able to do something in one league and be able to do it in another.” Of course, nobody forced the SEC to pass its more restrictive rule aimed at keeping conference teams from poaching each other. Stoops said he hasn’t paid much attention to the recent furor. “I haven't heard what their points are,” Stoops said. “I'm sure they don't want anybody going into their recruiting area or their home base, but that's just the way it is.” The Cowboys have teamed with Mary Hardin-Baylor, a Division III program in Belton, Texas, for seven years. OSU coaches will work Mary Hardin-Baylor camps beginning Thursday in Belton — about midway between Waco and Austin — and continuing through the next few days in Dallas, the Houston area, San Antonio and east Texas. Oklahoma has teamed up with several schools in recent years including McMurry University, where Hal Mumme coached from 2009-12. This summer, the Sooners’ partners include Sam Houston State. OU coaches will work Bearkats’ camps this month in the Dallas and Houston areas. “I think it’s a positive thing,” Stoops told The Oklahoman. “We’ve had positive experiences with it. I don't know how much of an advantage it really gives you recruiting wise, but even just being able to bring the University of Oklahoma somewhere, or whatever university it is. You’re not making people have to come, so being able to bring your product somewhere, and people get to work with you is positive for those young people.” The camps haven’t directly had a big impact on recruiting, it would appear. Josh McCuistion, who covers OU recruiting for SoonerScoop.com, said he can remember just one recruit from the camps that wound up at OU in recent years — and that recruit grew up an OU fan. “Did that really sway anything?” McCuistion asked. “I don’t know. I really struggle to believe that. “I understand why it’s kind of a hot-button topic but to me I’d be very surprised if there are more than 20 or 30 kids a year in the thousands that sign college football letters of intent that end up making their decision based on it or that it was the catalyst behind the start of the interest.”
May 27, 2015
NORMAN — Oklahoma’s quarterback derby is down to three. Redshirt freshman quarterback Justice Hansen announced Wednesday that he will transfer. He released a statement on Twitter. News of Hansen’s transfer was first reported by SoonerScoop.com. Hansen, a former Edmond Santa Fe standout, signed with OU in the 2014 recruiting class and redshirted last season. He […]
Bob Stoops issues statement on Justice Hansen, says no transfer restrictions in place
Jason Kersey | May 27, 2015[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2015/05/Justice-Hansen.jpg]3679819[/img] NORMAN — Oklahoma’s quarterback derby is down to three. Redshirt freshman Justice Hansen will transfer, he announced in a Wednesday statement released on Twitter. “I have done a lot of thinking, talking with friends and family, and most importantly, praying,” Hansen said in the statement. “In the end I feel it is in my best interest to move on from the University of Oklahoma and continue my football career elsewhere. “The university was a great experience and I appreciate the opportunity I had to proudly represent it. I wish nothing but the best for OU in the future.” Hansen, a former Edmond Santa Fe standout, competed throughout the spring with juniors Trevor Knight and Baker Mayfield and sophomore Cody Thomas to be the Sooners’ starting quarterback in 2015. Based on last month’s spring game, though, Hansen was clearly fourth in the pecking order. He only attempted five passes, compared to 13 for Knight and Mayfield and 12 for Thomas. His transfer leaves Knight, Mayfield and Thomas as the Sooners’ only scholarship quarterbacks for 2015. Former Heritage Hall standout Connor McGinnis will walk on this fall as a true freshman, but Oklahoma did not sign a quarterback in the recruiting class of 2015. The Sooners already have a commitment, though, for 2016 from Austin Kendall, a four-star prospect from Waxhaw, N.C. Kendall is ranked as the 2016 recruiting class’ No. 27 overall by Rivals. Knight started 10 games last season, but was inconsistent and played very poorly in the Sooners’ Russell Athletic Bowl loss to Clemson. Thomas started the other three games while Knight recovered from a neck injury. Mayfield sat out last year after transferring from Texas Tech, and is considered by many to be the favorite in the Sooners’ ongoing quarterback battle, which Bob Stoops has said will continue into fall camp. Wednesday evening, Stoops issued a statement confirming Hansen’s decision, and said he won’t place any restrictions on his transfer. “We have met with Justice and certainly understand his desire to explore options that might provide him with more opportunity,” Stoops said in the statement. “He has our full support. He has been an outstanding team member and will make someone a good quarterback.” Hansen signed with OU in the 2014 recruiting class and redshirted last season. He chose the Sooners over offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Kansas State, Ole Miss, Missouri and Texas A&M. After impressive sophomore and junior high school seasons — which both ended in district championships — Hansen missed five games of his senior season with a high ankle sprain. Hansen’s father, Dusty, was part of Oklahoma’s 1994 national championship baseball team. With Wednesday’s news, Hansen becomes the fifth player to leave the OU football program since the end of last season. Running backs David Smith and Keith Ford and tight end Taylor McNamara all transferred, and wide receiver K.J. Young was dismissed for team rules violations. More from NewsOK Ten things to know about Justice Hansen
May 26, 2015
Yukon’s promotion of Brian Sauser from offensive coordinator to head coach wasn’t the only notable coaching change in which the successor was found within the program. Here are three other high-profile positions in the Oklahoma City metro area that were filled by promoting someone already on staff: Edmond Santa Fe: Lance Manning’s decision to get out of coaching opened the door at one of the...
High school football: Promoting from within
By Scott Wright | May 26, 2015Yukon’s promotion of Brian Sauser from offensive coordinator to head coach wasn’t the only notable coaching change in which the successor was found within the program. Here are three other high-profile positions in the Oklahoma City metro area that were filled by promoting someone already on staff: Edmond Santa Fe: Lance Manning’s decision to get out of coaching opened the door at one of the metro area’s top programs, and the Wolves had plenty of good candidates to choose from. The school district took less than a month to settle on Kyle White to replace his mentor. White had been on Manning’s coaching staff for 14 straight seasons. Heritage Hall: The transition from one Bogert to another actually began last year, when longtime Charger coach Andy Bogert named his son, Brett, his co-head coach. Andy already announced before the season that it would be his last, and following Heritage Hall’s Class 3A championship run, he left the program in his son’s hands. Norman North: Wade Standley left to take the Ada job, and after a six-week search, Norman North decided to hand the program to offensive coordinator Brent Barnes. Having served as the Timberwolves’ offensive coordinator the previous five seasons, and working as an assistant at Tulsa Union before that, Barnes seems primed to put his own stamp on a program that has several talented players in the upcoming senior class.
May 23, 2015
The young man who 17 months ago leaned across the table at a popular Mexican restaurant and whispered to tell his best friend his deepest secret is now the first openly gay, NCAA Division I athlete to publicly announce his marriage.
How OU pole vaulter Tanner Williams went from scared teenager to fearless gay rights advocate
By Jason Kersey | May 23, 2015NORMAN — In Tanner Williams’ worst nightmare, he is standing on the ledge of a tall building with no fence, nothing to lean on and nothing to clutch. “I have the biggest fear of falling,” he said. Tanner always felt like he was falling into a pit of despair during his adolescent years. Middle school bullies snickered and used gay slurs because of Tanner’s quiet personality. Pastors and family members spoke with hostility about homosexuality because it “disgusted” them. All of that made a torturous identity crisis even worse, until a sport that required Tanner to confront his greatest fear pulled him out of it. Today, the person who as a sixth grader was afraid of falling is a pole vaulter for the University of Oklahoma. The boy who in a desperate cry for help handed his grandmother a slip of paper that said, “This world isn’t for me” has now authored an essay and will appear in upcoming video to provide hope for others. The young man who 17 months ago leaned across the table at a popular Mexican restaurant and whispered to tell his best friend his deepest secret is now the first openly gay, NCAA Division I athlete to publicly announce his marriage. Tanner just completed his junior season as an OU pole vaulter — finishing 11th at last week’s Big 12 Outdoor Championships — but he’s also become much more vocal in speaking out about gay rights over the past few months. This all comes as OU leaders are making diversity and tolerance top priorities after a racist fraternity chant became a national firestorm, and the United States Supreme Court weighs the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans. “People should be true to who they are, because that will make your life so much easier, so much better, so much happier,” Tanner said. “There are no secrets. There’s no stress over secrets. That’s how I live my life now.” Growing up He grew up Tanner Callihan, living with his grandparents and his single mother in Ardmore. He didn’t see his father often, and the relationship wasn’t a close one. You could find Tanner and his family every Sunday in a pew inside a small, Southern Baptist church, where the pastor sermonized that parishioners shouldn’t laugh at “Will and Grace” — a sitcom about a gay man and his best friend — because homosexuality isn’t funny. Some family members refused to watch popular talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres. Tanner struggled to understand himself as he reached his pre-teen years and began to feel different. He was always quiet in school, and because of that, was bullied and called gay slurs. Things got so bad that Tanner, as a middle schooler, wrote a letter to his family. He sat on the front porch with his grandmother and handed her the suicide note, telling her, “You’d better take this from me now before I have to use it myself.” He never told her the biggest reason for his suicidal thoughts, but a long drive around town and his grandmother’s comforting words helped. Pole vaulting, though, above almost everything else changed his outlook. In sixth grade, Tanner was a tall, skinny kid who could jump high and run fast. One coach said those attributes might make him successful at pole vaulting, so he gave it a try. And hated it. “It was not a successful endeavor at first,” said Johni Bell, Tanner’s track coach at Plainview. Tanner worked at it, though. Through repetition, he got used to greater heights — helping deal with his fear of falling — and started to see some results in seventh grade as his upper-body strength improved. “That’s when it started getting fun,” Tanner said. It also became an escape. He devoted himself to pole vaulting and found it therapeutic while he continued to struggle with his sexual orientation. Tanner’s grandparents paid for him to attend camps and have a personal vault coach. They also sprung for poles — Tanner went through five in high school — costing $800 apiece. That dedication and support resulted in two Class 3A state championships and an OU scholarship offer. As a high school senior, Tanner began to accept that he is gay. Telling anyone was a couple years off. Coming out On the evening of Dec. 12, 2013, Tanner invited Alex Morgan — his OU track teammate and best friend — to eat at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop on Campus Corner because he needed to tell her something. As they sat at a table, he leaned toward her and whispered the bombshell: He is gay and had met someone. At the time, Morgan hadn’t really formed a strong opinion about gay rights either way. All the Ventura, Calif., native really knew was that she loved her friend and wanted him to be happy. “As soon I found out about him, it completely made me realize that it doesn’t change the person,” Morgan said. The next person he told was his mother, who Tanner said had a hard time with the news before becoming 100 percent supportive after a short time. After hearing Tanner’s secret, Morgan was most interested in meeting Scott Williams, whom Tanner had secretly been dating since they met through friends at the Sept. 7, 2013, OU football home game against West Virginia. After dating for about eight months, Tanner and Scott decided they wanted to get married, even though gay marriage remained illegal in Oklahoma. The two agreed to announce their engagement publicly on Facebook the next day, but that’s when Tanner started to get cold feet. He had gone to the OU student-athlete academic center to work on a history paper, but instead sat with his thumb hovering above his iPhone touch screen. He thought he was finally comfortable with the world knowing his deepest secret. Until that moment, when as he stared at the words “Engaged to Scott Williams,” he began having second thoughts about posting them to Facebook. Was he truly ready for everyone to learn what only his mother and a few close friends knew? As Tanner wavered, a little red notification popped up at the bottom of the screen, then came a text message from Scott. “I already did it,” the text read. Scott grew up in Roland, near the Oklahoma-Arkansas border. He always had an easier time dealing with his sexuality. One night a few years before he met Tanner, he decided he was tired of lying and losing sleep over his sexual orientation, so he got out his phone and called everyone, one-by-one, just to get it over with. For Tanner, the simple act of pressing a button on his phone to tell the world that he is gay was an agonizing ordeal. Almost immediately after the Facebook post went live, Tanner started getting messages and phone calls from friends and family, many of whom wondered if it was all a big joke. He was most concerned with how the news would be received by his conservative family members and his OU track teammates. “I was kind of nervous about that,” Morgan said, “but actually a lot of guys on the team were more accepting than we imagined. Some of the guys we thought would be rude to him actually were some of the most accepting.” His grandparents — 78-year old Jack Hill and 72-year old Lynda Hill, who helped Tanner through his suicidal episode all those years ago — have been among the most supportive family members, Tanner said. Tanner said not everyone back in Ardmore has been as accepting, although Johni Bell, his high school track coach who is now an assistant principal at Plainview High, said she hasn’t heard anyone make negative comments. “We do live in the Bible Belt, though, and there’s no need to sugarcoat that,” she said. “You learn to love the person. You learn to appreciate the person. The people I’m around can separate those two things, because Tanner’s still Tanner. He will always be Tanner. That’s not going to change.” Living free Eleven days after announcing his engagement, Tanner pole vaulted a personal record 17 feet and finished fifth at the 2014 Big 12 outdoor track and field championships in Lubbock, Texas. He attributes that success to feeling free from the burden of keeping his long-held secret and to his teammates’ and coaches’ support. A little over a month later, on June 16, 2014, Tanner and Scott got up at 5 a.m., jumped in Tanner’s red SUV and drove 553 miles to Santa Fe, N.M., to get married. Gay marriage had become legal in New Mexico through a state supreme court decision six months earlier, and wouldn’t become legal in Oklahoma for another four months. A judge and two witnesses — who worked in the Santa Fe Municipal Court — made their union official in about a 10-minute ceremony. After a three-day honeymoon in Santa Fe, they returned home, but not before stopping at a Social Security office to have Tanner’s last name legally changed from Callihan to Williams. But a last name isn’t Scott’s only attribute that now applies to Tanner. “Tanner used to be very self-conscious and careful about things he did and said, and Scott does not care what people think about him,” Morgan said. “That’s one thing I love about their relationship, because I’ve seen Tanner stand up for himself.” He wrote an essay last month for Outsports.com detailing his marriage, his Christian faith and how he’s been treated on the OU campus. And earlier this month, Tanner recorded a video for the It Gets Better Project, which was created in 2010 in response to a series of suicides by teenagers struggling with their sexuality. Outsports.com — a 15-year-old website co-founded and run by Jim Buzinski and Cyd Zeigler — has been an outlet for young gay athletes to share their stories. Tanner reached out to Buzinski after reading the story of gay Colorado State cross country runner Andrew Goodman. “It’s much more positive than it was five years, 10 years, 15 years ago,” Buzinski said of the level of acceptance for gay athletes on campuses. “It’s much more the norm for people to know someone in their life who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. They’re not afraid of them anymore. There’s not as much of a fear.” Recent polls have shown more than half the country supports same-sex marriage, an issue the United States Supreme Court is set to rule on sometime next month. Still, that increasing acceptance hasn’t eliminated the struggles that come with being a young gay person, and now that Tanner is comfortable speaking publicly about his life, he wants to be part of the solution — both in the gay rights community and on the OU campus. In the aftermath of a racist fraternity video that sparked nationwide outrage and embarrassment for OU, the Sooner football team led an effort to eliminate exclusivity and bridge the divide between various groups. OU President David Boren announced the hiring of a new vice president for the university community, a position specifically added to oversee diversity on campus. But even before all of that, several Sooners had restarted a group called “Bridge Builders,” which was originally a student-athlete group to help minorities, but has been expanded to become a “multicultural” group. Athletes like OU linebacker Eric Striker, women’s basketball player Kaylon Williams and Tanner Williams are among the Bridge Builders leaders. The middle schooler who once felt so afraid and alone that he considered ending his own life is now surrounded by people who care about him. “I knew that he was gay and he was going through some things, but that’s what Bridge Builders was for, so we could create an environment in which he could be comfortable,” Striker said. Said Kaylon Williams, who is from Midwest City, “Tanner’s just a great person. A lot of us are really happy for him that he’s able to come out and tell his story, and be able to share his life with us. We’ve all been really excited for him.”
May 21, 2015
Foster was known more for his family — five high-achieving, high-character kids — and his Christian walk and his love of people than for gridiron greatness.
Former OU All-American offensive tackle Eddie Foster was the rarest of football heroes
By Berry Tramel | May 21, 2015MOORE — Dewey Selmon, just recently arrived on the OU campus as a freshman in 1972, sat in his dorm room with brothers Lee Roy and Lucious one day when a huge shadow passed by his open door. “What was that?” Dewey asked. Lucious informed him it was Eddie Foster. Later that night, Dewey suggested to Lee Roy that they avoid Foster. “Guys that big can hurt you.” That might have been the last time anyone wanted to avoid Edward Jay Foster, a prince of a man who died last week at age 63 and was memorialized Thursday in a 190-minute service at LifeChurch. Foster, an All-American offensive tackle and co-captain for Barry Switzer’s first OU team in 1973, is the rarest of football heroes. Known more for his family — five high-achieving, high-character kids — and his Christian walk and his love of people than for gridiron greatness. “If anybody was made in God’s image, it was Eddie Foster,” said Billy Sims, who came to OU three years after Foster’s final season but who joined Dewey Selmon as one of the speakers Thursday. Joe Wylie, the grand halfback in the early wishbone years, was Foster’s OU roommate and became his lifelong friend. Wylie said that after Foster married Kim Watson, his Monahans (Texas) High School sweetheart, Wylie was so inspired by their relationship, he proposed to his girlfriend. Wylie and Karen Pilgrim are married still. Max Barnett, who led the Baptist Student Union when Foster was in school, said that Wylie and Foster were such leaders that when they were juniors, they visited 26 of OU’s 43 signees in their homes, inviting them to the Bible study they had established in their dorm. From the stage Thursday, Wylie admitted there had been a time or two when he figured his bride could be a better wife. “But I’ve never in my life thought that Ed could be a better friend.” Wylie said OU gave him great blessings, including a great education and 70,000 screaming fans on Saturdays. “But Ed was the best gift OU ever gave to me.” Old football tales were fun, but the core of Foster’s life was his family. He and Kim home schooled their children and pioneered home school athletics in Oklahoma. Eddie coached his sons to national success in home school basketball. All five of Foster’s grown children spoke glowingly, so much so that LifeChurch pastor Michael Metcalf said his son asked him during the service, “Are you that good of a dad?” Charles Foster, the second-born son, recounted the story of the summer before his senior year, driving a car his grandmother had given him and having spent his money on new CDs instead of getting leaky radiator fixed. One night in Edmond, the car overheated, and Eddie’s suggestion was to spend the night with cousins, then try to drive home the next morning, so if there was trouble along the road, it would be daylight. But Charles told his dad he was determined to drive home. Long about Crossroads Mall, going south on I-35, Charles noticed a set of lights following him. Followed him off the interstate exit, through the streets of Norman and into the Fosters’ neighborhood and driveway. It was Eddie, having driven north to meet his son and make sure he got home safely. Usually, it was the other way around. Foster taking the lead. Kim Foster talked about the old Monahans days, when the star quarterback revealed the Loboes’ secret play. “Someone would get the ball and follow Eddie.” Following Eddie Foster never was a bad idea. “His heart completely dwarfed his physical status,” said eldest son Neal. Charles Foster told the story of the national home school tournament in Wichita, when the Oklahoma City Knights were in the national semifinals. In the final seconds of a tie game, a Knights player became confused and intentionally fouled an opponent. Eddie Foster was a competitor. You didn’t block for Joe Wylie and Joe Washington without being a competitor. And those who remember Foster coaching youth sports knows he could raise his voice. But he also knew when to lower it. As timeout was called and the Knights trudged to their sideline, knowing victory was slipping away, Eddie Foster didn’t map a strategy. He grabbed the player who had committed the foul and embraced him. The opponent made a foul shot, the Knights lost and settled for third place in the national tournament. Lost a game but won a heart. Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.
May 17, 2015
Perris, Calif. native dismissed for violating unspecified team rules
Oklahoma football: Sophomore wide receiver K.J. Young dismissed from the team
By Jason Kersey, Staff Writer | May 17, 2015NORMAN — Oklahoma redshirt sophomore wide receiver K.J. Young has been dismissed from the team for violating unspecified team rules, an OU spokesman confirmed Sunday. Young, from Perris, Calif., started three games last season and appeared in 12, catching 19 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown. He signed with the Sooners in their 2013 recruiting class. Young is the second wide receiver from that signing class to leave the team. San Antonio native Dannon Cavil announced his intention to transfer in October. He’s also the second 2013 signee to leave the team within the last week. Running back Keith Ford announced he would transfer last week after being suspended during spring practices. In the Red-White spring game last month, Young caught three passes for 28 yards. As a senior at Citrus Hill High School, Young caught 91 passes for 1,593 yards and 18 touchdowns. He picked the Sooners over offers from Boise State, Colorado, Colorado State, Iowa State, UNLV and UTEP. Young’s departure continues a troubling trend for OU receivers. Of the 25 wide receivers OU signed out of high school or junior college between 2008 and 2014, very few have become any more than a role player, and several have left because of legal problems, transfers or dismissals. OU coach Bob Stoops fired receivers coach Jay Norvell after last season — when the Sooners had arguably the worst receivers in the Big 12 — and replaced him with Cale Gundy coaching inside receivers and Dennis Simmons coaching outside receivers. Norvell already had 2015 commitments from John Humphrey and junior-college transfer Dede Westbrook before his firing. After Simmons was hired, the Sooners added Westmoore’s Dahu Green and A.D. Miller — from Bishop Dunne High in Dallas — to the signing class. OVERTON ELIGIBLE Oklahoma defensive tackle signee Marquise Overton scored a 19 on his ACT and has qualified academically to enroll at OU this summer, Overton tweeted Friday night. Overton, a former Jenks standout, committed to the Sooners on Jan. 3, 2014 — one day after OU’s Sugar Bowl win over Alabama — but before signing day, there was some concern that he might not make it academically. Overton ended up signing a National Letter of Intent with OU, though, and as of this weekend, is heading to Norman after all. He is one of four defensive line signees in the Sooners’ 2015 recruiting class, and one of four in-state signees, joining Westmoore wide receiver Dahu Green, Midwest City safety Will Sunderland and McAlester tight end Dalton Wood.
NORMAN — Oklahoma dismissed redshirt sophomore wide receiver K.J. Young from the team, continuing a troubling trend of receiver busts over the past several years. OU coach Bob Stoops fired receivers coach Jay Norvell after last season — when the Sooners had arguably the worst receivers in the Big 12 — and replaced him with […]
Oklahoma football: K.J. Young the latest in troubling trend of OU receiver busts
Jason Kersey | May 17, 2015NORMAN -- Oklahoma dismissed redshirt sophomore wide receiver K.J. Young from the team, continuing a troubling trend of receiver busts over the past several years. OU coach Bob Stoops fired receivers coach Jay Norvell after last season -- when the Sooners had arguably the worst receivers in the Big 12 -- and replaced him with Cale Gundy coaching inside receivers and Dennis Simmons coaching outside receivers. Here is a look at every wide receiver prospect signed in the seven seasons Norvell was in charge of the position group. There have been legal problems, lack of on-field development, transfers and dismissals. Of the receivers Norvell signed, very few became much more than a role player. Here's a look at all 25 wide receivers signed by the Sooners between 2008 and 2014. (NOTE: This does not account for NCAA Division I transfers Justin Brown and Jalen Saunders. This chart only includes players signed out of high school or junior college). 2008 JOSH JARBOE Hometown (School): Ellenwood, Ga. (Cedar Grove) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 10 receiver; No. 69 overall prospect (4-star) What happened: Jarboe picked OU over offers from Florida, Georgia and LSU and was one of the Sooners' prized commits in 2008, but he was arrested in March 2008 on felony gun charges. He pled guilty and was expelled from school, but OU gave him another chance after he finished graduation requirements online. After he arrived at OU, a video of Jarboe rapping about guns and violence surfaced online and Stoops dismissed him before he even played in a game. He transferred to Troy and was kicked off the team there after two arrests, but eventually got things turned around and recorded 1,300 receiving yards and six touchdowns over two seasons at Arkansas State. JAMEEL OWENS Hometown (School): Muskogee (Muskogee) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 8 receiver; No. 52 overall prospect (4-star) What happened: Owens joined the Sooners along with high-school teammate and highly-touted defensive tackle prospect Stacy McGee. He played some as a true freshman, but fell out of favor with coaches and transferred to Tulsa, where he only played one season. DEJUAN MILLER Hometown (School): Metuchen, N.J. (Metuchen) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 32 receiver; No. 232 overall prospect (4-star) What happened: Miller played four seasons at OU, recording a total of 75 receptions for 892 yards and two touchdowns. But after Miller's final game at OU -- a 31-14 Insight Bowl win over Iowa in 2011 -- Miller's father ripped Norvell on Twitter, calling him "flaky" in a rant about his son not getting more snaps in the bowl game. 2009 CAMERON KENNEY Hometown (School): Dacula, Ga. (Garden City CC) Rivals ranking (stars): No ranking (4-star) What happened: Kenney became a solid contributor in two seasons at OU, finishing his career with 55 catches, 812 yards and five touchdowns. JAZ REYNOLDS Hometown (School): Aldine, Texas (Eisenhower) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 92 receiver (3-star) What happened: Reynolds was suspended multiple times throughout his OU career -- including for the entire 2012 season -- but finished with 68 career catches for 1,187 yards and six touchdowns. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Tennessee Titans but didn't make the team. In a lengthy May 2013 interview with The Oklahoman, Reynolds praised Bob Stoops for giving him so many chances. 2010 TREY FRANKS Hometown (School): Orange, Texas (West Orange-Stark) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 74 receiver (3-star) What happened: Franks was one of three receivers suspended for the entire 2012 season. During that suspension, he still practiced with the team and switched to safety, but was back at receiver by the time the 2013 season began. He didn't record any statistics that year, but appeared in 12 games and started once. Franks chose to end his college football career with a year of eligibility still remaining. JUSTIN MCCAY Hometown (School): Shawnee, Kan. (Bishop Miege) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 6 athlete; No. 52 overall prospect (4-star) What happened: McCay redshirted in 2010 and made only three appearances with no catches in 2011, then decided to transfer to Kansas to be closer to his family. The NCAA denied his appeal for immediate eligibility -- despite Bob Stoops and Joe Castiglione supporting his transfer -- and only caught 27 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons at KU. JOE POWELL Hometown (School): Dallas (Skyline) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 57 athlete (3-star) What happened: Powell was at OU for two seasons -- switching to defensive back -- before he was arrested on felony drug charges and kicked off the team. SHELDON MCCLAIN Hometown (School): Cibolo, Texas (Steele) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 94 receiver (3-star) What happened: McClain tore an ACL during his senior year of high school and redshirted as a true freshman. He left the team before OU's 2011 Insight Bowl appearance. KENNY STILLS Hometown (School): Carlsbad, Calif. (La Costa Canyon) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 23 receiver; No. 147 overall prospect (4-star) What happened: Stills became one of the best players on the Sooner offense, finishing his career with 204 catches, 2,594 yards and 24 touchdowns. He's already had a productive NFL career with the New Orleans Saints, and was traded to the Miami Dolphins during this offseason. 2011 KAMEEL JACKSON Hometown (School): Arlington, Texas (Sam Houston) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 34 receiver (3-star) What happened: Jackson caught 12 passes for 165 yards during his true freshman season, but was suspended indefinitely after the 2012 spring, and then dismissed a few months later. TREY METOYER Hometown (School): Whitehouse, Texas (Whitehouse) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 2 receiver; No. 12 overall prospect (5-star) What happened: Metoyer was one of the most hyped OU signees of the Stoops era, but couldn't qualify academically in time for the 2011 season. He spent that year at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia and got eligible, then shined in the 2012 spring game. He started the first few games of his freshman year, but fell out of the lineup after Fresno State transfer Jalen Saunders was granted eligibility. A few games into the next season, he was kicked off the team after being charged with indecent exposure. A judge recently sentenced Metoyer to eight years probation. 2012 LACOLTAN BESTER Hometown (School): Scooba, Miss. (East Mississippi CC) Rivals ranking (stars): No ranking (3-star) What happened: Bester appeared in 24 games over two seasons at OU, saving his best game for last. He caught six passes for 105 yards and a touchdown in the Sooners' Sugar Bowl upset of Alabama. He also made "The Play That Changed It All" in Bedlam 2013. COURTNEY GARDNER Hometown (School): Roseville, Calif. (Sierra CC) Rivals ranking (stars): No ranking (4-star) What happened: Gardner was unable to qualify academically and never made it to campus. DURRON NEAL Hometown (School): St. Louis (DeSmet) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 9 receiver; No. 62 overall prospect (4-star) What happened: Neal was the Sooners' second-leading receiver last season, but on the whole, hasn't contributed nearly as much as anyone expected. He's got 60 career catches for 764 yards and three touchdowns. STERLING SHEPARD Hometown (School): Oklahoma City (Heritage Hall) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 20 receiver; No. 131 overall prospect (4-star) What happened: Shepard has become -- arguably -- the best player on the current OU football team. He would've easily surpassed 1,000 yards receiving last season if not for a nagging hamstring that essentially sidelined him for the final six games of the season. DERRICK WOODS Hometown (School): Inglewood, Calif. (Inglewood) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 31 receiver; No. 216 overall prospect (4-star) What happened: Woods redshirted as a true freshman, only caught two passes during his career and was booted from the team in the middle of last season for unspecified team rules violations. 2013 AUSTIN BENNETT Hometown (School): Manvel, Texas (Manvel) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 71 receiver (3-star) What happened: Bennett played some as a true freshman, but entering his junior season only has three career catches for 42 yards. DANNON CAVIL Hometown (School): San Antonio (Madison) Rivals ranking (stars): No ranking (3-star) What happened: Cavil redshirted as a true freshman and never saw any action in 2014. He announced his decision to leave the program midway through that season. JORDAN SMALLWOOD Hometown (School): Jenks (Jenks) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 46 receiver (3-star) What happened: Smallwood suffered an ACL tear during fall camp before his true freshman season and redshirted. He appeared in all 13 games last year, but only caught three passes for 21 yards. He tore another ACL during spring practices and is expected to miss at least the first couple games of next season. K.J. YOUNG Hometown (School): Perris, Calif. (Citrus Hill) Rivals ranking (stars): No ranking (3-star) What happened: Young redshirted as a true freshman and started three games last season, ending the year with 19 catches for 215 yards and a touchdown. He was dismissed from the team Sunday. 2014 MARK ANDREWS Hometown (School): Scottsdale, Ariz. (Desert Mountain) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 25 receiver; No. 176 overall prospect (4-star) What happened: Andrews redshirted last year and switched positions to tight end. He apparently had a huge spring and is expected to really take off in Lincoln Riley's new offense. JEFFERY MEAD Hometown (School): Tulsa (Union) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 75 receiver (3-star) What happened: Mead played some early last season, but fell out of the regular receiver rotation by the end of the year. A big, tall receiver, Mead could find a more consistent role in the new offense. MICHIAH QUICK Hometown (School): Fresno, Calif. (Central East) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 4 athlete; No. 76 overall prospect (4-star) What happened: It took Quick a few games to get going last year as a true freshman, but he ended up catching 25 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown. He's expected to be a big part of the offense moving forward. DALLIS TODD Hometown (School): La Mirada, Calif. (La Mirada) Rivals ranking (stars): No. 50 receiver (4-star) What happened: Todd redshirted last season.
May 17, 2015
NORMAN — Oklahoma redshirt sophomore wide receiver K.J. Young has been dismissed from the team for violating unspecified team rules, an OU spokesman confirmed Sunday. Young, from Perris, Calif., started three games last season and appeared in 12, catching 19 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown. He signed with the Sooners in their 2013 […]
Oklahoma football: Sophomore wide receiver K.J. Young dismissed from the team
Jason Kersey | May 17, 2015[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/12/2015/05/KJ-Young.jpg]3669593[/img] NORMAN -- Oklahoma redshirt sophomore wide receiver K.J. Young has been dismissed from the team for violating unspecified team rules, an OU spokesman confirmed Sunday. Young, from Perris, Calif., started three games last season and appeared in 12, catching 19 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown. He signed with the Sooners in their 2013 recruiting class. As a senior at Citrus Hill High School, Young caught 91 passes for 1,593 yards and 18 touchdowns. He picked the Sooners over offers from Boise State, Colorado, Colorado State, Iowa State, UNLV and UTEP. Young is the second wide receiver from that signing class to leave the team. San Antonio native Dannon Cavil left the team in October. He’s also the second 2013 signee to leave the team within the last week. Running back Keith Ford announced his decision to transfer last week. In the Red-White spring game last month, Young caught three passes for 28 yards. This story will be updated.
May 10, 2015
In virtually no time, we came to expect May basketball. Came to depend on it. Then injuries wrecked the Thunder season, the Pelicans beat the Spurs on the final night of the season and suddenly, the spring went dark and a couple of million Thunder fans had to figure out what to do with their time.
Berry Tramel: Seeking the bright side of a Thunder-less playoffs
BY BERRY TRAMEL | May 10, 2015Bryan Nix didn’t come home for Thanksgiving. Didn’t come home for Christmas, either. Hard to get home when you’re a missionary in Lesotho, a tiny nation completely surrounded by South Africa. Nix instead came home this May. He planned his trip to coincide with the NBA playoffs. Uh-oh. “Instead of Thunder, I’ll just have tornadoes,” Nix said. Funny, isn’t it, how quickly we form traditions? Barely four years ago, Oklahoma City experienced its first taste of May basketball. The Thunder hosted the Grizzlies in Game 1 of a Western Conference semifinal on May 1, 2011. That was the first of 43 May playoff games for the Thunder over four seasons. That’s a huge chunk of Oklahoma’s sports calendar. In virtually no time, we came to expect May basketball. Came to depend on it. Then injuries wrecked the Thunder season, the Pelicans beat the Spurs on the final night of the season and suddenly, the spring went dark and a couple of million Thunder fans had to figure out what to do with their time. “I’ve actually been thinking a lot about this,” said Muskogee attorney Rusty Smith. “For one, I’m going to enjoy keeping my blood pressure low, avoiding stress-induced cold sores and not staying up until 1 a.m. nightly to watch games and post-game coverage.” Well, yes, there is that upside. NBA commissioner Adam Silver welcomed visiting sports editors to his offices a couple of weeks ago by declaring it the home of the most sleep-deprived sports fans. The Western Conference playoffs are the best late-night entertainment since Johnny Carson’s heyday, and Thunder fans soon grew accustomed to bleary-eyed mornings after watching their heroes battle the Clippers or the Lakers or the Spurs, sometimes past the witching hour. Office productivity took a hit but morale soared, as did drive-through coffee sales from workers trying to get by on a lot less shut-eye. Truth is, the Thunder has given us all a precious commodity. Time. We’ve all got more time. More time to enjoy our kids. More time to enjoy a month that isn’t exactly void of activity. More time to clean up from the havoc the weather brings around this time every year. “Our two boys play competitive baseball, and we’ve never missed a game to watch the playoffs,” Smith said. “But I’ve kept one eye on the little league game (even while coaching) and one eye on Twitter/ESPN GameChanger for several years straight. “I’ve rushed home from Tulsa with the game on the radio, or not on the radio depending on whether I’ve DVR’d it and want to watch it by myself later, again until the wee hours. I like the fact that I won’t be distracted by the Thunder this spring and summer so I can devote all my attention to my boys. Not that I didn’t already, but I did plan things around the playoffs.” Think about it. Graduations. Weddings. Memorial Day. All have conflicted with Thunder games in recent years. Lots of schedule juggling. Lots of hard decisions. Lots of tense households. Now we’re back to the days when the Women’s College World Series and Big 12 baseball were the landmark athletic events of May. Even Oklahoma expatriates have more time on their hands. Israel James Lister, who grew up in Sapulpa, now is an actor in Los Angeles. He said a spring without a Thunder postseason frees him to do “the only thing that's worth my while. Making film and television happen. See you next season.” And for those fans who buy playoff tickets, there’s more money to spread around. Thunder games aren’t cheap. Hard to get a ticket, but they’re not cheap. Oklahoma native Andrew Hewlett, 29, moved to Norman from Salt Lake City in October. He was all fired up to attend playoff games at Chesapeake Arena, having organized Thunder watch parties in Utah in past postseasons. With the Thunder not cutting into his resources, Hewlett and his girlfriend went to Chicago for a Cubs game and plan a couple of other baseball trips. Plus, he said he’ll pay back more student loans and budget to make the OU-Tennessee football game in Knoxville. That’s a little of the silver lining. No playoffs relieves some financial strain on fans. Some people don’t have to worry about it, but lots of Thunder fans make financial sacrifices to get tickets. They wouldn’t have wished for this dismal season, but since it’s happened, it gives them a chance to let the bank book balance a bit. Still, it’s only a lining. Everyone would prefer that the Thunder was dueling some heavyweight in the Western Conference semifinals and wondering if this could be the year an NBA parade comes to Bricktown. Everyone would prefer if the Thunder still was a nice diversion from the tornadoes and the floods and the wind. The Thunder certainly is a diversion for Bryan Nix. Nix graduated from Putnam North High School and Southwestern Christian University in Bethany. Now he’s director of Beautiful Dreams Society Africa and operates an orphanage and a shelter for victims of human trafficking. Sounds like a job that could use a diversion or two. Thanks to modern technology, the Thunder is that diversion. Nix is a season-ticket holder but made no games this season. Now he’s back in Oklahoma. “My extra time will be spent with friends and family,” Nix said, since for the first time in what seems like forever, the Thunder shingle says CLOSED. Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.
May 8, 2015
Paige Parker owns a national record-tying four perfect games — as a freshman. Here’s the story of why she’s so good so soon, and how she became a Sooner about the same time she became a teenager.
The secret to Oklahoma's 'perfect' freshman pitcher Paige Parker
By Jenni Carlson | May 8, 2015NORMAN — Paige Parker is a true freshman in name only. And that’s not something said just because of how phenomenally well she’s pitching. It’s true that the Oklahoma leftie is having a season for the record books, tying a national record with four perfect games. Only two other pitchers in the history of NCAA Division I softball have reached that single-season mark, and neither of them were freshmen, true or otherwise. Who knows if that record may fall since there’s still lots of softball left as Parker prepares to lead the Sooners into a weekend series against Oklahoma State, then into the postseason. But to understand why Parker is a pseudo true freshman, you have to come back to when she was a high school freshman. When she committed to the Sooners. Yes, OU offered her a scholarship as a high school freshman. Yes, Parker accepted. In some sports, such things would raise eyebrows not to mention expectations. But in Parker’s case, it raised her level. “Committing so early, it took a lot of the pressure off,” she said, “and I was just able to focus on everything (the coaches) were telling me that I needed to do to get ready to come here. “And I had three and a half years to do it.” She felt like a part of the program throughout that time, like a multi-year redshirt in a distance-learning program, and she took advantage of the chance to develop. She worked. She improved. She never settled. Then again, that’s always been her way. Born and raised in Independence, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City, Parker was in a sporting family. Her dad, Terry, coached football, basketball and baseball at the high school level. Her mom, Kim, played volleyball and basketball throughout her life. So, when Paige took up softball in the third grade, Terry and Kim would help any chance they had. They’d catch her on a concrete slab next door that the neighbors let them use. They’d throw soft toss in the basement where they set up a net. After a few years, Paige started taking lessons from Christie Ambrosi, a former Olympian who trains softball players in the Kansas City area. She helped Paige go from a power pitcher to a pitcher who could spin the ball. By the time Paige went to OU for a camp as an eighth grader, it was obvious to Sooner coaches that she was special. “I was just extremely impressed with her age and the fact that she was able to spin the ball in all different directions,” Sooner pitching coach and associate head coach Melyssa Lombardi said. “She understood how to have correct rise ball spin, how to have correct curve ball spin. “She was just head and shoulders above others at her age.” Paige was every bit as impressed with OU, and when she started hearing from recruiters less than a year later, she was glad that the Sooners were among her suitors. She loved the campus, the coaches, the team. OU offered Paige a scholarship, and in the spring of her freshman year, she verbally committed. Did it seem early? Rash? Even a bit crazy? “Not really,” Parker said, “because I knew. I knew this was where I was supposed to be. There was not a doubt in my mind that this was where I was supposed to be.” And the Sooners were every bit sure of Parker. It wasn’t just her skills either. Every time Parker came for a camp and worked with the coaches, they would work on different things. “Let’s just try this,” Lombardi remembers saying various times. “Sure,” Parker would say, “that sounds great.” That attitude told Lombardi volumes about Parker. “I looked at her as being very confident and comfortable in what she was doing,” the coach said. The pitcher said, “I never settle. I always work to get better, work harder and harder. I’m going to try to be the absolute best I can.” Even though the results might suggest otherwise, adjusting to college ball has had its rough patches. Being sharp with every single pitch. Pitching against women who are three or four or even five years older than her. Countering hitters who know how to counter the spins she wanted to throw. But the learning curve hasn’t been as steep this year because of the past three as a Sooner commit. “I definitely think she has knowledge from those years,” Lombardi said. “I definitely think she has gained knowledge of our program and the things that we like to do.” That has helped the coaches hone in on things that might have had to wait with many freshmen. Parker, for example, has drastically improved her defense. That aspect of her game might’ve been less of a focus had she not been so far down the road in other areas. “I don’t want to say we would be behind,” Lombardi said, “but we’d be behind.” She chuckled. Parker definitely looks up to speed. In her second start of the season, she threw a perfect game against Hawaii. A month later, she threw another against Missouri State, followed a week later by another against East Carolina. No. 4 came Sunday against Utah Valley, and while her performance against big-hitting Hawaii might have been the most impressive of her perfect games, the latest one was her most dominant. In a five-inning game, she struck out 12 of 15 batters. Add a 24-5 record, a 1.45 ERA and ace status for the fourth-ranked Sooners to her perfect games, and she is being mentioned for all sorts of honors. Big 12 pitcher of the year. Big 12 freshman of the year. National freshman of the year. Parker is approaching that hubbub the same way she’s handled all those perfect games. “I have to put it in the past,” she said. “It’s not the most important thing. What’s most important is postseason and what’s coming up, and that’s a hundred percent where my focus is right now.” And when Parker is focused on something, things have worked out pretty darn well for the Sooners. Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson. -- BEDLAM SOFTBALL SATURDAY When: 11 a.m. Where: Marita Hynes Field, Norman TV: Tape-delayed, 2 p.m. on ESPN2 SUNDAYWhen: Noon Where: Cowgirl Field, Stillwater TV: None
Norman resident sits in relative anonymity through every OU women’s basketball home game
Collected Wisdom of Big 12 official Paul Wilson
By Jason Kersey, Staff writer | May 2, 2015Paul Wilson sits in relative anonymity through every OU women’s basketball home game and several other college hoops games around the area, but he does an important job. Wilson, a former Southwest Conference basketball official who was on the court with the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and Larry Bird, was OU’s director of intramural sports from 1976 until he retired in 2003, but continued teaching sports officiating classes until 2014. Today, he observes officials from press row for the Big 12 Conference at OU women’s games, and does the same job for small college men’s games. He was an Oklahoma high school official in the 1970s before graduating to big-time college hoops. Wilson played college football at Coffeyville Junior College and one season of college hoops at Oral Roberts. Between those endeavors, he served two years in Vietnam in the Air Force. Basketball was my first love. I regret that I didn’t stay off the football field and stick with basketball. I had the potential to go to college on a basketball scholarship. My original goal was to teach high school and coach basketball, and eventually become a high school principal. I made first-team All State in basketball my junior year, and I got to go on a recruiting trip to KU. Here’s how stupid I was: My senior year, I went out for football again. In the fifth game of my football senior year, I tackled a guy and separated my right shoulder. I had to miss the rest of football season, and by the time basketball started, I was still in a sling and couldn’t shoot. My point average as a junior was 25 points; my senior year it went down to 14. My shot was really gone. I was frustrated and mad at myself for letting that happen. But the football coach at Coffeyville Junior College wanted me to stay there and play football, so I got a scholarship to play football there for two years. Then I transferred up to Kansas State Teachers College, which is now Emporia State, on a football scholarship. Between the transfer, though, I was reclassifed and lost my student deferment, and within 30 days I was drafted. That was in 1966. Within a month after that, I joined the Air Force, thinking that maybe if I joined the Air Force I wouldn’t have to go to Vietnam. Well that was wrong. About 14 months into my Air Force service, I was on my way to Vietnam. I was there in 1967 and 1968. When I got back from Vietnam, I was eventually assigned to Forbes Air Force Base. I got assigned to the headquarter squadron and became the squadron on-the-job training supervisor. And I went out for the base basketball team. I would go to work in the headquarter squadron office and work from 8 to 12, go to lunch, and at 1 p.m., I went to the gym everyday because I was on the varsity basketball team. When I made the base basketball team and was walking out of the gym from practice, the coach of the team handed me a whistle and said, “All of the guys on the varsity basketball team must officiate base intramural basketball.” I said, “I don’t wanna officiate.” He said, “Sgt. Wilson, you don’t have a choice. If you want to play on the base team, you have got to blow this whistle and officiate base intramurals.” Everybody asks how I got started in officiating. I got forced into it in the military. The first couple games were a nightmare. I couldn’t believe how much they were yelling and screaming at me. My buddy and I said, “We’d better get the rule book and figure out what we’re doing.” I was discharged and moved to Tulsa with one year of collegiate eligibility for sports. I enrolled at Oral Roberts in 1969 and was there for that year and played on the varsity basketball team for Ken Trickey. I was like most players. I did not like zebras. In the mid-70s, I had gone on from high school to junior college to small college, and I was working NAIA level games. In 1981, I’m still working high school ball, and guess who are seniors in Oklahoma at that time? Wayman Tisdale and Mark Price. There were about three or four guys in the state of Oklahoma who everybody was trying to get. That year, I worked the Class 6A state championship. After I worked that championship, I was sitting in the locker room and there was a knock on the door. It was Dale Brown, who was at LSU and trying to recruit Wayman Tisdale. He said, “I don’t know how you feel about this, but I like the way you officiate and I want you to officiate in the Southeastern Conference.” He put me in touch with the supervisor and we got to talking, but he flat out said, “I don’t know if Dale Brown was thinking right, but do you know how difficult it would be for you to travel out of Oklahoma to get to all of the SEC schools?” He thought I was ready for Division I basketball, but couldn’t see how I could work SEC games. He also told me that because I was employed at OU graduate, I couldn’t work in the Big Eight. But fortunately, he referred me to the supervisor of the Southwest Conference. So I worked in that conference in 1981 and 1982, then I got into the Missouri Valley Conference. I was on the court with Phi Slamma Jamma, with Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. Larry Bird at Indiana State. You talk about having a fun career back in the 1980s with some of those guys. It was unbelievable. I worked Division I basketball until about 1992, but I had a son who was growing up. My officiating was keeping me from seeing him get to play. He was getting ready to go to high school. I gave up Division I so I could pull back and try to work close to home, working junior college and NAIA and Division II. My son became a freshman at Norman North in 2000. That’s when I really started to cut back, and officiated only a few games until he graduated high school. He got a scholarship over at OBU, and the four years he played at OBU, I made it to every game. I gave up my officiating career to follow my son through college, but I had a heck of a career. I ended up officiating for almost 35 years. I had a very blessed career. I had great opportunity. I’ve been fussin’ and cussin’ with the activities association in Oklahoma for years because they don’t try to help young officials. Texas has a program where if you officiate junior high or high school ball, you must belong to a local chapter that you attend. They help you get started as a young official. They assign you elementary games, junior high games. You don’t get to work high school games until you’ve proven yourself at those other levels. In Oklahoma, anybody who’s over 18 can register, get their card and work any high school game in the state. All they need to do is pass the open-book test at 70 percent. That crew was too young to be working (the controversial Locust Grove-Douglass football game). You know what? In that situation at the end, when the violation occurred, they came together and none of them on the crew knew the actual rule. That’s a sad scenario. They made the wrong ruling because nobody on the crew knew. That never should have happened. Oklahoma has done a disservice by not helping to train and develop young officials. I send that message out all the time.
Apr 30, 2015
Barrett ran the 1,600 meters in 4:09.97 Thursday afternoon in the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference meet at Deer Creek, breaking the state record, which had been set earlier this year by Deer Creek’s Bryce Balenseifen.
High school notebook: Norman North's Ben Barrett sets state record in 1,600 meters
By Scott Wright and Jacob Unruh | Apr 30, 2015It’s been quite a year for distance runners in boys track, and Norman North’s Ben Barrett added to it with a record-setting performance Thursday. Barrett ran the 1,600 meters in 4:09.97 Thursday afternoon in the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference meet at Deer Creek, breaking the state record, which had been set earlier this year by Deer Creek’s Bryce Balenseifen. Calvin Miller of Westmoore was on the verge of yet another milestone, coming a fraction of a second away from breaking the state record in the 800 meters. Miller’s winning time of 1:51.83, just off the record time of 1:51.70, held by two runners, Justin Nobles of Elgin and Quintell Wilson of Edmond North. Balenseifen and Barrett, perhaps the most talented pair of distance runners to come through the state in several years, both competed in Thursday’s meet, but did not go head-to-head, with each running just one race. Balenseifen finished second in the 800 prior to Barrett winning the 1,600. With Barrett being in Class 6A, and Balenseifen in 5A, the two rarely cross paths on the track. But they have become friends and push each other from a distance. Earlier this year, Balenseifen set the 1,600 record at 4:11.57 and still holds the record in the 3,200 at 9:16.20. While competing in a national event in California, Barrett broke the 9-minute mark in the 3,200 at 8:57, though it does not qualify for the state record mark since it was accomplished in an out-of-state competition. Barrett is headed to North Carolina State for college, while Balenseifen will stay close at Oklahoma State. OKLAHOMA STATE OFFERS NORMAN NORTH’S LINDY WATERS III Scholarship offers for Norman North junior shooting guard Lindy Waters III have gone from a steady flow to a roaring wave over the last few days. Lower-level Division I programs like Northeastern and Loyola-Maryland helped Waters’ offer list reach double-digits, then Harvard and Yale brought an Ivy League presence to the recruiting game. Cincinnati came in as well, and on Wednesday night, the first major offer dropped. Oklahoma State entered the pursuit of the versatile 6-foot-6 Waters, who is playing on the Adidas circuit with the Oklahoma Wizards this summer. He averaged 16.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game for Norman North last season. Waters becomes the third player in the state’s 2016 recruiting class with an offer from Oklahoma State. Putnam City West guard Tre Evans is already verbally committed to the Cowboys, and Mustang guard Jakolby Long has an offer as well. OFFERS POURING IN FOR DEL CITY’S WILSON, LEXINGTON’S BROWN Last week’s offers from Nebraska and Colorado were just the start for Del City quarterback Terry Wilson. Three more scholarship offers have come in this week, with two more from Power Five conferences. Arizona State and Texas Tech joined San Diego State in offering the 6-foot-3, 190-pound junior over the last few days. Lexington’s Tyler Brown continues to show himself as one of the fastest rising prospects in the state’s 2016 recruiting class. The 6-foot-6, 315-pound offensive tackle just received his first offer in mid-April. North Texas and Tulsa were the first to offer Brown, and now, Houston, Wyoming and Utah State have come in as well. Texas Tech and Oklahoma are among the bigger programs showing interest in Brown. OFFICIALS’ HALL OF FAME CLASS ANNOUNCED The Oklahoma Officials Association announced its Hall of Fame class Monday that will be inducted Saturday, July 25, at Westmoore High School. Four officials will be honored that day: Marvin Barbee of Roff, Gary Easley of Claremore, Fred Burris of Lawton and Dale “Bud” Campbell of Sallisaw. Easley and Burris both worked as basketball and football officials, calling state championship games, several state tournaments and All-State contests. Barbee is a former director of officials for the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association. He has worked in football, basketball, softball and baseball during his 43-year career. Campbell has officiated four state basketball tournaments and still works as a basketball official observer. IVY ADDING OFFERS Former Muskogee defensive end Tramal Ivy added two scholarship offers Thursday after his first season at Butler Community College. Ivy was offered by Minnesota and Arkansas State, he said on his Twitter account. As a senior in 2013, Ivy was a dominant player for the Roughers. He was on The Oklahoman’s All-State team and Super 30 with offers from Kansas State, Memphis, Northern Colorado, San Diego State and Washington State. He ultimately chose Butler after failing to qualify academically. He played in six games for the Grizzlies, recording eight tackles and 21/2 sacks.
Apr 29, 2015
Baseball Kyle Tyler, Westmoore Tyler, an Oklahoma signee, was masterful on the mound in two starts over the past week, striking out a total of 28 batters. He allowed just one run as Westmoore ran its winning streak to eight games. Girls soccer Haley Woodard, Norman North The Oklahoma State signee delivered two second-half goals Tuesday against Mustang to help Norman North clinch the district...
High School Athletes of the Week
BY SCOTT WRIGHT AND JACOB UNRUH | Apr 29, 2015Baseball Kyle Tyler, Westmoore Tyler, an Oklahoma signee, was masterful on the mound in two starts over the past week, striking out a total of 28 batters. He allowed just one run as Westmoore ran its winning streak to eight games. Girls soccer Haley Woodard, Norman North The Oklahoma State signee delivered two second-half goals Tuesday against Mustang to help Norman North clinch the district title and a fifth straight win. Boys golf Lance Gregory and Bryce Fanning, Southmoore The pair of SaberCats tied for first at the Ardmore Invitational, each shooting 73 to lead Southmoore to the team victory. Girls golf Elizabeth Freeman, Casady The Oklahoma Christian signee fired back-to-back rounds of 68-73 to win the Southwest Preparatory Conference Tournament by 10 strokes on Tuesday, her fifth win of the year. She led Casady to its third consecutive SPC Tournament team title. Boys track Kaden Jackson, Kingfisher The senior, who has signed to play football at Wyoming, swept the throwing events at the 89er Conference meet on Saturday. He won the shot put with a throw of 54 feet, 9 inches and the discus at 146-2. Girls track Morganne Mukes, Edmond Memorial The sophomore sprinter won the 100 and 200 meters at the Edmond North meet last Friday, taking the 100 in 12.08 and the 200 in 25.48. Boys tennis Sam Atkinson and Brett Bormann, Edmond North The sophomore No. 1 doubles pairing defeated a stout field at the Tulsa Union tournament Tuesday. Girls tennis Lauren Harvey, Heritage Hall The freshman continues to establish herself as a No. 2 singles favorite in Class 5A. She won the Ponca City Tournament Saturday and is 14-4 on the year. Slowpitch softball Rachel Stark, Bethel Stark had a big district tournament for Bethel, driving in six of the Wildcats’ 42 runs over three games against Seminole and McLoud. She hit an inside-the-park homer and a three-run double in two games against McLoud.
Apr 26, 2015
NORMAN — The start of Oklahoma's fall football season is a hugely important day for Bob Stoops and the rest of the Sooners team. It's also a big day for Jeff Salmond and his groundskeeping crew, who spend several months getting Owen Field's grass ready both practically and aesthetically for the season. “You're on display for national audiences,” said Salmond, OU's director of athletic fields....
Working for the weekend
By Jason KerseyNORMAN — The start of Oklahoma's fall football season is a hugely important day for Bob Stoops and the rest of the Sooners team. It's also a big day for Jeff Salmond and his groundskeeping crew, who spend several months getting Owen Field's grass ready both practically and aesthetically for the season. “You're on display for national audiences,” said Salmond, OU's director of athletic fields. “You're on display for recruits. You're on display for fans that come and walk through the stadium. The joy is at the end of the game, seeing how the field has performed.” Salmond and his staff manage all of the University of Oklahoma's athletic fields and much of the grounds surrounding them, but nothing they do is more visible and important than their work inside Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, which houses one of the Big 12 Conference's three remaining natural grass football fields. Oklahoma switched back from artificial turf in 1994, and while many high school and college football stadiums are going the other direction, OU seems committed to sticking with natural grass. Salmond, who studied agriculture at Missouri for his undergraduate degree and then Iowa State for his master's, said natural grass fields can handle lots more action than people think — as long as they are properly maintained. “I think grass is always the safest,” Stoops said. “We've got a great field. It ranks there with any field in the country.” Among the most important things Salmond's crew monitors is the field's hardness, which is measured in a numerical value called “Gmax.” A field's Gmax is determined by dropping a weight onto the field and measuring how fast it stops after hitting the surface. A higher Gmax means the weight stopped quickly. The National Football League requires all fields be below 100 Gmax, and although the NCAA doesn't have similar requirements, Salmond said his staff holds itself to that standard. Salmond, from Kansas City, Mo., grew up a big-time sports fan — his favorite football player was OU legend Brian Bosworth — and also farmed. He has worked on field-management teams with the Baltimore Ravens, the University of New Mexico and Northwestern University. Last year was his eighth year in Norman. Efforts gear up Because the football stadium is probably the biggest visitor attraction on the OU campus, the groundskeeping crew focuses year-round on maintaining the field, but really amps up its efforts after the annual spring game in April. “We know that we're on display 365 days a year, really,” Salmond said. “It's not like we can go, 'It's just football season.' “We take pride in all of our fields that we manage for the University of Oklahoma and the athletic department.” In a typical game week, Salmond said his staff uses roughly 300 gallons of paint on Owen Field over three days. They paint the endzones and logos on Wednesday; paint the yard lines, numbers and hash marks on Thursdays; and finally add a second coat over the end zones and logos Friday. “They go above and beyond, and hours really don't matter to them,” Stoops said. “I appreciate Jeff Salmond, that whole crew. They do an incredible job and take a lot of pride in it.”
Staff Writer | Apr 26, 2015
Staff Writer | Apr 26, 2015
Apr 25, 2015
New defensive backs coach is from Irving, Texas and coached at Notre Dame before taking Sooner job
OU football: Job in Norman gets Kerry Cooks close to home
BY RYAN ABER, Staff Writer | Apr 25, 2015NORMAN — Kerry Cooks didn’t seem to have much need to find a new job. He’d been at Notre Dame for five seasons, helping coach the Fighting Irish to the national title game after the 2012 season and bowl wins in each of the last two years. But when Bob Stoops needed to shake up his coaching staff and then-defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery started feeling out Cooks to see if he’d be interested, Cooks jumped at the chance to be the Sooners’ new defensive backs coach. The reason was more than 20 years coming. Cooks left his hometown of Irving, Texas after high school to play football at Iowa. What followed were coaching stops around the midwest — Kansas State, Western Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin before landing at Notre Dame in 2010. “I haven’t been home since I was 18,” Cooks said. “I’ve been very fortunate to coach at some tremendous places under some tremendous coaches. But one of the major moves for me was location. My mom’s getting older. I’ve got two girls. They see their grandparents twice a year right now. So that was one reason why.” But he wasn’t about to leave Notre Dame for just anywhere. “I’ve had other opportunities in the past and I’ve turned them down,” Cooks said. “The reason why I took the Oklahoma job is it has very similar history and tradition as the place I just came from. They’ve proven to be winners here. They’ve won championships here.” Cooks had known Montgomery since not long after he arrived at Iowa. “We’ve been very close,” Cooks said. “He reached out to me a few times and I guess was kind of gauging my interest really without me knowing because he didn’t give much insight.” Montgomery, though, left for a job with the Green Bay Packers not long after Cooks arrived. In Cooks’ first meeting with his players, the coach wrote “114” on a sheet of paper and put the number on the projector for them to see. “That’s what you guys finished in pass defense this past year,” Cooks told them. “We attacked that right off the get-go.” Cooks followed up that number with something that was much easier to digest for the players — video clip after video clip of the plays that helped contribute to that stat. A 68-yard touchdown from Clint Trickett to Kevin White in the win over West Virginia. A 39-yard scoring pass from Trevone Boykin in the loss to TCU — one of seven pass players of 20 or more yards for the Horned Frogs that day. A 62-yard touchdown by Glenn Gronkowski from Jake Waters in the loss to Kansas State. Plays of 48 and 41 yards from Bryce Petty to Corey Coleman in the loss to Baylor. A 43-yard touchdown by Brandon Sheperd from Mason Rudolph against Oklahoma State that helped set up Tyreek Hill’s heroics that forced overtime and led to another Sooners’ loss. Several more big passing plays by Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl, including a 65-yard scoring pass from Cole Stoudt to Artavis Scott. “I can’t even count how many it was,” Cooks said. “We sat down and watched the clips and talked about why those big plays happened. And then we started coaching those things throughout the spring.” Cooks’ approach has been quite a bit different from Mike Stoops’. Stoops teamed up with Bobby Jack Wright to coach the secondary last year but now coaches outside linebackers in addition to his defensive coordinator duties. “Coach Cooks is a quiet guy,” Jordan Thomas said. “He tells, but it’s when something big happens. All the little stuff, he’ll talk you through it. It’s a lot of constructive criticism.” Stoops has never been accused of being a “quiet guy” and though the players who have now been under both say Stoops’ coaching worked, they also said the fresh voice has helped. “I feel like it’s just a different tempo,” Dakota Austin said. “Coach Cooks brings a lot of energy. Just change gives a lot of people a lot of chances. … It’s a fresh start with Coach Cooks coming in with all the DBs. You just feel like you have a new start to get it going again.” It’s also been a rejuvenation for Cooks. Though he’s spent plenty of time recruiting and trying to build the Sooners’ secondary back to where it was early in Stoops’ tenure, he’s also had plenty of time to get back home. “We’ve been here for two months and my baby girl, Kenadee, who’s 5, has been home four times,” Cooks said. “That’s more than what she would go in a year from South Bend. So that answers that. My decision, at the end of the day, was the right decision just from that standpoint. “They love it. Family, at the end of the day, is all that matters. When you’re thousands of miles from those guys since I was 18, at some point you’ve got to come back home.”