How Ok­la­homa City Public Schools plans to cel­e­brate, pro­mote ex­cel­lence of the past

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SPORTS - Jenni Carl­son jcarl­son@ ok­la­homan.com

Al­lie Reynolds was a six-time World Se­ries champ with the Yan­kees.

Dick So­ergel was a three­sport star at Ok­la­homa State.

Win­ford Boynes was a first-round pick in the NBA Draft.

J.W. Mash­burn was an Olympic gold medal­ist in the 4x400 re­lay.

Orville Moody was first to win golf’s U.S. Open and U.S. Se­nior Open.

Even though they achieved suc­cess in dif­fer­ent sports at var­i­ous times, each was a distin­guished ath­lete with un­be­liev­able re­sumes and ban­ner ac­com­plish­ments — but that’s not all they have in com­mon.

Each went to Capi­tol Hill High School.

But the thing is, in Ok­la­homa City Public Schools, Capi­tol Hill isn’t the only one to have a star-stud­ded his­tory. Ev­ery high school in the dis­trict has cham­pi­ons. Le­gends. Stal­warts of sport, even.

That’s why the school dis­trict has de­cided to launch the Ok­la­homa City Public Schools Ath­let­ics Hall of Fame. Spear­headed by dis­trict alum and now dis­trict ath­letic di­rec­tor Keith Si­nor, the hall of fame strives to honor and cel­e­brate the dis­trict’s rich his­tory and ex­cel­lence. It’s a wor­thy en­deavor. It’s a needed en­ter­prise.

Think of the in­spi­ra­tion the stars of yes­ter­year can pro­vide kids in the dis­trict to­day.

But as the process of de­ter­min­ing the first in­duc­tion class be­gins in the com­ing weeks, Si­nor is mak­ing a plea to the en­tire com­mu­nity. HELP WANTED.

Ac­tu­ally, your help is not just wanted. It’s ab­so­lutely needed.

Here’s how the process is go­ing to work — any ath­lete, team, coach, staff mem­ber or sup­porter of any school in the

dis­trict will be con­sid­ered. There are a few caveats within the se­lec­tion process, such as ath­letes won’t be el­i­gi­ble un­til 10 years af­ter grad­u­a­tion, but ex­cel­lence is para­mount. Ex­cel­lence on the field or court, course or mat. Ex­cel­lence in eth­i­cal con­duct and moral char­ac­ter.

But even with those high stan­dards, the pool of great can­di­dates is deep.

Look at Classen. Henry Iba coached bas­ket­ball there, then had his name put on the arena at Ok­la­homa State. Don McNeill played ten­nis there,then be­came only the sec­ond Amer­i­can to win the sin­gles ti­tle at the French Open. Wes Fry started his coach­ing ca­reer there and even­tu­ally be­came the gen­eral man­ager of the Oak­land Raiders.

And what about South­east? Clen­don Thomas played foot­ball there be­fore play­ing for two na­tional cham­pi­onship teams at Ok­la­homa and for 11 sea­sons in the NFL. Bobby Murcer and Dar­rell Porter, two ma­jor­league base­ball stal­warts, are South­east alums.

Then again, so is former OU Sooner and cur­rent Tampa Bay Buc Ger­ald McCoy.

NFL play­ers Ray­mond Hamil­ton and Pren­tice Gautt got their starts at Dou­glass.

Olympic wrestlers Wayne Wells and Wayne Baugh­man went to John Mar­shall.

Bas­ket­ball ti­tans Janith John­son and John­nie John­son coached a com­bined 57 sea­sons at Star Spencer.

Even the­high schools that the dis­trict closed — Cen­tral and Hard­ing —have strong can­di­dates. At Cen­tral, for ex­am­ple, ma­jor-lea­guer Cal McLish, multi-sport jug­ger­naut Tom Churchill and Bas­ket­ball Hall of Fame coach Bruce Drake all roamed the halls there at some point.

And for all those names at all those schools, there are so many more that are wor­thy of con­sid­er­a­tion.

That’s where you come in.

You can nom­i­nate some­one for the Ok­la­homa City Public Schools Ath­let­ics Hall of Fame. There is a nom­i­na­tion form on the dis­trict’s web­site, and nom­i­na­tions will be ac­cepted un­til Nov. 1. While there is a se­lec­tion com­mit­tee that would find wor­thy can­di­dates and pick an in­duc­tion class even if no nom­i­na­tion forms were sub­mit­ted — full dis­clo­sure: I am one of the mem­bers of said com­mit­tee — the as­sis­tance is ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary.

There are just so many greats, af­ter all, in the dis­trict’s his­tory.

“We are go­ing to miss some­one,” Si­nor said, ac­knowl­edg­ing the Her­culean task cre­ated by the depth of the ex­cel­lence. “Even­tu­ally, we are go­ing to get to them.”

Af­ter all, Si­nor does not in­tend for this to be a one-time deal. He wants the hall of fame to still be in­duct­ing classes in an­other 20 or 30 years.

And yet, this first class will be par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult to se­lect.

Only one nominee will be se­lected from each dis­trict high school. (At this point, an in­ductee will not be se­lected from Cen­ten­nial be­cause it is less than a decade old.) With nine cur­rent schools and two shut­tered ones, there will only be 11 in­ductees.

I’m not sure how all the wor­thy can­di­dates will be whit­tled down. How do youde­cide what cham­pion is bet­ter? How do you de­ter­mine what All-Star or Hall of Famer is more de­serv­ing?

The process will be dif­fi­cult, yes, but the out­come will be ex­cit­ing. This class will be star-stud­ded and pow­er­packed. Ditto for the next 10 or so classes.

I’m ex­cited to be part of this.

I hope you are, too.

Jenni Carl­son: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125 or jcarl­son@ok­la­homan.com. Like her at face­book.com/ Jen­niCarl­sonOK, fol­low her at twit­ter.com/jen­ni­carl­son_ok or view her per­son­al­ity page at newsok.com/jen­ni­carl­son.


Ger­ald McCoy was a stand­out de­fen­sive line­man at Ok­la­homa City’s South­east High School be­fore go­ing on to stand­out ca­reers at Ok­la­homa and the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers.


Win­ford Boynes was a stand­out bas­ket­ball player at Capi­tol Hill dur­ing the 1970s.


Dick So­ergel dur­ing his days as a Capi­tol Hill bas­ket­ball player.

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