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