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Monday, 11 December 2017 21:33

Four Sooners Earn More All-America Honors

Written by

Submitted by Mike Houck, Assistant AD/Strategic Communications - University of Oklahoma Athletics Department

 

NORMAN — Two more All-America teams were released Monday and the University of Oklahoma football team was well represented on each.

 

Senior quarterback Baker Mayfield, junior offensive lineman Orlando Brown and junior tight end Mark Andrews were each named first-team All-Americans by the AP and Football Writers Association of America, while senior linebacker/defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo was selected as a second-team All-American by each organization.

 

Oklahoma’s three first-team selections on each squad were the most in the country.

 

Already named first-team All-Americans by the Walter Camp Foundation, Mayfield, Brown and Andrews give Oklahoma a nation's best 80 consensus All-Americans in the modern era.

 

The sixth Heisman Trophy winner in program history, Mayfield leads the nation in completion percentage (.710), passing efficiency rating (203.8; would break his own FBS record of 196.4 set last year), yards per pass attempt (11.8), yards per completion (16.6) and pass of plays of 20-plus yards (75). He also ranks second in passing touchdowns (41), third in total offense (357.7 ypg) and fourth in passing yards (333.8 per game).

 

Also named the winner of the Maxwell Award, O’Brien Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year, AP Player of the Year and Sporting News Player of the Year, Mayfield has completed 262-of-369 passes this year for a career-high 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He has also rushed for 310 yards and another five scores with no fumbles lost.

 

Winner of the Mackey Award, Andrews leads the nation's tight ends with his 906 receiving yards and receiving yards per game (69.7), and ranks second in yards per catch (15.6), third in receptions (58) and sixth in touchdown receptions (eight). He leads the Sooners in receptions with his 58 catches, the third-highest total ever by an OU tight end and the 22nd-highest mark overall, and eight touchdown receptions.

 

The two-time Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year and an Outland Trophy finalist, Brown has led a dominant offensive line this season that has enabled OU to boast the top offense in the country. The Sooners average 583.3 yards per game and 8.4 yards per play, both tops in the nation. OU also ranks first nationally in offensive touchdowns (75), pass completion percentage (71.8), pass efficiency rating (206.9), yards per play (8.4) and yards per pass attempt (12.0).

 

A semifinalist for the Bednarik and Butkus Awards, Okoronkwo ranks third in the Big 12 and is tied for 25th nationally with 8.0 sacks (0.6 per game), ranks second in the Big 12 and tied for 17th nationally with three forced fumbles, and ranks third in the league and 12th nationally with 17.5 tackles for loss (1.4 per game).

 

 

Thursday, 07 December 2017 15:12

Baker Mayfield Named AP Player of the Year

Written by

Press release

 

 NORMAN — Quarterback Baker Mayfield picked up his first major national postseason honor of 2017 on Thursday when he was named AP Player of the Year.

 

Mayfield became the fourth Sooner to win the award, which was first issued in 1998. Others to do it were quarterbacks Josh Heupel in 2000, Jason White in 2003 and Sam Bradford in 2008. OU players have claimed 20 percent of the awards, and no other school has produced more than two honorees. "This is special to me," said Mayfield, who is in Atlanta with teammates Mark Andrews and Orlando Brown for the Home Depot College Football Awards that will air Thursday at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.

 

"I'm on this awards trip right now with a lot of great players from OU and other schools, and every one of them deserves to be recognized. To receive this award is an honor and it's something just a few years ago I never thought would happen. Obviously I'm very happy and thankful that I'm being recognized with this."

 

Mayfield, who is also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Maxwell Award, Davey O'Brien Award and Manning Award, leads the nation in completion percentage (.710), passing efficiency rating (203.8; would break his own FBS record of 196.4 set last year), yards per pass attempt (11.8), yards per completion (16.6) and pass of plays of 20-plus yards (75). He also ranks second in passing touchdowns (41), third in total offense (357.7 ypg) and fourth in passing yards (333.8 per game).

 

The Austin, Texas, native has completed 262-of-369 passes this year for a career-high 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns to just five interceptions.

 

He has also rushed for 310 yards and another five scores with no fumbles lost. "The guys I've been playing with and the coaches I've had, especially Coach (Lincoln) Riley, we've had success but this year's been a special one," added Mayfield. " I think that's because of how close we are and how we all play for each other. I wouldn't be here without those guys and I'm happy I get to enjoy this trip with two of my teammates, even though I think all of them deserve to be here with us. I'm thankful and blessed to be on the same team with those guys."

 

Mayfield has thrown a TD pass in a Big 12-record 39 consecutive games (every contest of his OU career), which is the third-longest streak in FBS history. He's also thrown at least two TD passes in a Big 12-record 26 straight contests (81 TDs to 13 interceptions during the stretch), which is tied with Boise State's Kellen Moore for what is believed to be the longest streak in FBS history.

 

Mayfield's career passing efficiency mark of 176.0 would break the FBS record held by Bradford (175.6). No. 2-ranked OU, which behind Mayfield leads the nation in yards per game (583.3) and yards per play (8.4; next highest is 7.6), will make its 51st bowl appearance when it takes on No. 3 Georgia in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual on Jan. 1 at 4:10 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by ESPN.

 

OU's AP Players of the Year (Award presented annually since 1998)

2000:Josh Heupel

2003: Jason White

2008: Sam Bradford

2017: Baker Mayfield

Submitted by Mike Houck | Assistant AD/Strategic Communications, University of Oklahoma Athletics Department

 

NORMAN — Quarterback Baker Mayfield, who wears No. 6, took one step closer to winning Oklahoma's sixth Heisman Trophy when he was named a finalist for the 2017 version of the award Monday evening. It's the second straight year for Mayfield to be named a finalist.

 

Joining Mayfield on the list of finalists who will be in New York for this weekend's Heisman Trophy festivities are Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson (last year's winner) and Stanford running back Bryce Love. The 2017 winner will be announced Saturday during a 7 p.m. CT ceremony at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square that will air live on ESPN.

 

This marks OU's ninth Heisman Trophy finalist honor since finalists were first named in 1982, tied with Miami (Fla.) for the nation's most. OU has produced a nation-leading eight Heisman finalists since 2000, which is three more than the school with the next most (Alabama has five).

 

OU's other Heisman finalists were linebacker Brian Bosworth (1986), quarterback Josh Heupel (2000), quarterback Jason White (2003 and 2004), running back Adrian Peterson (2004), quarterback Sam Bradford (2008) and wide receiver Dede Westbrook (2016).

 

With three finalists this year, Mayfield becomes just the fifth player, and first since Georgia's Herschel Walker from 1980 to '82, to finish in the top four of Heisman Trophy balloting three times. The other three to do it were Glenn Davis (Army; 1944-46), Doc Blanchard (also Army; 1944-46) and Doak Walker (SMU; 1947-49).

 

Mayfield, who is also a finalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Maxwell Award, Davey O'Brien Award and Manning Award, leads the nation in completion percentage (.710), passing efficiency rating (203.8; would break his own FBS record of 196.4 set last year), yards per pass attempt (11.8), yards per completion (16.6) and pass of plays of 20-plus yards (75). He also ranks second in passing touchdowns (41), third in total offense (357.7 ypg) and fourth in passing yards (333.8 per game).

 

The Austin, Texas, native has completed 262-of-369 passes this year for a career-high 3,430 yards and 41 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He has also rushed for 310 yards and another five scores with no fumbles lost.

Mayfield has thrown a TD pass in a Big 12-record 39 consecutive games (every contest of his OU career), which is the third-longest streak in FBS history. He's also thrown at least two TD passes in a Big 12-record 26 straight contests (81 TDs to 13 interceptions during the stretch), which is tied with Boise State's Kellen Moore for what is believed to be the longest streak in FBS history.

 

Mayfield's career passing efficiency mark of 176.0 would break the FBS record held by Bradford (175.6).

 

Oklahoma's Heisman Trophy winners were running backs Billy Vessels in 1952, Steve Owens in 1969 and Billy Sims in 1978, and White in 2003 and Bradford in 2008. Only three schools (Notre Dame 7, Ohio State 7 and USC 6) have produced more Heisman Trophy winners than the Sooners. The next most is three (by six schools).

 

No. 2-ranked OU, which behind Mayfield leads the nation in yards per game (583.3) and yards per play (8.4; next highest is 7.6), will make its 51st bowl appearance when it takes on No. 3 Georgia in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual on Jan. 1 at 4:10 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by ESPN.

 

 

OU's Heisman Trophy Finalists
(Finalists first announced in 1982)
1986: Brian Bosworth
2000: Josh Heupel
2003: Jason White
2004: Adrian Peterson, Jason White
2008: Sam Bradford
2016: Baker Mayfield, Dede Westbrook
2017: Baker Mayfield

OU's Heisman Trophy Winners
1952: RB Billy Vessels
1969: RB Steve Owens
1978: RB Billy Sims
2003: QB Jason White
2008: QB Sam Bradford

 

Mike Houck | Assistant AD/Strategic Communications
University of Oklahoma Athletics Department

 

NORMAN — Winner of its last eight games and 18 of its last 19 going back to last season, Oklahoma will make its second College Football Playoff semifinals appearance in the last three years when it faces Georgia in the 104th edition of the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif. OU's bowl destination was announced late Sunday morning.

 

The Sooners, under the direction of rookie head coach Lincoln Riley, are the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff while Georgia is the No. 3 seed. The other semifinals game will pit No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, also on Jan. 1.

 

The Oklahoma-Georgia matchup will mark the first between the programs. Oklahoma has won its last four games against SEC programs, and is 7-3 against the league since 2000, with three wins over Alabama during that period.

The Rose Bowl, known as "The Granddaddy of Them All," is the oldest bowl game. It was first played in 1902 and has been played continuously since 1916. This year's game is scheduled to kick off at 4:10 p.m. CT and will be televised by ESPN. The winners of the semifinals contests will advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday, Jan. 8, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

 

The Sooners are 12-1 on the year and are coming off a 41-17 win over TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game on Saturday. It marked OU's third straight Big 12 title and 11th overall (all in the last 18 years).

 

Georgia is 12-1 overall and went 7-1 in the SEC to win the East Division. The Bulldogs won their first nine games of the year before stumbling at Auburn on Nov. 11. However, Georgia made up for its lone loss of the season with a 28-7 win over the Tigers in the SEC Championship Game. Georgia boasts one of the best defenses in the nation, ranking fourth in total defense (270.9 yards per game), second in passing yards allowed (158.3 yards per game), third in scoring defense (13.2 points per game) and 12th in rushing defense (112.6 yards per game).

 

Oklahoma, which is still the only Big 12 program to qualify for the College Football Playoff, boasts the nation's most prolific offense. The Sooners lead the nation by averaging 583.3 yards per game and 8.4 yards per play. Only one team (Hawaii at 8.6 in 2006) averaged more yards per play for an entire season.

 

The Sooners are led by Heisman Trophy hopeful Baker Mayfield. The senior quarterback leads the nation in completion percentage (.710), passing efficiency rating (203.8; would break his own FBS single-season record), yards per pass attempt (11.8), yards per completion (16.6) and pass of plays of 20-plus yards (75), while ranking second in passing touchdowns (41) and fourth in total offense per game (357.7) and passing yards per game (333.8).

A finalist for the Maxwell, Davey O'Brien, Manning and Walter Camp Player of the Year Awards, as well as the Burlsworth Trophy, Mayfield has completed 262-of-369 passes this year for a career-high 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns to just five interceptions (8.2-to-1 ratio) while rushing for 310 yards and another five scores.

 

The Sooners are making their 19th straight bowl appearance. Only two schools own longer active consecutive streaks of bowl appearances recognized by the NCAA: Virginia Tech (25) and Georgia (21). Oklahoma owns a 29-20-1 all-time bowl record.

 

This will mark just OU's second appearance in the Rose Bowl. On Jan. 1, 2003, the No. 8 Sooners handed No. 7 Washington State a 34-14 defeat behind quarterback and game MVP Nate Hybl, who was 19-of-29 for 240 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Running back Quentin Griffin rushed 30 times for 144 yards and a touchdown, and Antonio Perkins returned a punt 51 yards for a score.

 

TICKET INFORMATION
Sooner Club members will be notified via email within 24 hours of the bowl announcement regarding the number of tickets they have qualified to receive, with a deadline of noon CT on Wednesday to cancel orders. Instructions for the bowl and the ability to cancel will be included on members' online accounts.

 

OU student football season ticket holders will be notified via email and social media regarding the process for student bowl ticket purchases within 72 hours of the bowl announcement. All student ticket charges will be applied to university bursar accounts. All student tickets will be placed at will call at the bowl site and students MUST have a valid OU student I.D. to pick up their tickets (no exceptions).

 

A limited amount of Rose Bowl tickets will go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. CT Monday, Dec. 11, on SoonerSports.com. Watch SoonerSports.com and OU's social media outlets for additional information. All public purchase requests will be reviewed and approved by the University of Oklahoma prior to seats being allocated.

Press release


Consultants will help vet final candidates for the athletic director position; a search firm is currently assisting with the coaching hire.


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas will utilize consultants from Korn Ferry to help vet those under consideration to become the next Razorbacks’ athletics director. At this time Razorback Athletics is working with the executive search firm DHR International to assist with the ongoing search for a new head football coach.


Chancellor Joe Steinmetz met Tuesday with members of an advisory committee assembled to provide guidance throughout the search for an athletics director.


“The search for an athletics director is progressing quickly and there are a number of talented individuals we are considering,” Steinmetz said. “The input from the advisory committee has been invaluable. They truly represent the passion our state has for the Razorbacks and understand the importance of this position. The consultants will help us complete the evaluation process. We understand speed is of the essence and are working to name a new leader as quickly as possible.”


Korn Ferry, considered by many to be the nation’s top executive search firm, will be used on a consultative basis specifically for outreach, referencing and vetting final candidates for the athletics director position. Private funds will be used to pay for all of the costs associated with this service.


DHR International will work with interim Athletics Director Julie Cromer Peoples on the search for the Razorbacks’ 33rd head football coach.


“This past weekend we engaged with DHR International to work with us on our head football coach search,” Cromer Peoples said. “DHR International has an excellent reputation in our business and has already provided tremendous assistance to us in this process. With the number of vacant coaching positions in our league and around the nation, it is important that we move forward expeditiously and efficiently in finding the next head football coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks.”


DHR International is one of the largest executive search firms in the world, operating one of the largest sports practices in the executive search industry. The firm will be compensated with private funds from the Razorback Foundation Inc., a separate and self-supporting nonprofit 501(c)(3) entity, that serves as the fundraising arm of the University of Arkansas Athletic Department.


About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines.

 

The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Press release

 

WILBURTON, OK (Nov. 27, 2017) – Eastern Oklahoma State College will host its annual high school invitational basketball tournament Dec. 4-9 in Wilburton.

 

This year’s tournament will feature 12 high school boys’ and girls’ teams from Oklahoma. Both boys and girls teams from Battiest, Buffalo Valley, Caney, Cameron, Gans, Haileyville, LeFlore, Panola, Red Oak, Smithville and Stuart will participate. In addition, the Red Oak JV boys’ team and Talihina JV girls’ team will round out the competition.

 

Eastern’s annual high school invitational basketball tournament is one of the largest and longest running tournaments of its kind in Oklahoma.

 

Five players from each bracket will earn All-Tournament Honors and one player from each bracket will be named Tournament MVP.

 

Games will be played at Eastern’s C.C. Dunlap Field House in Wilburton and the Wilburton High School gymnasium.

 

For tournament brackets and a complete schedule of games, visit www.eosc.edu/invitational

 

Saturday, 25 November 2017 23:13

OU Football Game Notes

Written by

Mike Houck | Assistant AD/Strategic Communications, University of Oklahoma Athletics Department

 

In his final career home game, Baker Mayfield came off the bench and completed 14-for-17 passes for 281 yards and three TDs without an interception to help the Sooners to a 59-31 win over West Virginia in the regular season finale for both teams. Sophomore running back Rodney Anderson rushed 13 times for 118 yards and four TDs, all in the first half, as OU improved to 11-1 overall and 8-1 in the Big 12. West Virginia fell to 7-5 and 5-4.

 

The Sooners set a school record with their 12.0 yards per play, breaking the previous mark of 11.4 in 1971 at Kansas State. OU’s 646 yards were its third most of the year and represented the seventh time in 12 games this year it surpassed the 600-yard mark.

 

Through three quarters, the Sooners scored touchdowns on seven of their eight possessions. The other possession lasted one play, a career-long 51-yard field goal make by Austin Seibert to close the first half. It was Seibert’s 11th consecutive conversion.

 

Sophomore quarterback Kyler Murray played OU’s opening drive and ran for 66 yards on the first play from scrimmage. He was 2-for-2 passing for 52 yards on the day and connected with Myles Tease on a 46-yarder for Tease’s first career touchdown. Mark Andrews, Grant Calcaterra and CeeDee Lamb also registered TD grabs.

 

Senior Emmanuel Beal made a career-high 11 tackles while freshman Kenneth Murray made a career-high nine stops. The Sooners held the Mountaineers to 387 yards (5.5 per play).

 

The Sooners will face TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game next Saturday at 11:30 p.m. CT at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The game will be televised by FOX.

 

 

Friday, 24 November 2017 22:00

Bielema dismissed as Arkansas head football coach

Written by

Press release


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema has been dismissed by the University of Arkansas, it was announced by Interim Athletics Director Julie Cromer Peoples. Bielema completed his fifth season as the Razorbacks’ head coach on Friday.


“Shortly after the completion of today’s game, I met with Coach Bret Bielema and informed him of our decision to move forward with new leadership in the Razorback Football program,” Cromer Peoples said. “During the course of the past five seasons, we have not been able to sustain the success on the field that is expected and required at the University of Arkansas. There is no question that Coach Bielema has been a valued and respected member of our department and has made a positive impact on the lives of our student-athletes, including supporting them in their pursuit of graduation. We are grateful for his contributions to our program and most importantly his investment in the lives of our student-athletes. We wish him the very best both personally and professionally.


“Our goal has been and will always be to compete and win in the SEC and nationally. I firmly believe that with all that the University of Arkansas has to offer, including our history and tradition, our facilities, our passionate fan base and competing in the nation’s best conference, we will attract the interest of many of the top coaches in the nation.”


Named the 32nd head coach in program history in December of 2012, Bielema compiled a 29-34 record over his five seasons. He led Arkansas to three straight bowl appearances, highlighted by wins over Texas at the 2014 Texas Bowl and Kansas State at the 2016 Liberty Bowl.

 

In 2014, Arkansas became the first unranked team in college football history to post back-to-back shutouts over ranked opponents after blanking No. 20 LSU and No. 8 Ole Miss.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017 22:30

Advisory Committee Named for Athletic Director Search

Written by

Press release

Composition includes representation from board, alumni, former student-athletes, coaches, volunteers and academic affairs.


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas Chancellor Joseph E. Steinmetz has announced the members of a committee to advise him on the hiring of the next vice chancellor and director of athletics for the university.


“I sought to assemble a committee representative of the university, spanning past and present in our academics and athletics history, with knowledge and perspective about Arkansas, and, notably an appreciation of the source of pride the Razorbacks are for the state of Arkansas,” Steinmetz said. “I have great faith in the approach that each of these advisors will bring to the process and I’d like to thank these folks for their time in this endeavor.”


Steinmetz formed the committee in consultation with Julie Cromer Peoples, interim director of athletics. He has indicated he wishes to move the search along as quickly as possible.


Members of the public wishing to contact members of the committee are encouraged to send email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

LANCE HARTER, FAYETTEVILLE
Head Coach for Women’s Track and Field, Cross Country
The most successful coach in University of Arkansas and Southeastern Conference women’s cross country and track and field history, Lance Harter is in his 28th year at the helm of the Razorbacks program. Harter was inducted into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame in 2014, at the organization’s convention in Phoenix. He is also a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor, Mt. SAC Relays Hall of Fame and Cal Poly Hall of Fame. Harter cemented his place in Razorback history in 2015 by winning the NCAA Indoor National Title, the first ever title by a women’s program at the University of Arkansas, and repeated in 2016 when his outdoor team won the NCAA title. With two national titles, he remains the only coach of a women’s program at Arkansas to win a national championship.

 

BEN HYNEMAN ’71, JONESBORO
Chairman, UA Board of Trustees
Ben Hyneman of Jonesboro, president of Southern Property & Casualty Insurance Company, earned his B.S.B.A. from what is now called the Sam M. Walton College of Business. He is former commissioner and chairman of the Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Commission. Hyneman’s term on the UA Board expires in 2018. He has a history of philanthropy to the University of Arkansas and volunteer service, having previously supported scholarships and currently serving as a member of the university’s Campaign Arkansas volunteer steering committee. Recently he and his wife Janet created an endowment for the benefit of the University Libraries.

 

GERALD JORDAN ’70, FAYETTEVILLE
Faculty Athletics Representative and Associate Professor of Journalism
Jordan, a longtime faculty member and Arkansas native, was appointed in 2017 to be the faculty member who certifies the eligibility of student-athletes. In this role, he also serves as the university's faculty representative to the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference. Having worked with U of A students for more than 17 years, playing a role in the recruitment and retention of African American and other minority students, Jordan brings a perspective about the nature, experience and needs of students to be successful.

 

STACY LEWIS ’08, HOUSTON, TEXAS
Professional Golfer and U of A Alumna
Lewis is the most decorated player in Razorback history and is Arkansas’ volunteer assistant coach. She returns to Northwest Arkansas between professional appearances to work with the women’s golf team. Lewis finished her career as a four-time All-Southeastern Conference and four-time All-American. She won a pair of SEC Championship titles, first as a freshman in 2005, and again as a senior in 2008. In addition to a successful golf career, Lewis earned numerous academic and community service honors. She was a two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American and a four-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection. Lewis is a 2008 graduate in finance from Arkansas. She is a 2007 NCAA Division I individual champion. She brings the valuable perspective of a successful former student-athlete/current professional athlete.

 

PETER MACKEITH, FAYETTEVILLE
Dean and Professor of Architecture, Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design
MacKeith, dean at the University of Arkansas since 2014, is the only U of A dean with intercollegiate athletic experience at the NCAA Division I level, as both a varsity soccer player (4-year letterman and captain, 1977-81) and an assistant coach (1981-82) at the University of Virginia. He provides a bridge and perspective between the academic/administrative side of the university coupled with the experience of understanding the values and demands of division I athletics.

 

RICHARD N. “RICK” MASSEY ’84, LITTLE ROCK
Partner, Westrock Capital Partners
Massey earned his J.D. with honors from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1984.
Rick Massey is a Partner of Westrock Capital Partners. He also serves as Chairman of First Federal Bank, Bear State Financial Holdings, LLC and First Federal Bancshares of Arkansas, Inc. He previously served as chief strategy officer and executive vice president/general counsel at Alltel Corporation. He is also a director of Fidelity National Financial, Inc., is lead director of FIS, Inc. (both Fortune 500 companies) and a director of Black Knight, LLC, a privately held technology company. He is on the Razorback Foundation Board of Directors, the nonprofit entity charged with developing the necessary resources for Razorback athletics programs.

 

WILLIAM A. “BILL” MONTGOMERY ’71, DALLAS, TEXAS
Investor, Alumnus and Former Student-Athlete
Montgomery is a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Arkansas All-Century Team, the University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor, the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame, and the SEC Football Legends. As a former Arkansas quarterback who finished his Razorback career (1968-1970) as the school record-holder in virtually every passing category, including career touchdown passes, career passing yards, single-season passing yards and single-game passing yards. Montgomery brings a perspective that spans several eras in athletics at the University of Arkansas. He began his investment career in New York but has lived in Dallas for a number of years. He served as a volunteer member of the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century Steering Committee, which raised more than $1 billion for the university at its conclusion in 2005.

 

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Saturday, 18 November 2017 20:13

Norris Family OBU Story

Written by

By Kedrick Nettleton OBU Athletics Communications Intern

 

 

For Zach and Caleb Norris, two players on the revamped OBU Men’s basketball team, being a Bison isn’t something new. For them, it’s a family affair; green and gold runs in the blood.

 

“I took my first steps on the OBU basketball court,” Zach says, as he smiles widely. “So that’s kind of a cool story.”

 

It turns out that the Norris family is full of cool stories, some of them decades in the making. Both of the Norris boys are looking forward to more than just the action of an upcoming season with their teammates this year. They’re looking forward to playing together as brothers for the first time on the collegiate level – and a year from now, their younger brother will join them on the squad.

 

They’re also looking forward to continuing an impressive family legacy here at OBU.

 

The history of the Norris family on Bison Hill stretches back decades. Scott Norris, Zach and Caleb’s father, was recruited to play basketball out of high school, starting his freshman year in 1987. He spent four years here competing under Coach Bob Hoffman. Scott’s junior year as a player saw the Bison ranked number one in the nation. “We had some good teams when I was there,” Scott says, “and some really good people.”

 

It was during the summer, at one of OBU’s basketball camps, when Scott was working the desk, that he first saw Wendy, the girl that he would eventually go on to marry.

 

“I hadn’t even talked to her,” he says. “I just looked across the room and saw her, and I told my friend that I was pretty sure that was the girl I was going to marry.”

 

Both of the sons chuckle when they recall the story. “I guess the rest is history,” Caleb says.

 

Both Scott and Wendy played basketball at OBU, and when Scott was offered an assistant coaching position after graduating, he didn’t hesitate. Doors kept opening, and in the early 1990s Scott found himself, at 25 years old, coaching the OBU women’s basketball team.

 

“I always wanted to go into coaching,” Scott says. “It taught me a ton. Not just about basketball, but about being a good human being.”

 

It was during Scott’s tenure as coach at OBU that both Zach and Caleb were born, and it was after a practice that Zach took his first steps on the OBU court. “It was a great family atmosphere,” Scott says. “We had a great time, had some really good teams, and had some really good players.”

 

Some of Zach’s first memories are of Oklahoma Baptist. “We were always at the games, hanging out. There’s lots of pictures of us here in the gym.”

 

So it would seem natural that the Norris boys end up as Bison, and for Caleb, this was true. He never hesitated. “Pretty much as soon as I was offered the scholarship I knew this was where I was supposed to be,” he says.

 

For Zach, the journey was a little more complicated. After being recruited out of high school to play at Oklahoma Christian, Zach fractured his ankle during the very first game of his sophomore season. What could have been the end of a basketball career turned into a blessing, due partly to his contagious good attitude. “Zach’s always been one of the most optimistic people that I know,” says the boys’ mother, Wendy. “There were times that were tough, but he was really an encouragement to me as I watched him battle back through that.”

 

His attitude paid off when Caleb gave him the news earlier this year: OBU had offered him a scholarship. The choice to come was an easy one after that.

 

When asked whether there was any hesitation to come follow in the family footsteps on Bison Hill, both boys laugh. “It was pretty obvious,” Caleb says. “OBU.”

 

Both parents are thrilled at the way things turned out, but Caleb and Zach are quick to point out that their parents weren’t a factor in the decision. “They would have been obviously thrilled for me to be here,” Zach says, “but it was never a big deal. They never pushed me in any direction.”

 

“I don’t think it was a natural decision for them,” Scott muses. “But I think they both feel blessed that they had the opportunity to make that decision for themselves.”

 

Scott and Wendy were tireless in their dedication to their children, in the same way that all parents of athletes are. There were endless tournaments, practices, camps, and games, endless fees and disappointments and successes. A commitment to sports is just that: a commitment. And it’s paid off for the Norris family.

 

“They weren’t just helping us with sports, they were helping us with life in general. They helped us get an education,” Zach says

.

The best advice that the Norris boys ever got from their parents? Caleb is quick to answer. “Basketball stays on the court,” he says. “Basketball never really followed us home, even though we were all out on the court together.”

That continues today. “Dad enjoys not having to coach anymore. He comes to games, and he’s just a spectator,” Zach says.

 

“There’s not many games we don’t go to,” Scott says with a laugh. “I like just being a fan, watching them play together.”

 

“It’s fun to come to games and see a lot of the same fans sitting in those green seats as when we were players,” Wendy adds. “It’s been a really neat thing to be a part of that OBU family.”

 

It’s worth noting that two other members of the extended Norris clan were also involved in OBU athletics. Loni Vaughan McIntyre, Zach and Caleb’s aunt, and their cousin, Madison Vaughan, both played softball on Bison Hill.

Having been involved in the OBU sports program for decades, Scott and Wendy have a unique, big picture view of what’s been developing over the last decades, and they are impressed by what they see.

 

“Having moved to the NCAA, there’s a bit more of a professional aspect to everything,” Wendy says. Both point to the updated facilities as a huge benefit to the program; Wendy thinks laughingly of the “closet” that her team used as a weight room. The expansion of talent, the updated facilities, and the people in charge all point to bright things in the future. “It’s crazy how much it’s grown in the athletic department,” Scott says.

 

More than anything, though, the overwhelming sense that one has in sitting down with the Norris family is a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation for the role that OBU athletics has played in their lives.

Scott perhaps sums it up best. “We’re just fortunate to have a great family, kids who are healthy, fortunate to have this opportunity. We’re extremely blessed. OBU has been so forgiving and accepting of me, and I love that my kids get to experience that.”

 

And with any luck, that blessing will continue for years to come.

 

Norris family photo 002

The Norris Family

 

 

Page 1 of 24
 11 December 2017
  15  
Submitted by Mike Houck, Assistant AD/Strategic Communications - University of Oklahoma Athletics Department   NORMAN — Two more All-America teams were released Monday and the University of Oklahoma football team was well represented on ...
 15 
Submitted by Mike Houck, Assistant AD/Strategic Communications - University of Oklahoma Athletics Department   NORMAN — Two more ...
11 December 2017
 07 December 2017
  19  
Press release    NORMAN — Quarterback Baker Mayfield picked up his first major national postseason honor of 2017 on Thursday when he was named AP Player of the Year.   Mayfield became the fourth Sooner to win the award, ...
 19 
Press release    NORMAN — Quarterback Baker Mayfield picked up his first major national postseason honor of 2017 on Thursday when he ...
07 December 2017
 04 December 2017
  92  
Submitted by Mike Houck | Assistant AD/Strategic Communications, University of Oklahoma Athletics Department   NORMAN — Quarterback Baker Mayfield, who wears No. 6, took one step closer to winning Oklahoma's sixth Heisman Trophy when he ...
 92 
Submitted by Mike Houck | Assistant AD/Strategic Communications, University of Oklahoma Athletics Department   NORMAN — Quarterback Baker ...
04 December 2017
 03 December 2017
  51  
Mike Houck | Assistant AD/Strategic CommunicationsUniversity of Oklahoma Athletics Department   NORMAN — Winner of its last eight games and 18 of its last 19 going back to last season, Oklahoma will make its second College Football ...
 51 
Mike Houck | Assistant AD/Strategic CommunicationsUniversity of Oklahoma Athletics Department   NORMAN — Winner of its last eight games ...
03 December 2017
 28 November 2017
  49  
Press release Consultants will help vet final candidates for the athletic director position; a search firm is currently assisting with the coaching hire. FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas will utilize consultants from Korn Ferry to ...
 49 
Press release Consultants will help vet final candidates for the athletic director position; a search firm is currently assisting with the coaching ...
28 November 2017
 27 November 2017
  124  
Press release   WILBURTON, OK (Nov. 27, 2017) – Eastern Oklahoma State College will host its annual high school invitational basketball tournament Dec. 4-9 in Wilburton.   This year’s tournament will feature 12 high school ...
 124 
Press release   WILBURTON, OK (Nov. 27, 2017) – Eastern Oklahoma State College will host its annual high school invitational basketball ...
27 November 2017
 25 November 2017
  53  
Mike Houck | Assistant AD/Strategic Communications, University of Oklahoma Athletics Department   In his final career home game, Baker Mayfield came off the bench and completed 14-for-17 passes for 281 yards and three TDs without an ...
 53 
Mike Houck | Assistant AD/Strategic Communications, University of Oklahoma Athletics Department   In his final career home game, Baker ...
25 November 2017
 24 November 2017
  52  
Press release FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema has been dismissed by the University of Arkansas, it was announced by Interim Athletics Director Julie Cromer Peoples. Bielema completed his fifth season as the ...
 52 
Press release FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema has been dismissed by the University of Arkansas, it was announced by ...
24 November 2017
 22 November 2017
  83  
Press releaseComposition includes representation from board, alumni, former student-athletes, coaches, volunteers and academic affairs. FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas Chancellor Joseph E. Steinmetz has announced the members of a ...
 83 
Press releaseComposition includes representation from board, alumni, former student-athletes, coaches, volunteers and academic affairs. ...
22 November 2017
 18 November 2017
  154  
By Kedrick Nettleton OBU Athletics Communications Intern     For Zach and Caleb Norris, two players on the revamped OBU Men’s basketball team, being a Bison isn’t something new. For them, it’s a family affair; green and gold runs ...
 154 
By Kedrick Nettleton OBU Athletics Communications Intern     For Zach and Caleb Norris, two players on the revamped OBU Men’s ...
18 November 2017
 16 November 2017
  230  
Press release FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The following is a statement from former University of Arkansas Director of Athletics Jeff Long: My family and I would like to thank the University community, Fayetteville community, all of Northwest ...
 230 
Press release FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The following is a statement from former University of Arkansas Director of Athletics Jeff Long: My family ...
16 November 2017
 15 November 2017
  187  
Press release Julie Cromer Peoples has been appointed to serve as interim vice chancellor and director of athletics. FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz announced today that Vice Chancellor and Director of ...
 187 
Press release Julie Cromer Peoples has been appointed to serve as interim vice chancellor and director of athletics. FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – ...
15 November 2017
 13 November 2017
  468  
Congratulations to the Fanshawe 3rd & 4th grade Lady Grizzlies and the 3rd & 4th Grade Fanshawe Grizzlies. Both teams took 1st place in the Hodgen Tournament. Congratulations!             ...
 468 
Congratulations to the Fanshawe 3rd & 4th grade Lady Grizzlies and the 3rd & 4th Grade Fanshawe Grizzlies. Both teams took 1st place in ...
13 November 2017
 12 November 2017
  94  
From Wister Wildcat Chronicle   Wister Senior Bryar Ward signed a letter of intent to play baseball next year at East Central University.   Pictured below are Bryar with Coach McAlester and Mrs. Pugh as well as his family. ...
 94 
From Wister Wildcat Chronicle   Wister Senior Bryar Ward signed a letter of intent to play baseball next year at East Central University. ...
12 November 2017
 02 November 2017
  106  
Mike Houck, Assistant AD/Strategic Communications, University of Oklahoma Athletics Department   NORMAN — Oklahoma senior Baker Mayfield was named the Manning Award Quarterback of the Week on Thursday.   Mayfield accounted for ...
 106 
Mike Houck, Assistant AD/Strategic Communications, University of Oklahoma Athletics Department   NORMAN — Oklahoma senior Baker Mayfield ...
02 November 2017
 02 November 2017
  108  
By Bryce Palmer   Help the Poteau Boys Basket Team raise money. Donations will be used towards the purchase of new uniforms, travel gear, shooting shirts, and practice equipment. Donations are vital to the success of our program. ...
 108 
By Bryce Palmer   Help the Poteau Boys Basket Team raise money. Donations will be used towards the purchase of new uniforms, travel ...
02 November 2017

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