The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

June 23, 2013

Coaches wise to respect tradition

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Fact and opinion.

Whoever is the next University of Oklahoma baseball coach might want to reach out to retired Sooner coach Enos Semore.

Check various media reports and one can tell that players from the Semore era weren’t too sad with Sunny Golloway leaving for Auburn. Golloway was not known for reaching out to Semore, who took the Sooners to five straight College World Series appearances (1972-76).

Larry Cochell, Golloway’s predecessor, didn’t make any friends with the Semore era when he fired Enid native and former OU All-American Ray Hayward as the Sooners pitching coach in 2004.

One can only look at the OU football program for the importance of respecting tradition.

Outsider Howard Schnellenberger came in proclaiming books were going to be written and movies made about the success he was going to have. He flat out said he wasn’t hired to run the Wishbone.

Howard lasted one year after going 5-5-1. No books were written and no movies made.

Bob Stoops, on the other hand, embraced Barry Switzer at his introductory press conference, telling the world he was a fan of the Sooners while growing up in Ohio. He even had the Sooners line up in the Wishbone on their first play in his first game against Indiana State. Books have been written about the Stoops era and Stoops will soon become OU’s all-time winningest coach.

• New Northern Oklahoma Enid coach Jamie Roberts remembers how she learned from her first coaching job — one year at Putnam City West.

Roberts only knew success as a player at Del City and St. Gregory’s University. She won two games with the Lady Patriots.

“That was a humbling experience,’’ she said. “It was a growing experience for me. I learned a lot.’’

She found progress can’t always be seen in wins and losses on the high school level.

“We were being run-ruled in three games (15 or more runs) at the beginning of the season,’’ Roberts said. “By the end of the season, we were getting to play seven innings. That’s progress. It probably helped get me the Purcell job (where she was hired from last December).’’

Roberts is a fan of state high schools playing fast-pitch in the fall and slow-pitch in the spring. She coached both at Purcell. Roberts played slow-pitch until she was 12.

“It definitely helps your defense,’’ she said. “At Purcell, a lot of girls didn’t play in the summer. If they hadn ‘t played in the spring, they would have fallen behind for the fall.’’

• Congrats to former Phillips University baseball player Larry Turner, whose Owasso Rams went undefeated in winning the Class 6A championship this spring.

It’s been reported the Rams were the first 6A team to go undefeated. But they aren’t the first big school team to have an unblemished record.

Enid resident Larry Geurkink took Putnam City to a 32-0 record and the Class 4A title  in 1972 with a team that included future major league pitcher Bob Shirley, catcher Steve Largent, a future Pro Football Hall of Famer; shortstop Pat Ryan, a future NFL quarterback; and outfielder Sam Lisle, a future Oklahoma State wide receiver. Infielder Jackie Schuman would receive a scholarship from OU two years later.

The 2013 Rams were plenty good, but they may have had to go way to beat the Pirates. After all, Shirley threw two one-hitters against John Marshall — the original Bad News Bears — in one week. Shirley and Hayward had the best moves to first of any high school pitcher I’ve seen.



Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.