Stories of BA Tigers past continue from the minds of BA Athletic Hall of Fame sports writers Wayne Bishop and Doug Quinn. This is the first of a two part series from Quinn.
More than once, I was asked what was my favorite sport to cover during my 17 years at the Broken Arrow Ledger.
“Whatever I’m covering,” I’d say, not being sarcastic.
That was the truth.
Granted, I was more comfortable with certain sports, like football, wrestling, basketball and baseball because I could keep stats and game notes.
Yet, all were important to me, from cross country to swimming to tennis to golf and soccer. From volleyball to competitive cheer.
What mattered? BA kids were competing.
It was “making my rounds” when I’d venture through practices (that didn’t happen very often for golf and cross country). I wasn’t doing stories, just making connections and staying in touch.
Confession: It got me out of the office.
Then, there were those special moments, when a youngster signed a letter of intent to play his or her sport in college, whether it was a tiny junior college or a major university, and then printing them in the Ledger.
Being a committee member to elect Broken Arrow High School Athletic Hall of Fame classes was something I - and the others - took seriously. I was honored when then-athletic director Ken Ellett asked every year if I’d serve.
To quote Bob Hope: Thanks for the memories!
Here are few of those moments, in no particular order, which I covet.
YES, HE HANDLED IT
In the spring of 2003, Kyle Sisney was a skinny, wide-eyed ninth grader aspiring to play baseball for the Tigers.
It was mid-March Wednesday, the season was only two or three weeks old, when coach Shannon Dobson told Sisney he’d been called up to varsity, the day before a home tournament.
That evening, at the dinner table, the youngster told his folks, Jennie and Jim Sisney, he was suiting up the next day but didn’t expect to play.
“I figured I was going to enjoy my first game on varsity … from the dugout,” Kyle Sisney said.
Young Sisney was in for the surprise of his life. Ten minutes before game time, while “taking some hacks” in the batting cage, Dobson approached his future shortstop.
“Can you handle it?” Dobson asked
“I said, ‘Yes, sir!” Sisney responded. “What else could I say? There wasn’t time to get nervous and I’m glad it happened that way.”
Dobson penciled Sisney in starting lineup, something he’d do for 108 straight games.
Jennie Sisney, taking her son’s word, arrived at Tiger Field in the second inning, missing Kyle Sisney delivering a two-run single, batting lefthanded, in his first at-bat. She never missed a first pitch again.
FIVE INNINGS OF NERVES
Harrison Whitworth got his first BAHS varsity start in 2012 as a ninth grader in a moment’s notice to catch Tiger ace Trey Cobb against Bishop Kelley.
“My first three warm up throws went to the backstop,” Cobb said, laughing. “Harrison came out and said ‘Man, I didn’t know your ball moved so much.”
Quickly, Whitworth settled down and caught a no-hitter and had a two-run double to help the Tigers’ winning effort.
Afterward, Whitworth was asked if he was nervous.
“Only from the first through the fifth innings,” Whitworth said.
SOMETHING I MISSED
It was April 14, 2012, and Trey Cobb pitched a near-perfect game against Tulsa Memorial.
He walked the first batter and then retired the next 21 Chargers in a row.
“Ah,” Cobb said, years later, “if that first guy would have gotten out of the way.”
A no-hitter but oh so close to a pitcher’s dream. It would have been a perfect Saturday afternoon for this sports writer.
However, I was in Weleetka, Okla., attending my nephew’s wedding. It was a day my nephew won’t forget and to this day I have not forgiven him!
More of Quinn's favorite moments next week.
This is the second in a continuing series in which Broken Arrow Athletic Hall of Fame sportswriters Wayne Bishop and Doug Quinn look back on their time covering Broken Arrow Tiger athletics.
...that 66 season came down to a winner-take-all show of black and golds...us and Sand Springs and star David Dlaton. We were without quarterback Charlie Wilson, but we stayed in it. They won at home, 27-19, and went on to win state. I still recall standing on the bench as the Tigers trotted off the field and into the locker room.
Steve Bruner, an ex-K9 officer, said of Buddy Gainer, who was also a rodeo clown, “He used to make me so mad. The year before when Ronny Penny was safety and I played defensive back, now 'cornerback', we would rotate and the defensive end would come back to cover my spot when they ran to the other side. Jon Kirkpatrick or Richard Holcomb could cover quite well. Buddy couldn't, so Claremore ran a delayed pass that made me look like I wasn't covering my position. But what could you do to Buddy.. He was such a nice guy you couldn't yell at him or make him move any faster.”
Former BAYB president and coach of many sports, Bruner continued, “You mentioned Johnny Marshall's boy. There was Chris and Eric. Both as fast if not faster than he was. Both played soccer, but Chris wrestled when he was younger. Thanks for reminding me of the meals we used to get, and I remember us being pretty well behaved as well. And locally, if you did something, like intercept passes, Scotty Graham of First National Bank of BA would reward you with a free dinner at Claxton's. I intercepted 4 passes against Jenks’ Pat Herald, and was eating pretty good for a while.”
Snider's success continued. Michael Little was a QB for Snider and graduated in 1969.
“I played QB under Lee Snider during the 67 football season and Richard Eddy during the 68 football season. Under Snider we were a top-ranked team all year and we played to a 28-28 tie in Okmulgee. It was the game of the week and we were ranked One and Two in the state, at the time. I think I’m right about that. That team got upset in the first round of the state playoffs. Sapulpa beat us. We probably should have won state, but we overlooked the Chieftains! Our top players on that team were Richard Spradling, Rod Randall, Billy Acree, Tommy Dark, a few names I recall. Snider left for Nathan Hale after that season, replaced by Eddy. I loved playing for Snider and his wide open offense. My senior year under Eddy we were very average - 5 wins and 5 losses as I recall. Eddy was very conservative – ‘three yards and a cloud of dust.’”
Little, who is a successful musician, was also a key member of some great basketball teams under coaches Grover Wade and David Jeffs. So were Kelly Bryson and Dennis McIntire. I coached some of those kids in a summer league and had a grand time. We went up to a rec center in north Tulsa for games.
Snider was very successful at Hale and went on to OSU as an offensive coach and then came back home to Bixby. He even mowed the grass on the Spartan Field, which is now named for him.
Richard Eddy came to BA from Vinita after Snider moved on, but it was never the same. Later, Phil Angieri was coach and Gary Harper, whose Owasso team had won a state crown. Then Rick Jones...he had won a state title at Edmond and had been successful at Union.
I, too, left, going to the Claremore Progress, then to the Tulsa World. Eventually, landed at the Oklahoma Journal in Oklahoma City. I was out of the picture here for 10 years. Then I had the pleasure of working with sooners illustrated magazine for 8 years. What a different Broken Arrow I found when I came back! It was no longer a small town! It was during my return to BA with bill Retherford and the Broken Arrow Scout (soon to become the BA Ledger) that I worked with Harper, Angieri and Jones.
We had some fine teams with Jimmy McCoy at quarterback and Craig Wagner at wide receiver. Those two also led BA to a state title in baseball under coach Steve Dunlap in unprecedented fashion.
Also about that time, school officials started talking about the unspeakable...buiding a new stadium out by the high school. We had been playing on Kirkland Field by what used to be the high school—and late North Intermediate. For as long as most residents could remember, our kickers had been aiming for Buck's tree in the south end zone. It had been placed there to keep balls from getting out of the field and to the business to the south. Players had to locker at the high school, then be bused over to Kirkland. Earlier, they used to locker in a pre-fab just west of the band room—which was also a pre-fab. It also served as a weight room.
I used to take photos of and keep stats while walking the sidelines. One night I recall walking with my first born, David, hand-in-hand. I took him with me...he was a toddler at the time...because my wife worked at nights. On this Friday night, a storm blew in after the kickoff. It started raining and hailing so hard that David and I took shelter under the metal bleachers.
But things don't stay the same, and soon I was on a committee to plan a new stadium. I wanted an elevator to the press box (lol). Union had built a new stadium, but no elevator and a lot of steps! Union was just a one-building school way out in the country for years. We did not play them. When they grew to our class, we dominated. The Tigers were almost beaten one year when the Redskins were driving to what would been a winning score. Then Steve Kyler, whose dad was the local PSO executive, made a great interception to preserve the win. That was the last time in several years that BA had beaten Union.
Over the next several weeks former Broken Arrow Ledger Sports Editors and BA Athletic Hall of Fame members Wayne Bishop and Doug Quinn will share personal stories - often in first person narrative - from the days when they covered Broken Arrow sports and wrote about Tiger players and coaches. For nearly 30 consecutive years Wayne and Doug covered Broken Arrow Athletics for the city’s hometown newspapers. Wayne was sports editor for the Scout and Ledger from 1987 until 1998 when he became managing editor. Doug was then named Ledger sport editor and retired in 2015. Wayne, as he explains in this first "memory," also worked for the Ledger in the 1960s. Both men are retired.
I am 77 years old and may get a few names and dates wrong. I am not the historian on Broken Arrow High School football. I'm typing with one finger on my left hand due to my stroke.But we can have some fun with this, and bring back a few memories.
I came to Broken Arrow in early 1966, not long after I got my diploma from OU. C.A. McWilliams (BA Ledger publisher) tried to hire me while I was still in school, but I went with a more glamorous PR job in downtown Tulsa. After a few months in the “big time,” I quit and came to the BA Ledger as advertising manager. The paper had a freelance sports writer, Jim Carley, who covered Tiger football. But I was a sports nut, so I started helping out.
Lee snider had come to BA the year before from Bixby, ending a string of years under H.K. “Buck” Ragsdale and Joe Robinson, who stayed around in administration.
They told me stories where C.A. McWilliams would deliver copies of the ledger and his wife Anne would follow him in a few minutes with bills. I can just see that! But hey put up with my wanting to write sports in addition to being advertising manager. I had been in BA about eight months when football practice had begun in 1966. I had gotten to know the coaches pretty well by then, so I went to our scrimmage at Sallisaw. They had a young quarterback/running back named Steve Davis and well-known coach Perry Lattimore. We had a great trip with a bunch of well-mannered boys.
At that time, BA use to travel to small towns, because that's what we were...less than 10,000, I recall. Phone calls to Tulsa still cost a dime. City hall was a small building just across the street from Dr. Richard Polk and Petrik Drugs. That was one of the places where we gathered to eat, drink and talk city stuff. They talked a lot of football while sipping cups of coffee and sodas. The police and fire departments were in that same brick building. The Polks, father and son, also served as team physicians.
Buck Ragsdale and Joe Robinson had run the football program until then. Lee Snider had come over from Bixby to start a new era here, losing in the state finals to Ada. We started off with a bang in 1966. We were in the Six Lakes conference then: Sand Springs. Miami. Tahlequah. Pryor. We traveled a lot.
The boys, always dressed with gold jackets and black ties, always very classy in looks and behavior. We'd go to restaurants to eat after road games and left good impressions wherever we went. Good image for the city.
Snider had a game plan that always included a trick play the first time we had the ball. That made it fun for the kids...Charlie Wilson was our quarterback and could make things happen in a hurry. Johnny Marshall, whose son later became a great athlete at BAHS, was our big play man. Richard Cannon, who is married still to his high school sweetheart from BA, was our tough guy, running inside and playing defense, too.
Linemen weren't behemoths like they are today, but we did have Kelly Bryson, who starred and went on to TU before returning home to run Black Bears Barbecue restaurant and then go into teaching here. And we had guys like the Raska twins, Larry and Phil, who were tough as nails. Their dad and mom have run Raska Nursery for years on Main Street.
Steve Bruner's mom ran a smoke shop on main and he was an outstanding end. Dennis McIntire, who later became fire chief here, was one of our key players. So was Richard Spradling, who was a running quarterback and halfback. Jim Cherry became one of the fine high school coaches in the area.
One of several members of that team who went on to very successful lives after BAHS, Bruner was asked about that team, “Don't get me going...My fellow classmates and teammates were Charley Wilson, Bill Wilson, Johnnie Marshall, Richard Cannon, Charley Causey, Larry Sweet, Kelly Bryson, Abe Cobb, Kenneth Lovelace, Greg Crawford, Charley Carr, Roger Manasco, the Raska twins, Phil and Larry, Mike Huckabee, and Jim Cherry. I'm sure I've left a couple out. My cousin Rodney Randall was in the junior class but he played with the first string.. Now if you want any stories just let me know. Matter of fact, I went up to Steve Owens at a golf tournament one day to introduce myself and he immediately called a fellow over and told his side of the famous Miama/BA football game. He's a super guy!
“We got in a big fight with Tahlequah when they came to BA (in 1965). Then we kicked their tails 50-7 or something like that when we went there. I remember that game because I caught the best pass I ever caught in my life and it didn't count. Ref said I was out of bounds. I dove out like Twilley used to do and caught it, but couldn't catch myself. so I knocked the wind out of me and didn't have enough breath to argue about it. Plus, Danny, my brother, who was going to school at Northeastern, told his buddy to give someone like 20 points and bet on us and he did. So, the guy was really appreciative of Danny's advice.”
Part 2 Next Monday
The athletic director who created the Broken Arrow Athletic Hall of Fame, Broken Arrow Tigers most winning wrestling coach, a soccer player-turned-coach-turned-district administrator, two two-sport athletes, and the first official “Friend of Athletics” make up the BA Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2020.
The 2020 inductees are Ken Ellett, Shawn Jones, Chuck Perry, McKenzie (Adams) Mills, Matt Klimas and Dusty Dilldine.
Ellett served as BAPS Director of Athletics for 29 years before being named Executive Director of Student Activities in the spring of 2018. He retired from the district in December 2019. Ellett created the school’s athletic hall of fame in 1995. One of his many accomplishments included overseeing 51 state championships. Prior to Ellett’s arrival, Broken Arrow had won 11 state championships in 85 years of athletics. Ellett was named the 2009 Oklahoma Athletic Director of the Year. He also was named Region 7 Athletic Director four times. Ellett introduced sixth hour athletics to Broken Arrow in the early ‘90s. Prior to coming to Broken Arrow, Ellett coached at North Dakota State University (where he also played football), the University of Wisconsin and the University of Tulsa.
Jones amassed a 148-30 dual record, the most wins in school history, during his 14 seasons at the helm of Tiger wrestling. Broken Arrow’s wrestling teams won five team state championships and four dual state titles under Jones’ tutelage. Twenty-four of Jones’ wrestlers combined to win 37 individual state championships. In eight of his 14 seasons, Jones’ teams were ranked in the top 50 nationally by Intermat Wrestling. Jones was twice – 2008 and 2010 – named the Tulsa World’s Wrestling Coach of the Year.
Perry, the district’s Associate Superintendent of Student Services, was a standout soccer player for the Tigers from 1985 to 1987. He returned to his alma mater as a head coach in 1993. During his five-season tenure as head soccer coach, he took Broken Arrow to the school’s first state championship game. The Tigers played in the championship game twice and the semifinals once under Perry’s leadership and won four Frontier Valley Conference titles. His teams compiled a 56-13-2 record during his coaching career in BA. As a player, Perry led BA to the state semifinals as a junior and was team captain his senior season. He played college soccer at the University of Tulsa, where he was a two-time letter winner and was the squad’s Defensive Player of the Year as a redshirt freshman.
Mills, a 2014 graduate, was a three-year starter in softball and four-year track athlete for the Tigers. She was the 2014 Wendy’s High School Heisman Winner and named All-State as a senior in softball. She earned Academic All-Conference recognition three times and was twice named All-District. In track, she qualified for the state tournament in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays. She went on to play softball at Wichita State University and earned First Team All-Conference honors in 2017. She finished her college career with a .342 batting average and .378 on base percentage.
Klimas, a 2005 graduate, was a three-year letter winner in football and baseball, but it was baseball where he excelled as a Tiger. He earned All-State and All-Region honors his senior season. He was a two-time All-Conference pick and played in the Sunbelt Series in 2004. He was selected in the 36th round of the Major League draft by the Kansas City Royals out of high school, but choose to play junior college baseball for Texarkana College. During two seasons there, he was named NJCAA All-Conference and All-Region. He was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the eight round of the 2006 MLB Draft. Kilmas played professional baseball in the Giants organization for four years. He then earned his degree from Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga. He coached baseball at Thomas Jefferson Academy in Louisville, Ga., and was twice named Region Coach of the Year. In 2016 he coached the Jaguars to a Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association State Championship.
Dilldine, a 1978 graduate and Broken Arrow Public Schools Payroll Director, is the first official “Friend of Athletics” inductee. Dildine has been with the district for 33 years. During that time, he has been “loyal in attendance to all BA sporting events.” As a student, Dilldine wrestled on the BA junior high team and was kicker for Tiger football his senior season. He attended NEO A&M and Oklahoma State University, where he earned a degree in accounting. Dilldine has not only been a great supporter of Tiger Athletics, but was also an active booster as a Pride and Cheer parent. Dilldine remains involved with his graduating class, serving as treasurer for the BA Alumni Class of 1978.
The 2020 Broken Arrow Athletics Hall of Fame Induction ceremony is scheduled for halftime of the Sept. 4 home-opening football game against Union.
In order to celebrate our 2020 Senior Spring student-athletes the Broken Arrow Athletic Department along with the assistance of our spring sport booster clubs will be hosting 2020 Virtual Senior Nights on social media sites over the next couple of weeks.
The senior slide show videos also will be placed on this web page.
The schedule for our 2020 Virtual Senior Nights are listed on the graphic on this page. They begin with softball on April 17 and continue the following Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the next two weeks.
Tigette Virtual Tryout Clinic begins May 4 for 8th Grade and May 11 for JV and Varsity.
Eighth Grade Zoom Parent Meeting, April 30, 6 p.m.; JV & Varsity Zoom Parent Meeting,May 7, 6 p.m.
Eighth Grade tryout videos are due May 8. Varsity and JV videos are due May 15.
For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to https://www.batigettes.com/2020-virtual-tryouts.html