The Daily Oklahoman from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on June 26, 2015 · 18
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The Daily Oklahoman from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma · 18

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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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Friday, June 26, 2015
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18
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6B FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 2015 SPORTS THE OKLAHOMAN NEWS0K.COM BEST OF NEWSOK: BERRY TRAMEL BLOG Readers respond to the death of Bob Barry Jr. BY BERRY TRAMEL Staff Writer btrameloklahoman.com Reader responses to our Bob Barry Jr. tributes have been overwhelming. I thought I would share some with you: Bill Khourie: "Just finished reading your piece on BBJ and yes, so many thousands felt like they knew him and knew him well. I lost my only son over Christmas break while in his last year at OU, Jan. 6, 2009. Many of his friends started a memorial golf tournament and banquet to honor his life and his dedication to his younger sister that he dearly loved. She was born with a very rare syndrome that drastically altered her life. She graduated as a special education student, but her brother took her to the senior prom so she could enjoy the same experience as the other high school students. It was her only time to ever experience a prom. My son was an SAE at OU. BBJ caught wind of the event from SAE alumni and volunteered to emcee his memorial banquet fund raiser without compensation. I had never met him. However, when I introduced myself at the beginning of the banquet, I stuck my hand out to shake, but instead, he gave me a hug and said, 'As a parent, my heart bleeds for you and I pray God will bring healing to you and your entire family.' He asked to meet Billy's sister and mother to express his condolences to them as well. His kindness, compassion and generosity was only a part of what made him such an incredibly special husband, father, friend and professional. When my wife and I heard the news Saturday, like so many thousands, we were crushed. Even though we only got to meet and spend time with him on the one occasion, we felt like we lost a loved one. Yes, you are correct, Berry, the condolences offered by thousands were perhaps for ourselves as well. He may have departed our Earthly life, but his incredible spirit, special smile and kindness to all will continue to loom larger than ever as he and Bob Sr. are broadcasting to a new audience." Tramel: Sounds like Bobby. I know he was a loyal SAE alum and was dismayed at the actions of the SAE knuckleheads earlier this year. Bobby also was dismayed at David Boren's swift rebuke of the fraternity, closing the chapter and the house on the OU campus. Bobby believed that the actions of a few shouldn't offset the actions of the many. Brent Taliaferro: "Very nice article yesterday a good tribute. His smile and warmth came through the radio." Tramel: I agree. Bobby didn't have the most provocative radio show. But he might have had the most pleasant. It's kind of difficult to describe, but the melodic rhythm of Bobby's voice served to almost relax the sports radio listener. Which is against the grain. Jim Snow: "I have loved your coverage on the loss of Bob Barry Jr. I think many people , including me, forget how tight the sportscasting fraternity is. The unfortunate thing about losing BBJ is that he was not able to see and receive the accolades that were bound to come his way (even on top of what he has already received). He could have so easily ridden the coattails of his dad, but that was not his style, and you know that far better than me. I am sure that Crossings (church) will be standing room only come Friday. I feel so much for his wife and family. Such a premature loss. I am sure that there will be a lot of weep -ing on Friday, but I pray that BBJ's service will truly be a celebratory one." Tramel: It is a shame that we wait until such a time as this to tell people how we feel. But maybe BBJ has had an impact on us. I did almost three hours of radio on the Sports Animal with Craig Humphries and Al Eschbach on Monday, and as we left, Craig told me that he loved me. Ben McCain: "Just watched your tribute to Bob Barry Jr. It touched me. You nailed it! My brother, Butch, and I worked with Bob and his dad for several years at Channel 4. We always had a good time on the air and off the air with both of them. They were great broadcasters and great people. Seems like we always ended up laughing about something when we talked to Bob Jr. When I think of Bob Barry Jr. , I think of laugh -ter and good feelings. That's not a bad way to be remembered." Tramel: Butch and Ben McCain. The brother duo who did news and weather and a variety of entertainment shows at Channel 4 from 1981-87, and at Channel 5 from 1987-94. They Ve been gone from the market 21 years. Gone from KFOR for 28 years. And yet they worked with Bob Barry Jr. That is a stout legacy. JariAskins: "Count me among the many of your readers who say 'well done' on the tribute to BBJ." Tramel: Yep. The former lieutenant governor was a big fan of BBJ. VerlBrorsen: "I remember when Junior came to Perry some years back playing on a Channel 4 basketball team against some put -together locals for a community fundraiser. He was raining in threes that night like an NBA 3 -point champ. He had a great time loving every minute of it." Tramel: The Foul Shots, they called their team. I actually saw Bobby play high school basketball. He was the seventh man in a six-man rotation at Norman High School, but he in all fairness was a solid player on a really good team. State semifinalist as a senior. Left-handed, and liked to shoot. Had quite the flair for fashion, even on the basketball court. Tramel: There's no replacing Barrys' 49 years FROM PAGE IB Better yet, he was hard-working. For my money, BBJ was the best sports director in state history. Oklahoma City has had some talented sportscasters come through town, onto bigger markets or the national stage. Guys like Ross Porter and John Snyder and Ted Leitner. But OKC really has had just four iconic sportscasters. Bob Barry Sr. BBJ. Bill Teegins. Dean Blevins. Guys whose profile approached or surpassed a generation. Two of the four came from the same family. Two of the four died before their time , Teegins having fallen in the 2001 OSU basketball plane crash. And now, Channel 4 never will be the same. "What a great legacy with the Barrys," said KFOR general manager Wes Milburn. "Unmatched, and will prob -ably never in our lifetimes be repeated. It's going to really leave a void in the sports world. And leave a void in our KFOR family. That's for sure. "This legacy should have continued for many, many more years." The other day when we chatted, Milburn interrupted himself a couple of times to fight back the tears or let them flow. And truth is, most of the state feels the same. The comfort of familiarity was broken. Channel 4 had quite the historic quartet as its main faces of the 10 p.m. news. Ogle and Linda Cavanaugh as news anchors, Mike Morgan on weather, BBJ on sports. A foursome together since 1996. That's an eternity in television. But it goes beyond that. Ogle's father, Jack, was a Channel 4 news anchor in the '60s and '70s, and Bob Barry Sr.'s sidekick on first OU and then OSU radio broadcasts. Jack Ogle left in the latter part of the '70s, and when he returned to Channel 4 a few years later, his son was on the staff and now is the face of the franchise himself. This is a station that made viewers feel at home. This is a station that made viewers know they could count on continuity. "For the viewer, it becomes family," Kevin Ogle said. "That is the one word viewers have used when describing Bob Barry Jr. They want to know who they're listening to or watching. So many people have said, T invited him into my living room every night.' He was family." Bob Barry Sr. already was the radio voice of OU football, when he signed on in 1966. BBJ joined the station in 1982, and when he replaced his dad as sports director in 1997, BBJ already had been anchoring much of the sports and had embarked on a successful radio career, too. So people knew him well. The Barrys' natural charm made everything even more sweet. Lovable icons are hard to beat. And now, Oklahomans have to be at least 60 years old to remember a time without access to an iconic Bob Barry. " Since 1 9 6 6 , pretty much every Monday through Friday, every week, for 49 years, we've had aBarry broadcasting sports on this television station," Milburn said. "To not have that will certainly leave a void, because you couldn't find a better guy and better person than BBJ. You can't replace that kind of legacy." The Sports Animal, of which I'm a part, will miss BBJ. But he'll eventually be replaced. It won't be the same, probably won't be better. But the radio will be OK. Channel 4? There's no replacing Bob Barry Jr. There's no replacing 49 years. Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel(3oklahoman. com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.comberrytramel. BEST OF NEWSOK: OU BLOG Striker is 2nd -most important Sooner in 2015 NORMAN Continuing our 10-part blog series on the players whose performances will be most critical to the Sooners' success in 2015, here's a look at No. 2. NO 2: ERIC STRIKER Position: Outside linebacker Class Senior 2014 stats: 68 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, nine sacks, two fumble recoveries, five pass breakups The skinny: Striker is clearly one of the elite players on the team and one of the best pass rushers in college football but OU coaches are still tinkering with his role, figuring out exactly how to use the immensely talented senior. He's made 17.5 sacks in the last two years, and even though it may have seemed at times like he wasn't as effective in g Jason Kersey i jkersey(3 oklahoman.com 2014 as he was in 2013, he actually ended up with more sacks and tackles for loss as a junior. That's because OU coaches had to get more creative in how they blitzed him. Teams weren't going to be as surprised by Striker's skills last year, and they'll probably be even more ready for him in 2015. "Eric can do a lot of different things," defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said during the spring. "We're trying to make him multi-dimensional." But Striker's on-field skills aren't all that make him the second-most important player Oklahoma's Eric Striker had 68 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, nine sacks, two fumble recoveries and five pass breakups in 2014. PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES on the team entering 2015. He's OU especially its defense also one of the team's most going to need that attitude to vocal, passionate leaders, and be contagious. WATSON TAKES EARLY LEAD AT U.S. SENIOR OPEN Tom Watson took advantage of an early tee time to shoot a 4-under 66 and earn the clubhouse lead in the opening round of the U.S. Senior Open on Thursday. With the temperature expected to soar to 104 degrees in the afternoon, Watson worked through Del Paso Country Club before the scorching heat in California's capital city intensified. The high heat is similar to last year's conditions at Oak Tree National in Edmond. The eight-time major champion overcame a double bogey before the turn and had four birdies in his final nine holes. Michael Allen and Lee Janzen each finished at 67. WATSON TAKES 2-STROKE LEAD IN TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP Bubba Watson hit to inches on the final hole for the last his nine birdies in an 8-under 62 on Thursday in the first round of the Travelers Championship. Watson had a two-stroke lead in the event he won in 2010 for his first PGA Tour title. He has finished in the top 20 five times in eight previous starts at TPC River Highlands. Keegan Bradley was tied for second with Jason Gore, Seung-Yul Noh, Brian Stuard and Harris English, who shot a 30 on the back nine. Eight players shot 65, and 12 more opened at 66. THREE-WAY TIE AT BMW INTERNATIONAL OPEN Spain's Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Denmark's Lasse Jensen and England's Daniel Grant shared the first-round lead in the BMW International Open at 7-under 65. England's Andrew Johnston opened with a 66 at Munich Eichenried. Sweden's Henrik Stenson topped the group at 67, and Germany's Martin Kaymer had a 72. BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Skip Wagnon Former UCO athletic director Former UCO AD Wagnon dies at age 69 FROM STAFF REPORTS Former University of Central Oklahoma athletic director John "Skip" Wagnon passed away Wednesday from an apparent heart attack. He was 69. Wagnon retired from UCO in 2003 after more than 30 years with the university, including 17 as athletic director. He continued to be a loyal supporter of all Broncho teams and had missed only two home football games in the past 40 years. "Skip Wagnon did more for UCO ath letics than arguably any other person in our history," said Mike Kirk, director of athletic media relations. "He was a true Broncho and touched the lives of thousands of coaches and student -athletes as a trainer, coach and athletic director. More importantly, he was a great person and his loss leaves a huge void in the lives of all those who loved him." A native of Hominy, Wagnon served as a student athletic trainer at Central during his undergraduate days in the late 1960s. He spent one year as head athletic trainer at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo, Texas before taking over that position at UCO in 1971. Skip stayed in athletics until moving across campus to the Alumni Association as executive director in 1979. He served in that capacity before being named athletic director and men's golf coach in 1986. Wagnon oversaw UCO's move from NAIA to NCAA Division II and the Lone Star Conference in the late 1980s. UCO captured dozens of conference titles in various sports during Skip's tenure while also competing for national honors and annually ranking as one of the top overall athletic programs in NCAA Division II. Wagnon spent 18 years during his stint as golf coach, leading the Bronchos to eight national tournaments. He coached 13 Division II All -Americans, including the school's first individual national champion. Skip retired in June 2003 and was immediately voted into the UCO Athletic Hall of Fame for his many contributions and great dedication to UCO athletics. He was named to the Lone Star Conference Hall of Honor in 2004. Wagnon was proceeded in death by his wife, Harriett. He had two children (Jenny and Stan) and six grandchildren, with a seventh on the way. Funeral services are pending.

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