Feb. 7, 2002
Norman, Okla. - University of Oklahoma Athletics Director Joe Castiglione announced today that the soccer field on the OU campus is being named in honor of John Crain.
Crain's gift of 600,000 dollars, one the largest ever made to Sooner women's athletics, is being applied toward the second phase of the soccer project. With the 1.2 million dollar first phase completed, attention is being turned toward the construction of a grandstand, locker room and concessions and restroom areas that will be shared with the tennis complex.
For Crain, the gift is part of an association with soccer that spans two decades.
"I'm a Sooner, no doubt about it," Crain said," and I've loved soccer for 20 years so this is a wonderful opportunity for those two things to come together. It had been in the back of my mind to make a major gift like this at some time to the sport I love the most and I always thought it would be great if OU had a first-class soccer complex. Our family is just fortunate to have the ability to do this."
Crain, who attended OU for four years, had monitored the beginnings of the women's soccer program and was pleased with the early progress.
"I could see that they were putting in a beautiful field," he said. "To see (OU) doing it the right way was such a joy. It was a good start."
Crain said his love for Sooner athletics was shaped by his father, also named John.
"When it was time to go to college, he told me I could go anywhere as long as it was OU," he said. "When Notre Dame ended OU's long football winning streak, my dad wrote Bud Wilkinson a letter of condolence, so I was raised a Sooner fan, another reason we're happy that we can help the university in this way."
The donation moves OU's Great Expectations Campaign beyond the $80 million figure towards $81 million. The five year campaign, launched in 1997 with a goal of $25 million was expanded to $100 million on October 26, 2000, with a completion date of 2003. The expanded goal will ensure that OU maintains its tradition of excellence in athletics.
"John Crain and his family have a deep love for the University of Oklahoma and the sport of soccer," said Castiglione. "Their affection for both came together in this generous gift. We are appreciative of the fact that we can further develop our competitive soccer program, while also enjoying the opportunity of working with families like the Crain's.
"It's also exciting for us to witness the rapid expansion of women's athletics. We see increased interest and attendance, and now, significant financial support. This is a benchmark period for women's athletics and one that points to a very bright future."
Castiglione added that the Great Expectations Campaign continues to generate much-needed revenue.
"The success of the Great Expectations Campaign continues to be a thrilling event for everyone associated with Sooner athletics," he said. "Our desire is to keep OU ahead of the pace in college athletics. The funding to this point is very impressive. With that in mind, and with the many projects underway at this time, we still need to keep our eyes on the goal and the very real possibility of exceeding the goal. We owe that to the university and those who already have displayed their trust in us by contributing to the campaign."
Crain resides in Oklahoma City with his wife Jane. They have one daughter, Emily, and a son, Jeff. His involvement in soccer has extended to several areas. He is a former officer in the Oklahoma City Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association and has officiated college, high school and youth matches for 20 years. In addition, he is the former president of the North OKC Soccer Club.
Jane Crain was on the search committee that assisted in the hiring of Randy Evans, the current OU soccer coach, and has been associated with the Sooner program over the years through an acquaintance with associate athletics director, Marita Hynes.
Evans said the gift will have major implications for his program.
"It's ironic that we just concluded our signing period for student-athletes," Evans said. "The most significant recruit we've ever signed in this program is John Crain.
"This is a huge moment in the history of our program. It legitimizes what we're trying to do. We make no secret that it is our goal to win the Big 12, and as good as our league is, that also means you're competing for a national championship. We really feel like one of the main components we're missing is the masonry. Look what a stadium helped OU accomplish in softball. We have the blueprint right here. We just could not have asked for a better recruit than John Crain."