After traveling all over, the Bogans embrace being close to their Sooners.
- If you're a die-hard Sooner fan, what better place to retire than Norman? For Sooner Club members Joe and Jane Bogan, settling down near the OU campus was too inviting to pass up. "The University community is a great place to call home," Joe said. "It's really a lifestyle we like."
Married 44 years, the Bogans met as students at OU in the late 1960s - Joe was a backup center and lettered for the Sooner basketball team in 1966 - and both completed advanced degrees during their time in Norman. "We like to brag that, between the two of us, we have five degrees from OU," Joe said.
Jane, a school guidance counselor, followed Joe as his career took them all across the country. First a psychologist for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Joe advanced into a management role, eventually serving as warden at four different federal prisons across the United States. With stops in Durham, N.C., Washington, D.C., Tallahassee, Fla., Rochester, Minn., Milan, Mich., and Ft. Worth, Texas, the Bogans say they always gravitated toward the nearest university community.
"Every place we went we somehow connected with the university," Joe said. "Not in a big way, but through watching events."
Through the years, the Bogans have had tickets to Duke basketball, Florida State football, and even had Michigan basketball tickets during the Fab Five era. Still, with their roots in Norman, the chance to come back wasn't too difficult a decision to make.
"The agreement was, if we move all across the country, I get to pick the last place," Jane said.
When their travels eventually landed them in Ft. Worth, the draw of being back home in Norman became all the more strong. For two years the couple rented an apartment near campus and would travel back and forth on weekends for OU events, before finally moving to Norman full-time. "We had one foot in each community, but we didn't have both feet in one community. We had to decide which place was going to be home and we decided it would be Norman."
The Bogans' involvement in the Sooner Club began in earnest in 2003 with the addition of club seating on the east side of Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Season ticket holders for a number of years in the north endzone, they jumped at the chance to invest more deeply in OU Athletics and in improving their seating options.
Nearly a decade later, Joe and Jane have expanded their support of Sooner athletics to include season tickets for men's and women's basketball, and can frequently be found in the stands supporting OU's gymnastics, wrestling, softball and baseball programs.
"I will say that I have appreciated the reciprocity that we've had," Jane said of their involvement in the Sooner Club. "If we need something, and we ask for it, if the Sooner Club can accommodate us, they try. I have not been disappointed in that. Everybody has been very accommodating. I think I appreciate that if we donate, someone appreciates that back and says 'we can do this for you.'"
And, as a letterwinner, Joe has also enjoyed his involvement in the Varsity O Association. "The basketball folks are all really good to me as a former Sooner," he said. In attending reunions and other Varsity O functions, Joe said he always enjoys getting to go back to the Field House, where he played in every game on Coach Bob Stevens 1966 squad with some all-time OU greats, including two-time All-American center Don Sidle. "He'll show you where he sat," Jane teases.
And as a former student-athlete, Joe said he knows first-hand the impact that his and Jane's support for the Sooner Club can have on the current young people who wear the Crimson and Cream.
"There is a core of the experience that is no different than when I was here - being an athlete, the pressures, the whole experience, and it's a great one," he said. "I think it's great that the university is able to help these young people with the tutoring, the academic support, because they also have so many more expectations of them, working all year round. It's a great feeling to be a part of all of that - knowing that it makes a difference to them.
"These kids give a lot to the university. They give their heart, their soul and it's a good thing that the university can give back to them so everybody benefits. We love being a part of it."
For more information on joining the Sooner Club, or to renew your membership, visit TheSoonerClub.com
, or contact us at (405) 325-8000 or toll-free at (866) SOONER CLUB.