Longtime OU public relations specialist recognized for career achievements.
June 26, 2012
Longtime University of Oklahoma Athletics Department employee, Debbie Copp, was selected for induction into the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual convention in St. Louis, Mo.
Copp received her bachelor's degree in journalism in 1978 and later went on to complete a master's degree in education in 1984 at OU.
Throughout her career, Copp has garnered the attention of her peers for her outstanding work. In 2008, she was named the recipient of the Bob Kenworthy Community Service Award by CoSIDA. That award came on the heels of her 25-year award, which she earned from CoSIDA in 2001.
Speaking of the hall of fame selection, Copp said, “I am absolutely overwhelmed with this honor and would like to thank the current hall of fame members and the friends who were involved in making my nomination and the upcoming induction possible.
“When I received the Bob Kenworthy Award in 2008, I thought that would be the highlight of my professional career. Four years later, I am to be inducted into the hall of fame and that has left me speechless, a place I don’t often visit.”
Former Oklahoma football star Dewey Selmon, a 2010 CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-America Hall of Fame inductee, said of Copp, “I could go on and on about Debbie’s accomplishments. But what I really want you to know is her heart and compassion.
"I first met Debbie as a member of the football team at the University of Oklahoma," Selmon continued. "She was continually supportive, enthusiastic, and interested in contributing to my success both off and on the field. It has been over 30 years since I donned a Sooner football uniform, but Debbie remains continually supportive, enthusiastic, and interested in contributing to my success. It is amazing to me that when I had a daughter playing basketball for OU, Debbie was there with the same enthusiasm she had when I was playing. I am only one of hundreds of athletes that Debbie has supported throughout her life; she has been a constant advocate for student-athletes. And when Debbie Copp is in your corner, she is in your corner for life!”
Brad Lund, owner of SOLDOUT Strategies noted of Copp, “Ms. Copp was my direct supervisor during my stint as a student assistant at Oklahoma from 1984 thru 1989. Dozens and dozens of student assistants benefited from her tutelage -- none more than I.
"Debbie not only paved the way for my career in professional sports, but she had a sincere desire for me to succeed in my personal life as well," Lund concluded. "I would be hard pressed to find someone that had a more positive influence on my collegiate experience than Debbie.”
She has been active in CoSIDA since the 1970s, serving as the CoSIDA Committee on Committees’ chairperson the past six years. She has also been active on the special awards, publicists for women’s sports, publications awards, and computer committees. She has welcomed women and minorities into the profession and mentored many as an active member of FAME.
Copp joined the Sooner staff as a student in 1975 during the first year that women’s athletics were a part of the department. She went to full-time status in 1977 and has worked events in 19 of the 21 sports that OU sponsors. She moved into her current position in 1990. As the director of publications for OU Athletics, she has worked on numerous award-winning publications, including national award winners for football, post-season, softball, track and field, soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, and wrestling media guides. She also has received writing awards from the organization.
For the last six years, Copp has coordinated the award nominations for the department. In that time, OU has produced two NCAA Top VIII Award winners; one NCAA Sportsmanship Award winner; four NACDA McLendon Memorial Minority Scholarship winners ($10,000 each); three NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners ($7,500 each); two Wooden Citizenship Cup winners; four Big 12 Sportsmanship Award winners; one Big 12 Athlete of the Year, and one NCAA Inspiration Award winner.
Additionally, two former student-athletes have been inducted in the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame while others have been honored with OU Regents Award for their contributions to the university. Several Sooner athletic staff members also have received national awards as well in that time period.
"None of this would ever have been possible without the many incredible opportunities that I have been given by the University of Oklahoma, my alma mater and only ‘grown-up world’ employer I have ever had," Copp said. "I truly am Sooner born and bred and it is because of that this award has become a reality for me.”