Mossman Prophecies No. 014
July 2, 2007
The tradition associated with University of Oklahoma
football is so tremendous that it can be intimidating.
I remember coming to OU just prior to the 2001 season.
Within the first couple weeks I was here, aside from
the current headliners, I had shaken hands with people
like Barry Switzer and J.C. Watts.
Now if you work long enough in sports, it doesn’t
take long to get over the “celebrity” of
the vocation. Pretty soon you find out that people
are people and most are more down to earth than we
But still, Oklahoma is Oklahoma and when any of us
come in contact with the greats from this school, we’re
coming into contact with the best in college football,
It wasn’t until deeper in my tenure that I
had the opportunity to meet Steve Owens. Not to date
Steve, but my memory of his Heisman day is strangely
clear for a kid that did not grow up a Sooner fan.
I was lying in my bed in Independence, Kan., but within
ear shot of the nightly sports report on KOTV in Tulsa
(when you’re 10 you don’t get to stay up
all the way to the sportscast). For some reason, I
remember vividly Mack Creager reporting the fact that
Owens had won college football’s most coveted
So Steve Owens had always been something of an icon
to me. The first time I approached him it was with
all of the formality I could muster. I wiped my hand
dry on the back of my trousers and tried not to slur
the line, “It’s very nice to meet you.”
Then that big voice boomed and Miam-uh, Oklahoma came
flowing out all over the place. It was like we had
known each other for years.
I’m pretty sure Steve won’t remember any
of it, but it made quite an impression on me.
On Sept. 2, Oklahoma’s second Heisman winner
will be honored with a statue in OU’s Heisman
Park, located just east of the stadium. The dedication
ceremony is Saturday. This is another of those opportunities
we get around here to applaud the past and revel in
all the years of success. That alone is fun.
How much more fun is it when the person we recognize
represents us equally well at a black tie dinner or
a backyard barbeque? The 1969 Heisman winner is another
of those OU players that isn’t all caught up
in his own identity. He has perspective and that ability
to put people at ease, even a new employee a little
caught up in history and achievement.
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Kenny Mossman, Associate Athletics Director for
Communications, provides his perspective on Oklahoma
Athletics in his regular column on SoonerSports.com.