Special to The Sun
Former Univeristy of Central Oklahoma softball coach Gerry Pinkston and UCO journalism and history graduate Larry C. Floyd were both honored Thursday at a luncheon in Guthrie awarding the 2014 Oklahoma Sports Historian of the Year.
Presented by the Territorial Capital Sports Museum, the award was presented at the museum to authors Floyd and Bill Plummer III for their 2013 book, “A Series of Their Own: The History of the Women’s College World Series.” It chronicles the first 44 years of college softball’s national championship series.
Along with Pinkston, OU associate head softball coach Melyssa Lombardi and OSU softball coach Rich Wieligman attended the luncheon. The two active coaches spoke briefly on their experiences in college softball and about the book.
“Our college coaches were gracious to lend their support to the topic of our first Oklahoma Sports Historian of the Year award to help us honor these two authors,” said Richard Hendricks, executive director of the Territorial Capital Sports Museum, formerly the Oklahoma Sports Museum. “We are proud to recognize Larry Floyd and Bill Plummer for their great service to Oklahoma’s rich athletic heritage by researching and writing about the amazing growth of women’s college softball.”
“A Series of Their Own” narrates each of the national championships back to the first in Omaha, Neb. in 1969. It guides readers through the tourneys up to the 2012 NCAA Division I National Championship won by Alabama. The competition is now named the Women’s College World Series played in Oklahoma City’s ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Lombardi, associate head coach at OU, spoke of the quiet confidence their eventual national championship team showed throughout the 2013 season, attributing that to a resolve created by coming so close to the championship the year before. She went on to express appreciation for the author’s efforts on behalf of women’s college softball.
“‘A Series of Their Own’” really gives the true softball fans out there a history of the Women’s College World Series from its start in 1969 and from there how far the sport has come,” Lombardi said. “For Bill and Larry to put all that in a book for avid fans to read and get a true understanding of how far the World Series has come, what Title XI has done for women’s sports, is phenomenal.”
Both Wieligman, head coach at Oklahoma State, and Floyd recognized retired UCO softball coach Gerry Pinkston in the audience during their remarks. Pinkston, who coached softball for 22 at the University of Central Oklahoma, was also the school’s volleyball coach for seven years. The UCO softball team, which won the Div. II national championship last season, is No. 1 in the Fastpitch Coaches Association preseason poll.
“Talking to Gerry Pinkston before the event, I realized she was a pioneer in women’s sports in Oklahoma,” Wieligman said. “They didn’t have any scholarships back then. Women’s sports history is amazing in Oklahoma, so Gerry being there at the start of all of this and now to have the Women’s College World Series all in a book is special.”
Book co-author Larry Floyd earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in history at UCO. He is also the co-author of Oklahoma Hiking Trails (OU Press: 2010) and is currently ghostwriting a book with noted Oklahoma City wild sheep hunter Leonard Hansen.
The book, “A Series of Their Own: The History of the Women’s College World Series,” is available for purchase online at www.seriesoftheirown.com.