The Edmond Sun

January 24, 2014

Ohio State Hall of Famer speaks on responsibility, blessings

Spielman addresses luncheon, OC Hall of Fame banquet

Scott Wanish
The Edmond Sun

OKLA. CITY — Oklahoma Christian University honored six Hall of Fame athletic inductees Friday night and reeled in two-time All-American Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman as a keynote speaker.

Spielman, who played in the NFL with Detroit, Buffalo and Cleveland, did not disappoint anyone with his sincere, unconcealed approach Friday at chapel or at the luncheon preceding the main event.

Students, faculty and friends of the university listened in earnestness to stories of trials Spielman lived through, to how important it is to have a proper prospective on life and the lives of your children.

“If you’re a believer (in Jesus Christ) and an athlete, you have a certain responsibility,” Spielman, the current ESPN college football analyst stated. “Every time you get to play, it’s a gift. You’re honoring your mother, your family, your team. Put those last first and the first last,” he said, referring to Christ’s statements in the New Testament.

He spoke about how his father Sonny was stern, but a very loving father at the same time. Sonny coached Chris in football in high school in Canton, Ohio.

“What I loved about my dad is he treated his players like he did his boys,” Chris noted.

From an athletic standpoint, Spielman isn’t into whether his children lost in a competition, but was the “100-percent effort” given out by his kids.

One of his prized scriptures is I Corinthinans 16:14: “Let all that you do be done in love.”

“You have to do everything in love,” Spielman closed with. “It’s easy to love someone you already love; it’s very difficult to someone you despise.

“If you do everything in love, you can live with great joy.”

More than two years after the death of his wife, Stefanie, of breast cancer at age 42, Spielman juggles parenting, work as an ESPN college-football analyst and numerous appearances to benefit the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research, established in 1999.

Recently, he added author to his resume’ with That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris & Stefanie Spielman Story — co-written with Bruce Hooley. (Some proceeds from sales will support the fund.)

His most important duty, however, involves raising his children: Maddie, 18; Noah, 16; Macy, 11; and Audrey, 9.

The Inductees

A championship-winning men’s golf coach and one of his former players, a top soccer goal-scorer, a standout basketball player and high jumper, one of the top hitters in NAIA softball history and one of the top hurdlers in Oklahoma Christian track and field history have been chosen for induction into the university’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

David Lynn (men’s golf), Rhein Gibson (men’s golf), Matt Clark (men’s soccer), Eric Wiens (men’s basketball/track and field), Amy Vanderpool (softball) and Luke Anderson (men’s track and field) formally received OC’s highest athletic honor at an on-campus dinner Friday night.

The inductees were selected by a committee comprised of Oklahoma Christian athletic department administrators, current OC coaches and faculty and staff members from outside the athletic department. The addition of the six inductees will put the Hall of Fame’s membership at 53 people.

“The 2014 Hall of Fame class represents a great cross-section of OC athletics,” OC Athletic Director Curtis Janz said. “These six men and women represented OC well during their careers and we are proud that they will be our newest Hall of Fame members.”

Anderson, of Edmond, was a four-time NAIA All-America honoree in the indoor 55-meter hurdles (2000, 2001), the outdoor 110-meter high hurdles (2001) and the indoor 4x400-meter relay (2000). He finished fifth nationally in the 55-meter hurdles and 110-meter hurdles as a senior.

Off the track, Anderson was a two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete (2000, 2001) and one of only a handful of two-time first-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honorees in OC history. He received the NAIA’s A.O. Duer Award — presented to recognize junior student-athletes who excel in character, playing ability and scholarship — at the Sooner Athletic Conference level in 2000 and received the NAIA’s Leroy Walker Sportsmanship Award in 2001. He also was a recipient of the Citizenship Through Sports Alliance National Award in 2001 and the Woody Hayes National Scholar-Athlete Award in 2002.

Clark, from Midwest City, was the only four-time All-America selection in Oklahoma Christian men’s soccer history, earning honorable mention from the NAIA in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006. He holds school records for goals in a season (23) and career (71) and for points in a career (162). In 2004, he was named as the SAC’s most valuable player and offensive player of the year.

In 2006, he led the Eagles to the second round of the NAIA national tournament, matching the program’s best finish ever. He will be only the second men’s soccer player to be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame, joining Sam Winterbotham, who was a soccer and tennis standout for OC.

Gibson, from Lismore, Australia, was a four-time NAIA All-America first-team selection (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008), a three-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete and a three-time NAIA All-Tournament pick (2005, 2006, 2008). He won four individual titles — the third-best total in school history — and helped the Eagles to a pair of runner-up finishes and a pair of third-place team showings at the NAIA Championships.

After his OC career, he won the Oklahoma state amateur title and was named as the Oklahoma state amateur player of the year in 2008. He won the Oklahoma Open title in 2010 and set a world scoring record by shooting a 55 at River Oaks Golf Club in Oklahoma City in May 2012. He continues to play professionally and this year, he won the NGA Tour’s Avoca Classic.

Lynn, Gibson’s former coach, has turned Oklahoma Christian men’s golf into a national small-college power, guiding the Eagles to the NAIA title in 2011 and the NCCAA crown in 2012. The Everett, Wash., native has been OC’s coach through most of a streak during which the Eagles have finished in the top four in either the NAIA or NCCAA national tournament 14 straight years. He is a six-time conference coach of the year (SAC 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012; Heartland Conference 2013) and received national coach-of-the-year honors from the NAIA in 2011 and the NCCAA in 2012.

Lynn’s teams and players have won 47 tournaments and 46 individual titles. He’s coached 20 NAIA, NCCAA or NCAA Division II All-Americans and nine NAIA or NCCAA Scholar-Athletes. He served as two years as the president of the NAIA Men’s Golf Coaches Association and twice has been a coach of the U.S. team at the World University Golf Championship (2008 in South Africa, 2012 in the Czech Republic). Before his coaching career, he was a four-year letterman in track and field at OC, earning NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors in 1995. He was honored as OC’s outstanding physical education major for the 1995-96 academic year.

Vanderpool, an outfielder from Farmington, N.M., was a three-time NAIA All-America pick (first team in 2000, second team in 1998 and 2001) and a four-time NAIA All-Region selection as well as a two-time All-SAC first-team pick in 2001 and 2001. She ranks second in OC history and in the top 20 in NAIA history in career hitting (.403).

More than a decade after her playing career ended, Vanderpool still holds single-season school records for batting average (.470 in 2000), stolen bases (31 in 1998) and singles (84 in 2000), as well as the OC career mark for singles (284). She had a 17-game hitting streak in 2000, the second-longest in OC history. Vanderpool will join former teammate Leah Carrell (a 2012 inductee) as the only OC softball players in the OC Athletic Hall of Fame.

Wiens, from Oologah, was a two-sport NAIA All-America selection in basketball and track and field. In basketball, he was an All-America second-team pick in 1995, a season during which he also was named as the SAC defensive player of the year while averaging a team-high 21.2 points per game. He was a three-time All-SAC honoree, making the first-team list in 1995. He once held the school record for field-goal percentage in a game (91.6 percent) and ranks ninth on OC’s career scoring list with 1,728 points.

He was equally as impressive in track and field, earning All-America honors in the high jump and the pentathlon in 1996, finishing fifth at the NAIA Outdoor Championships in both events. Wiens still holds OC’s indoor school record in the pentathlon with a score of 3,617, set in 1996.