You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone as Edmond as Byron Graham.
He was born in 1947 at St. Anthony’s and was soon brought home to his house on Eighth Street. He never left, except for a stint to go to college at Oklahoma State and upon graduation, he landed right back teaching in the Edmond school district.
Monday, Graham, a longtime educator and coach in Edmond, received a call informing him that he had been selected for the Oklahoma Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame. He will be inducted formally at 6:30 p.m. July 27 in the Southern Hills Marriott in Tulsa.
“It’s quite an honor,” he said. “I was surprised because I know the high school put out some information last year and I didn’t make it. I thought it was a one-time deal and really didn’t know.”
He retired after 40 years of teaching biology in 2011 and had won a state wrestling title in 1988 and baseball state crowns in ‘92 and ‘93.
Byron began coaching baseball in 1971 at Edmond Middle School and stayed with Edmond Memorial to the end of his career.
“My blood is kind of maroon,” he admitted. “I love those Bulldogs.”
Graham remains active in the athetic program at Memorial by running the scoreboard clocks at football games and wrestling matches and you may see him at the gate at baseball contests.
“You have to have to have good players and good assistant coaches,” Graham said of the opportunity to get into the Hall of Fame. “And, I’ve had some of the best of both. It was a wonderful career in sports.”
He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2003.
“I learned from one of the best wrestling coaches in Sherman Tyler and baseball coaches John Schwartz and Larry Geurkink,” Graham said. “They were great coaches and great ambassadors for baseball.
“They’re the ones who gave me the desire to be a coach and I always fell back on their knowledge.”
Nearing the conclusion of his Memorial High School coaching career in wrestling, Graham knew he possessed a pair of outstanding assistants in Darren Huff and Steve Dunlap, so he handed the reins over to Huff, who is still the head Bulldog wrestling coach. Dunlap went on to win eight state championships at Broken Arrow and is now the athletic director at Tulsa Union.
Another standout assistant, Ricky Bollenbach, went over to become the head wrestling coach at Edmond North.
Graham then took over baseball for Wendell Simmons, who became the University of Central Oklahoma’s head baseball coach in 1992. Graham also noted he was supported greatly by Memorial baseball assistants Steve Herron, Lonny Cobble, Rick Nordyke and Marty Seeley.
Byron’s wife, Chris, taught for 39 years at Will Rogers Elementary and then Cimarron Middle School giving them 79 years worth of Edmond teaching between them.
Daughter Rexi Phillips has taught at Boulevard Academy for two years and was an Edmond Public Schools Teacher of the Year finalist.
“There is no one better,” lauded Justin Coffelt, who is the current Edmond Memorial principal and a former teacher alongside Graham. “There is no one that is more of an Edmond Bulldog than him.
“He went to school here and came back and taught and coached here for 40 years. We couldn’t ask for a better role model.”
Edmond’s Cecil Devine is also getting inducted into the Oklahoma Coaches Association Hall of Fame along with Graham. Devine worked for the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association.
Other inductees include Carl Albert’s Gary Rose, Collinsville’s Terry Don Due, Lawton MacArthur’s Ernie Manning and Ron Hartline, Okarche’s Cherie Myers, Heritage Hall’s Ricardo “Dick” Villaflor, Bristow’s Jerry Lomenick, Westmoore’s Mike Whaley and Don Sumner of St. Gregory’s University.
Graham’s success, loyalty lands him in Hall of Fame
You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone as Edmond as Byron Graham.
Deer Creek 2nd largest in Class 5A
With the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association releasing enrollment figures, Deer Creek stands as the second-largest school in Class 5A with 1,252 students.
Lawton Eisenhower, which had been a very strong football program in 6A, is now tops in 5A with 1,281 students.
Schedules in football classification still remain the same until 2016-17. Del City will move back into 6A beginning in 2016.
The statistics will not be deemed official until pending approval at the OSSAA’s board meeting next month.
Wilson, Grissom take on more suitable roles for 2015 season
Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins.
The moves were made to aid OU’s defense. They could benefit both in the future.
Yurcich ready for second season
With the 2014 season on the brink, Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State University football offensive coordinator, is ready for his second year at the helm after coaching a powerful offensive squad a year ago.
Yurcich and most of the Cowboys’ coaching staff attended the annual media golf outing Wednesday at Karsten Creek. He, along with the other assistant coaches, talked about the upcoming season.
“Every offense is going to be a little bit different from year to year, depending on the personnel,” Yurcich said. “I think you learn a little bit more about the players, because you know them for a longer time. You know a little bit more about the coaches you work with because you’re around them a little bit longer. All of those things factor into one more year of experience.
Wallar voted National Tennis Coach of the Year finalist
The National High School Athletic Coaches Association honored Dee Ann Waller, coach and teacher from Edmond North High School, as a finalist for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association National Coach of the Year in tennis.
Eight finalists from across the nation were chosen to be honored during The National Coach of the Year awards banquet that took place during the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s national convention June 14-18, at the Snow King Resort in Jackson Hole, Wy.
McKey to compete in North American final
Edmond’s Mary McKey, who attends John Carroll Catholic School in Oklahoma City, qualified for the Hershey’s Track & Field Games North American Final after winning the Hershey’s Oklahoma State Meet June 28.
McKey, 12, had the fastest time in the region that consists of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico and Puerto Rico. Hershey only accepts eight runners from North America.
McKey is a Catholic grade school champion and the first Catholic student to qualify for the North American final. She is also a Jim Thorpe Games 400-meter champion.
The North American final will run Aug. 2 in Hershey, Pa.
Former quarterback Bell has pedigree to dominate at tight end for Sooners
The question came quickly to Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. Are there any plans to use Blake Bell at quarterback — in some capacity?
“That’s funny, it keeps coming up,” Stoops said Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days. “Blake was recruited definitely as a quarterback. But when you look at him now after three years, he is the pro-type at tight end. He’s got great hands, great size. He can run. Natural spacing as far as where to be in his routes.”
So, the answer is no.
Smith ready to begin the next chapter with Ravens
During his long drive to Maryland from his North Carolina home Sunday, veteran wide receiver Steve Smith had plenty of time to think about an offseason defined by a dramatic change in his life.
After 13 years with the Carolina Panthers, Smith was cut in March following one of the least productive seasons of his career. The Ravens promptly signed him to a three-year, $11 million contract.
Smith remained in a reflective mood as veterans officially reported to camp Wednesday. Smith, however, showed up Monday eager for his new start.
Local cops arrest NFL player on marijuana complaint
The Edmond Police Department has released the incident report related to the arrest of ex-Oklahoma State star and current NFL player Justin Blackmon.
Blackmon, 24, a product of Plainview High School in Ardmore, is a 6-1, 210-pound wide receiver in his second year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. At Oklahoma State University, he was a two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the country’s best collegiate wide receiver.
Former OSU line coach having impact on Texas staff
It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it — former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong’s Texas Longhorns.
“It’s always good when you go hire staff and you look at just getting the right people within your program. And, a lot of times, guys know a lot of Xs and Os, but it’s all just about developing a player,” said Strong, Tuesday during the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days. “Joe and I, we’ve coached together at two different places. But just with him being within his conference and knowing the conference, he’s been a great asset.”
Santa Fe alum McGreevy makes U.S. Amateur
OU’s Max McGreevy, an Edmond Santa Fe graduate, and University of Tulsa’s Logan McCracken qualified for the 2014 U.S. Amateur, the United States Golf Association’s (USGA) prestigious annual event featuring the world’s finest amateur golfers. This year’s championship will be held at the venerable Atlanta Athletic Club (AAC) in Johns Creek, Aug. 9-17.
Max McGreevy, Edmond 67-65—132
Logan McCracken, Oklahoma City 69-66—135
1st Alt. Garrison Mendoza, Clinton 69-71—140
2nd Alt. Thomas Johnson, Norman 71-69—140
- More Sports Headlines
- Deer Creek 2nd largest in Class 5A