Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

November 2011

Aggie Pride Lives on in Hall of Fame

Former student athletes and their families packed the ballroom inside the Oklahoma Panhandle State University Student Union recently, and while it may have been 50 or more years since some of them donned a college jersey, the enthusiasm and camaraderie at the inaugural Aggie Hall of Fame banquet rivaled any pep rally before a big game.

The entire 1961 football team was honored in part for leading the nation in total offense as well as in rushing offense in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) that year. A member of the team, J. B. Flatt, accepted the award on behalf of the team and shared a number of off-the-field antics about his fellow Aggies. In fact, the men and their wives meet every two years in the Oklahoma City area for a reunion. Jack Williams, Aggie radio announcer from 1961, also entertained the audience with his memories of that historic season. About 25 members of the team or their representatives attended the ceremony, most of them with their families and even some friends.

One of the running backs on that team, Jim Holder, led the country in 1963 with an astonishing 1,775 yards rushing in only one season. Son Jim Holder Jr. received the award for his late father, who died serving his country in Vietnam, when he was only 26 years old. The younger Holder spoke of how he has gotten to know his dad over the years through his Aggie football teammates and remains grateful for that opportunity. He said he is honored that his dad is a part of the Aggie Hall of Fame.

Another running back, Junior Wolf attended the ceremony and shared some memories of his days on the field. A proud member of the Kiowa tribe, he said that the thought of attending college never really entered his mind. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to attend OPSU and remains a proud alum. Wolf had an impressive Aggie football career, leading the nation with 25 touchdowns in 1958, scoring 12 of those in back-to-back games.

Moving from the gridiron to the hardwood, Aggie basketball player Anthony Blakely was introduced by his former college coach, Steve Hudson. The 6’9" Blakely gave an inspirational account of how he matured as a man and learned to take responsibility for his life over his college basketball career. He earned first team All-American honors in 1989, averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Yelle Pierau, OPSU’s all-time leading women’s basketball scorer, chalked up a whopping 1,582 points from 1991-93. Pierau, a native of Suriname, was unable to attend and longtime Goodwell resident Jean Mee accepted the honor on her behalf. Mee served as a “mom away from home” for many student athletes, including Pierau and shared a number of stories about the international student.

Jerry Olson, OPSU’s athletic director and head men’s basketball coach, served as master of ceremonies for the event. He said, “It was great to see the pride that they have in being an Aggie and being from OPSU.” Many of the alums attended the week's football game and several also spoke to current student athletes about what their college athletic careers mean years later. Through the Hall of Fame, Aggie pride spans the generations, offering students and alums the opportunity to share their common bond.

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