Blankenship boys follow their dad into coaching
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Sunday, August 19, 2012
8/19/12 at 7:18 AM
2012 College Football
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When everyone's schedule would allow for an actual family breakfast or dinner, Angie Blankenship attempted to enforce one rule - no football talk at the table.
"Angie would kind of shut it down," Bill Blankenship recalls. "She wanted something else to be talked about."
OK, so when Angie and Bill and their three sons - Josh, Caleb and Adam - would convene for a meal, what was discussed other than football?
"Not much," Bill replied with a smile. "It usually got around to football."
Some families are football participants.
The Blankenships are football lifers.
Bill was a quarterback at Spiro High School and the University of Tulsa. Before joining the Golden Hurricane staff in 2007 - and becoming TU's head man last year - he coached all three of his boys at Union High School.
When Angie says, "I can't even estimate how many games I've attended," she's not exaggerating. She and Bill were high school sweethearts, and they've been married since 1978.
"They are still in love and that's incredible to see in this day and age." Caleb Blankenship told the Tulsa World last year.
Bill has coached for three decades. Angie was in the bleachers for all of his games, and she was there for the great majority of their sons' games - from sixth grade through varsity at Union and even at out-of-state games involving Josh and Adam.
"Just hundreds and hundreds of games," Angie said.
With Bill Blankenship having committed himself professionally to a lifetime of football, it seems only natural that his boys were drawn to the game.
"Our sons enjoyed the environment we created for them," Angie Blankenship said. "When they reached the third grade, they got to become ball boys (for Bill's high school teams). We thought it was a great thing for our family."
Josh was a TU quarterback before completing his playing career as a Division I-AA All-American at Eastern Washington. After working as Kirk Fridrich's offensive coordinator at Union, Josh became the Muskogee High School head coach last year.
Caleb was an All-WAC tight end at TU, eventually becoming a Golden Hurricane graduate assistant, but now he has a sales career in the medical field. Adam, a defensive end at Nebraska and Illinois State, once aspired to become a firefighter. Today, he coaches TU defensive ends for his dad.
"Josh, I always thought he would get into coaching because he was the cerebral quarterback. He loved the chess match with the defense," Bill Blankenship says. "Caleb surprised me a little when he was (a TU graduate assistant), but he's in sales now. I think he's the one who wants to talk football the most. He's always on the websites.
"Adam is the one who surprised us all. I didn't know what he was going to be, but I sure didn't think he was going to be a coach. In fact, it was (former Hurricane coach) Todd Graham who first noticed Adam's coaching potential."
When Adam was coaching at Union, Graham observed him during a Redskins practice session at Chapman Stadium. Union had been displaced while new turf was installed at its stadium.
"Coach Graham said, 'Your son can really coach,'" Bill Blankenship recalls. "I said, 'Really?' I never saw that from him. (Graham) said, 'If we stay here long enough, he's going to be working for us. I'm going to hire him.' "
Bill Blankenship hired Adam before the 2011 season.
"I'll do this for a long, long time," Adam Blankenship said. "I didn't always know that I would coach, but the second I started doing it - working some summer camps and teaching the sport - I knew that this was what I really wanted."
Soon, Angie Blankenship's football life gets an additional chapter.
"Our oldest grandkids are nearly 3," she said. "Before too much longer, they'll be playing football and I'll be at their games, too."
The family tree
Each of TU coach Bill Blankenship's sons was a Union High School football star before excelling at the college level. Today, two of them have followed his path into coaching:
Bill Blankenship: A TU quarterback in 1975-79. Before joining the TU staff in 2007, he was a high school coach at Eastwood Christian School, Spiro, Edmond Memorial and Union. In 14 seasons as Union's head coach, he had a 154-26 record and won state championships in 2002, 2004 and 2005.
Josh Blankenship: Played quarterback at TU and Eastern Washington (where he was a I-AA All-American). At 31, Josh is a second-year head coach at Muskogee High School.
Caleb Blankenship: A former all-conference tight end and graduate assistant at TU, the 29-year-old Caleb now has a sales career in the medical field.
Adam Blankenship: Played two seasons at Nebraska before transferring to I-AA Illinois State, where he was a two-year starter at defensive end and a team captain. At 27, Adam coaches Golden Hurricane defensive ends.
Original Print Headline: A father's influence
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397
Adam, Josh, Bill and Caleb Blankenship pause for a photo during Bill's time as Union head coach. Blankenship family/Courtesy
Angie Blankenship says she can't even estimate how many games she has attended. Blankenship family/Courtesy