Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, who launched his head coaching career at Oral Roberts and Tulsa, is among seven individuals in the 2013 induction class for the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
The 2013 class, announced Tuesday, also includes University of Oklahoma wrestling great Wayne Baughman, Oklahoma City Thunder chairman Clay Bennett, Olympic gold medalist Nadia Comaneci, former Oklahoma City University and NFL player LeRoy “Ace” Gutowsky, former OU quarterback Jimmy Harris and Oklahoma State two-sports All-American John Henry Ward.
The induction ceremony will be held Aug. 5 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Gutowsky, Harris and Ward are being inducted posthumously.
“This year’s class is spectacular,” said Eddie Griffin, president of The Jim Thorpe Association. “The achievements of these individuals are unparalleled: Olympic champions, All-Americans and record-setting careers. It’s just remarkable. This group truly represents how great the state of Oklahoma is.”
Regarding Self’s selection, he said he was notified by Griffin last fall. Self’s response was along the lines of “are you sure?”
“Why me?” Self said. “One of those deals.”
But Self said he is honored and humbled.
“I’m really proud of my state and respect all the people in different sports and different areas that have contributed to the rich sports history of Oklahoma,” said Self, who was born in Okmulgee and grew up in Morris, Stillwater, Claremore and Edmond.
Self was the state’s high school basketball player of the year in 1981 and he was a four-year letterman at Oklahoma State, helping the Cowboys reach the NCAA Tournament in 1983.
“I know I’m getting inducted for coaching because if anybody saw me play, there’s no way I could be inducted as a player,” Self said.
Self was an assistant at OSU before becoming head coach at Oral Roberts prior to the 1993-94 season. He re-energized the program during four years at the helm. In his first season, the Golden Eagles lost 21 games. In his final season, the Golden Eagles won 21 games and reached the NIT.
Self moved across town and became the head coach at the University of Tulsa. In 2000, he guided the Golden Hurricane to a school-record 32-win season that ended one victory shy of a Final Four appearance. He has since coached at Illinois and Kansas, guiding the Jayhawks to a national championship in 2008 and a national runner-up finish last season.
Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2013
Wayne Baughman: Born and raised in Oklahoma City, Wayne was a standout wrestler at the University of Oklahoma. He was an NCAA Division I wrestling champion and placed second twice, becoming a three-time All-American. He was also a two-time Big Eight champion. In addition to his collegiate career, Baughman was on three U.S. Olympic and eight World Championship wrestling teams. He coached two Olympic and five World Championship teams. He placed fifth and seventh in the Olympics and was a Pan American Games gold medal winner.
Clay Bennett:An extremely successful businessman, Bennett serves as President of Dorchester Capital Corporation, a private investment firm, and serves as Chairman of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Bennett was instrumental in bringing the franchise to Oklahoma City from Seattle. He works with numerous civic organizations including: the Oklahoma City Industrial and Cultural Facilities Trust; the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation, the Research Institute for Economic Development, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and Casady School.
Nadia Comaneci: A former Romanian gymnast, Comaneci won three Olympic gold medals at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and was the first female gymnast to be awarded a “perfect 10” in an Olympic event. She won two more gold medals in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. She received the Olympic Order, the highest award given by the International Olympic Committee in 1984 and 2004. She is the only person to have received it twice. She has also been inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. She and her husband, Bart Conner, reside in Norman and are business partners with their manager, Paul Ziert, in the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy, International Gymnast magazine, Perfect 10 Productions, Inc. (a TV production company) and Grips, Etc. (a gymnastics supply company).
LeRoy “Ace” Gutowsky: Raised in Kingfisher, Gutowsky was a football star who excelled at Oklahoma City University and went on to play professionally for eight years. While playing fullback at OCU, Gutowsky lost only one game in the first two years of the 1930s. Gutowsky played eight years of professional football for the Portsmouth Spartans (1932-1933), Detroit Lions (1934-1938), and the Brooklyn Dodgers (1939). He set the NFL career rushing record in October 1939 and held the Lions’ career and single-season rushing records until the 1960s.
Jimmy Harris: The quarterback who never lost, Harris had a record of 31-0, as he led the Oklahoma Sooners during their historic undefeated winning streak of 47 straight wins. Harris went undefeated after becoming quarterback during the 1954 season and led the Sooners to two national championships in 1955 and 1956. He went on to play four seasons in the NFL as a defensive back with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys, where he recorded 11 career interceptions. Following his playing career, Harris became a successful oil man as owner of Midroc Operating Company.
Bill Self: A native of Edmond, Bill Self is the head basketball coach for the University of Kansas. He played at Oklahoma State under coach Paul Hansen. While at OSU, he was a four-year letter winner and was an All-Big Eight freshman selection. He began his coaching career in 1985 and has achieved extraordinary success. He served as an assistant at KU and OSU, under Leonard Hamilton and Eddie Sutton, before making coaching stops at Oral Roberts, Tulsa, Illinois and hired by KU in 2003. With the Jayhawks, Self has won a national championship (2008), made two Final Four appearances (2008, 2012), won eight Big 12 regular season championships, and five Big 12 Tournament championships. He was named the AP Coach of the Year in 2009 and the Naismith College Coach of the Year in 2012. He has also been named the Big 12 Coach of the Year four times: 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2012.
John Henry Ward: A two-sport All-American at Oklahoma State, Ward was a first-round pick in the 1970 NFL draft. A graduate of Rogers High School, he excelled in both football and wrestling at OSU. He was a 1969 All-American tackle in football and a 1969 All-American in wrestling, finishing third at the NCAA Championships as a heavyweight. Ward was a lineman in the NFL from 1970-1976 for the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played on two Super Bowl teams while he was with the Vikings.