NOJC athletic reunion held at NOC
Beverly Bryant - November 11, 2019 1:16 pm
A large number of NOJC athletic alumni returned to the NOC campus Oct. 25. The group had lunch in the Glass Room and reflected on their experiences at NOC. (photo by John Pickard/Northern Oklahoma College)
TONKAWA — Funny stories, handshakes, and hugs were representative of a recent Northern Oklahoma Junior College athletic reunion held at NOC Tonkawa.
The group, who has met annually since 2009, normally meets in Tulsa but this year chose to have their meeting in Tonkawa. Following a luncheon and storytelling time, athletes and their spouses took tours of the campus.
The NOC alums told stories of NOC instructors, campus life, and athletic events.
Bill Butler was appreciative of NOC President Dr. Evans and NOC’s staff for their help in the reunion. Butler talked of many of the 1950s and 1960s era players that could not attend the reunion due to health issues for them and their families.
“Many of them want to be here, they just can’t,” Butler told those attending the reunion. “You are a great group of guys and I am glad to see all of you again.”
Interestingly enough, three NOC athletic alumni met their wives while students in Tonkawa. Each shared their story at the reunion.
Butler told the story of taking a nap between two-a-day football practices one day.
“I was taking a nap, trying to get some rest after our morning practice and then Gerald (O’Mealey) comes up and wants me to go downtown and look for girls.”
“I didn’t want to go but I did,” Butler said. “So, we went to the Dairyland and sat down and Gerald told me to look at her (a girl seated at a table). I looked past her and saw the most beautiful blond I had ever seen. I got her phone number and the rest is history.”
Hugh McCullough told a similar story of how he found his future wife at NOC. She was from Newkirk and was a Mavette (cheer squad). They were married in 1962 and have been married for 57 years.
Finally, Weldon Gressett told the story of going to Blackwell and seeing his future wife Glenda, though she was actually engaged to another man.
“She was still a senior in high school but I asked around to find out who she was,” he said. “I never saw her again until the next year at NOC. Then, I saw her at Threlkeld Hall and remembered her from the year before. I met her officially in September 1962 and we got married over Spring Break 1963 in Hot Springs.”
“We had to get a student loan to afford the trip and since Glenda had never stayed in a motel before, we stayed in four separate motels during our stay,” he joked.
A scrolling photo collage of NOC athletes played on the screen in the banquet room during the luncheon. A photo that popped up was that of lineman Ed Wade from Hominy. Butler saw Wade’s photograph and said that once during a game, Wade yelled at fellow player Bobby Wilson for making a tackle before he could make it.
“Stay on your side of the line,” Wade yelled at Wilson, according to Butler.
Elmer Pense, a pitcher/infielder on the NOC baseball team, told the story of being ambidextrous and asking if he could pitch both right handed and left handed in a game.
“I wanted to but we were never far enough ahead in a game where I could do it,” he joked.