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OU Football: So, who is this Otis Sullivant on Eric Striker's award?

Eric Striker was formally presented the Otis Sullivant Award on Monday afternoon.

We found out recently that the former Oklahoma football standout had been named the winner of the university award. He made history in the process as the first athlete to receive the honor, which has been given to campus leaders of all ilks down through the years.

For his role in helping the campus heal after the SAE video controversy, Striker was a more-than-worthy recipient.

But in hearing about this award, I got to thinking -- who is Otis Sullivant?

I know I haven't lived in Oklahoma as long as many of you, but I've been here going on two decades and have been paying attention most of the time. And when I heard the name Otis Sullivant, it didn't ring any bells. I didn't think I'd ever heard of a politician by that name. Or a musician. Or a business tycoon.

No buildings on campus with the Sullivant name, to my recollection.

So, I decided to poke around and see who Otis Sullivant was.

Lo and behold, he's one of my own.

Sullivant was a reporter and columnist who worked for the Daily Oklahoman (back when we still called ourselves that) and the Oklahoma City Times. He covered politics and state government for four decades. He covered national political conventions 15 times. Campaigns for president 10 times. And countless governors and state congressional delegates.

Sullivant, who died in 1974, was once cited by the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta for his "contribution to public understanding" of government. His ability to analyze politics and predict political trends was second to none.

OU began awarding the Sullivant Award in 2001 to someone on campus who exhibits "keen perceptivity.” It should also be someone who "manifests intuitiveness, instant comprehension, empathy" like Sullivant did.

Eric Striker definitely fits that description. I learned as much first-hand covering him these past few years.

Now, I learned one more thing from him -- who the man behind his latest award is.

Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›

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