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OSU football: Cowboy Rick Antle says thanks

Cowboy Rick Antle watches a former Foyil High School star, Josh Brown, play in Super XL in 2006. (Oklahoman archives)
Cowboy Rick Antle watches a former Foyil High School star, Josh Brown, play in Super XL in 2006. (Oklahoman archives)


My list ranking the top 150 football players in OSU history ran in the Sunday Oklahoman. You can see that list here.

I really enjoyed putting together the Cowboy list, as I did the OU list that ran the previous Sunday, but the OSU list might have been more fun, because it was more challenging. And maybe more rewarding.

In fact, I received two emails from Cowboys who made the list, thanking me for their inclusion. Bobby Riley, the receiver from Stroud who played in 1983-86, was ranked No. 140. And Cowboy Rick Antle, the walk-on defensive end from Owasso who played in 1977-79, was ranked No. 150.

Interestingly, both made the list with help from people I reached out to for help.

Former OSU coach Pat Jones offered a bunch of suggestions, including Riley, who I remembered as a good player from the 1980s but whose numbers in those run-oriented days were not outlandish.

And Robert Allen, who is involved with a variety of OSU media including the radio broadcasts, suggested Antle.

Antle is a great story. A non-scholarship player who just exemplified Oklahoma toughness, made himself into a good player, made all-Big Eight as a senior and was a second-team all-American selection. Antle became a crowd favorite, and to this day, anyone around the Cowboy program 40 years ago still speaks of Antle with the highest of respect.

The OSU campus magazine quoted Antle a few years back as saying, “I was a naive country boy from Owasso who showed up for football practice at OSU in 1976. My parents hadn't even graduated high school, let alone go to college, I had no idea of enrollment or housing contracts; I just knew I had been accepted and Jim Stanley said I could walk on and live in Iba Hall. At the end of three-a-day practices, I had no room or class schedule. Talk about naive, I was it.

“Things worked out, the great people at OSU took care of me, I made friends that are closer to me than family. That is the No. 1 thing about Stillwater and OSU, the people, I love them all and they made me feel loved too. Oh yeah, the football thing worked out OK also. I have two sons with the OSU bloodline, the middle son defected to TU, it worked out for him, too.”

Antle went on to coach at Foyil High School, where his sons played, and recently was the superintendent of schools at Porum.

Antle’s note included a cool story.

“Berry, thank you very much for selecting me as one of the 150 best OSU football players of all time. I am very honored to be mentioned on a list with so many great players, many of them were teammates of mine, and that excites me, too.

“Two quick stories. First, I found out about this honor today when my pastor, Dr. Ray Crawford (of Claremore’s First United Methodist Church), texted me from Warsaw, Poland (he's there on a mission trip) congratulating me. I text back, ‘Thanks Pastor...what are you congratulating me for?’ He then told me about your article. FROM WARSAW, POLAND!!!

“Second, this honor reminds me of when I found out that I was chosen as Associated Press second-team all-American in 1979. I told my roommate that it sucked that I didn't make it to the Bob Hope Show (they only took the first-teamers). He told me the way he saw it was the AP picked the best 48 players in college football in the USA, which meant the best 48 players in the world, and I was on that team. Needless to say, my perspective changed and we went out and celebrated like nobody's business.

“With all the blood and guts that has been left on Lewis Field for over 100 some odd years, I think being only 148 spots behind Barry Sanders is (standing) in tall cotton!!! Thank you very, very much!

“Yours truly,

“‘Cowboy’ Rick Antle.”

Well, that’s one of the greatest emails I’ve ever received.

And as luck would have it, I heard from a former coach who once tried to recruit Antle. Don Rominger, who I have quoted over the years on a variety of historical pieces and who was instrumental in my Saturday piece on Northeastern A&M Junior College football, sent me a note Monday.

“I have wondered how Rick Antle made your final OSU 150 lost. Let me tell you my story. McPherson College (in Kansas) in 1976 was the only school which offered Rick a football grant. We were at the time a college of 458 students, a football team of 38 players and a part-time, four-man coaching staff. With a total cost of close to $25,000 and a football scholarship budget of $12,000, I offered this slender kid from little (then) Owasso High School a $400 award, and he tentatively accepted it.

“I thought we had Rick until I called and found that he had decided to walk-on at Oklahoma State. I was disappointed. I had thought Rick had a chance to eventually start for us.”

Well, yes, Cowboy Rick Antle probably could have made an impact at McPherson College, considering he eventually made an all-Big Eight team that included Billy Sims, Jarvis Redwine, Phil Bradley, George Cumby and Darrol Ray.

Related Photos
NFL FOOTBALL: Foyil High School principal and former football coach Rick Antle (R) reacts with other Foyil residents during Super Bowl XL while they watch their hometown player Josh Brown, kicker for the Seattle Seahawks, on television at Foyil High School gym on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2006.   Staff photo by Michael Downes.

NFL FOOTBALL: Foyil High School principal and former football coach Rick Antle (R) reacts with other Foyil residents during Super Bowl XL while they watch their hometown player Josh Brown, kicker for the Seattle Seahawks, on television at Foyil High School gym on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2006. Staff...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-8a788a01382b1ad5d1ad9285b225de37.jpg" alt="Photo - NFL FOOTBALL: Foyil High School principal and former football coach Rick Antle (R) reacts with other Foyil residents during Super Bowl XL while they watch their hometown player Josh Brown, kicker for the Seattle Seahawks, on television at Foyil High School gym on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2006. Staff photo by Michael Downes." title="NFL FOOTBALL: Foyil High School principal and former football coach Rick Antle (R) reacts with other Foyil residents during Super Bowl XL while they watch their hometown player Josh Brown, kicker for the Seattle Seahawks, on television at Foyil High School gym on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2006. Staff photo by Michael Downes."><figcaption>NFL FOOTBALL: Foyil High School principal and former football coach Rick Antle (R) reacts with other Foyil residents during Super Bowl XL while they watch their hometown player Josh Brown, kicker for the Seattle Seahawks, on television at Foyil High School gym on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2006. Staff photo by Michael Downes.</figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

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