A sport that has been absent from Eastern Oklahoma State College for more than 16 years will return in the fall to an activity the Wilburton college once dominated.
Eastern President Dr. Richard Bernard explained to regents today (March 24) track, field and cross country will begin with the fall semester for both men's and women's teams. The sport will bring more than 60 athletes to Eastern by the second year Bernard said.
All six teams will compete in Division III.
Eastern regents unanimously voted for a resolution to endorse the resolution to adopt the plan.
Bernard said Eastern will recruit mostly from Oklahoma where 351 high schools have cross country, track and field teams but not "one single two-year college in the state has either."
Former Eastern track coach Glen Stone will head the program.
Start-up funds for the program including capital expenditures will come from donations Bernard told regents. Donations will pay for refurbishing and widening the track and the reinstallation of field event sites as funds become available. Coach Stone, Athletic Director Win Case, Development director Maynard Phillips and Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Tom Colbert have personally pledged to solicit the funding he said.
Colbert was a runner for Stone earlier and a 1970 Eastern graduate. He was heralded as a "gifted track star" at Sapulpa High School before attending Eastern where he earned his associate degree in physical education. He earned his bachelor' from Kentucky State University where he excelled in track as a triple jumper, long jumper and high jumper and was named an NCAA All-American in 1972. He trained for the Olympics but an injury prevented him from attending. Colbert was named to the Eastern Hall of Fame as the twenty-second member last fall.
Glen Stone assumed Eastern's interim athletic director position in January '04 following the resignation of Jerry Smith to take a position in Arizona. Stone agreed to stay on as interim director until the Wilburton college found a full-time replacement which became former Oklahoma City University Coach Win Case later that year.
Case told regents he was excited Stone would be heading the renewed program.
"I just really don't know of anyone who would be more suited for the position than coach Stone," Case said. "He is a great coach and has a unique ability to work positively with students."
Bernard told regents Stone has stepped in to help the college with the athletic program in the past and was qualified to start the program again.
"We are very pleased that coach Stone was willing to put his retirement aside for a while to guide the college's athletic program and now to bring a track program back to Eastern. There is no better leader or role model for students in the sports world of eastern Oklahoma," Bernard said.
"We are thrilled and honored to again have Glen's leadership. We know for certain that he will produce championships and, equally important, upstanding student athletes, prepared in the classroom as well as on the field."
Run with Winners became the motto of the Eastern track team during Stone's 20-year tenure from 1968 to 1988 as Eastern's track and field coach.
Stone has an impressive coaching record that spans all educational levels from elementary school to university Division I.
He taught and coached junior high in Edmond, 11 years in high school including McAlester and Shawnee, 20 years at Eastern, six years at Oklahoma Baptist University and also at the University of Nebraska. Following that, he served two-years as athletic director at McAlester Public Schools.
Stone has been named to the Hall of Fame at McAlester High School, Oklahoma Coaches Athletic Association, Oklahoma Baptist University and the national NJCAA Track Coaches Association. He has also been named as Coach of the Year for his high school coaching, six times as a two-year college coach and twice while coaching in the NAIA.
His teams have also seen their share of honors including two high school state championships, 10 two-year college national championships, finished eight teams in the top 10 NAIA while at Oklahoma Baptist University and received both indoor and outdoor track Big 8 championships while at the University of Nebraska. During his tenor Stone has coached 247 collegiate All-American athletes.
Stone says his 20 years at Eastern were the most rewarding.