(Oklahoma City) – Lieutenant Governor, Todd Lamb announced today the 2013 Induction Class for the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. The announcement was made at the Jim Thorpe Museum during the Jim Thorpe Association’s Leadership Luncheon. The 2013 induction class is made up of seven individuals who have contributed to the sports heritage of Oklahoma in a variation of ways.
The 2013 class includes University of Oklahoma wrestling great, Wayne Baughman; Chairman of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Clay Bennett; Olympic gold medalist, Nadia Comaneci; Oklahoma City University football standout, LeRoy “Ace” Gutowsky; Former Sooner quarterback, Jimmy Harris; University of Kansas head basketball coach, Bill Self Jr.; and Oklahoma State two-sport All American, John Henry Ward. Gutowsky, Harris and Ward will be 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.”
The induction ceremonies will be held on August 5, 2013 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
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 2nd twice, becoming a three-time All-American. He was also a two-time Big 8 Champion. In addition to his collegiate career, Baughman was on three US Olympic and eight World Championship wrestling teams. He coached two Olympic and five World Championship teams. He placed 5th and 7th 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. Mr. 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 Jr.: A native of Edmond, Bill Self is currently serves as the head basketball coach for the University of Kansas. Self was named the Oklahoma High School Basketball Player of the Year in 1981 and went on to play at Oklahoma State University 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 University, Tulsa, Illinois and hired by KU in 2003. With the Jayhawks, Self has won an NCAA National Championship (2008), made two Final Four appearances (2008, 2012), won eight Big XII regular season championships, and five Big XII 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 XII 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 Tulsa 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.