Sports Top Stories of 2017 Timeline: Stoops, Westbrook and Baker Mayfield dominate

By Bill Haisten Tulsa World, writer

Lincoln Riley new Oklahoma football head coach

Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley on the sideline in the second half of the Big 12 Conference championship NCAA college football game against TCU in Arlington, Texas. The SEC has run roughshod over most of college football in recent years, but not over Oklahoma. The Oklahoma/SEC rivalry Bob Stoops started continues with new Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley vs. Georgia in the Rose Bowl. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez -File photo Dec. 2, 2017)

* Jan. 2: In the Sugar Bowl, in what winds up being Bob Stoops’ final game as the Sooner coach, Oklahoma limits Auburn to 339 total yards in a 35-19 triumph.

* Jan. 6: Former Union and University of Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship is introduced as the new head man of the Owasso High School football program. “For the city of Owasso,” Rams athletic director Zach Duffield said, “it’s off the charts.”

* Feb. 19: In a dual that attracts the largest crowd — 14,059 — ever to watch wrestling on the Oklahoma State campus, No. 2-ranked Penn State defeats the top-ranked Cowboys 27-13.

* Feb. 25: In Fayetteville, Arkansas, OU quarterback Baker Mayfield is arrested on complaints of public intoxication, fleeing and disorderly conduct. Police video shows Mayfield’s attempt to run having ended with an officer’s tackle. Ultimately, Mayfield pays $300 in fines, $160 in court costs and $483.20 in restitution costs.

* Feb. 25: By capturing the state title at 132 pounds, Sand Springs wrestler Daton Fix concludes a perfect season (47-0) and a perfect high school career (168). The Oklahoma State-bound Fix leads Sand Springs to its first state championship in 46 years.

* March 12: The Memorial boys (over El Reno) and East Central girls (over Ardmore) prevail in Class 5A state championship basketball games. In the Class 3A finale, the Tahlequah Sequoyah girls are victorious over Comanche.

* March 17, 19: After six NCAA Tournament games played at the BOK Center, the Kansas Jayhawks and Baylor Bears advance to the Sweet Sixteen. For three sessions in Tulsa, the average attendance is 14,528 — a slight increase over attendance for the arena’s 2011 NCAA Tournament games.

* March 18: One day after coaching the Cowboys against Michigan in the NCAA Tournament, and at the end of a successful first season during which there was a 44 percent increase in attendance, Oklahoma State basketball coach Brad Underwood resigns to become the head man at Illinois.

* March 27: Mike Boynton, a 35-year-old Brad Underwood assistant who had never been a head coach at any level, is introduced as the new Oklahoma State basketball coach.

* April 9: Russell Westbrook caps a 50-point performance with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer as the Oklahoma City Thunder wins 106-105 at Denver. With his 42nd triple-double, Westbrook breaks Oscar Robertson’s 55-year-old record for single-season triple-doubles.

* April 10: After 18 seasons of coaching the Golden Eagle basketball program to 328 victories, three NCAA Tournament appearances and five Summit League titles, Scott Sutton is fired by Oral Roberts University President Billy Wilson.

* April 12: Norman North basketball superstar Trae Young signs a national letter of intent with coach Lon Kruger’s Sooner program.

* April 18: The NCAA announces that Tulsa’s BOK Center will be a site for NCAA Tournament men’s first- and second-round games in 2019.

* May 1: Paul Mills becomes the new ORU basketball coach. During his news conference, the former Baylor assistant quotes Drake lyrics and an Old Testament Bible passage.

* May 30: PGA of America officials announce that Southern Hills Country Club will host the 2021 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship and a PGA Championship at some point between 2024 and 2030.

* June 6: One night after having beaten Florida in a 17-inning, 5½-hour Women’s College World Series classic, Oklahoma defeats the Gators 5-4 to repeat as the national softball champion.

* June 7: OU football fans are shocked by the sudden retirement of Bob Stoops and immediate promotion of offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley to the head-coaching position.

Russell Westbrook, Oklahmoa Thunder, NBA team

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook reacts as he sits on the bench in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer -File photo: Dec. 23, 2017 )

* June 26: As the first NBA player to average a triple-double since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62, Russell Westbrook is named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. Having led the league in scoring (31.6-point average) and assists (10.4), Westbrook receives 69 first-place votes from media members who cover the league. Houston’s James Harden got 22 first-place votes and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard got nine.

* June 30: In exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, the Thunder acquires four-time All-Star Paul George from the Indiana Pacers.

* July 8: Steve Largent is the featured speaker at the first All-World Awards banquet, honoring the top high school athletes in the Tulsa area. Jenks football coach Allan Trimble receives the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Sand Springs’ Cheyenne Walden and Wagoner’s Malcolm Rodriguez are the athletes of the year.

* July 20: In a column posted on the LinkedIn website, 89-year-old T. Boone Pickens acknowledges that he is attempting to recover from health setbacks during what he called “the fourth quarter” of his life. The OSU graduate and donor reports that he is contending with the effects of a series of strokes and a fall that resulted in unspecified injuries.

* Aug. 9: With Mason Rudolph on the cover of a regional edition of the magazine, Sports Illustrated predicts that Oklahoma State will be one of the four College Football Playoff participants.

* Sept. 5: During a Backyard Bowl news conference, Allan Trimble tells the Tulsa World that the 2017 season probably is his final season as Jenks’ head football coach. Trimble is battling the effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

* Sept. 9: Before a crowd of 109,088 in Columbus, OU outscores Ohio State 21-0 during a second-half span of eight minutes. When time expires on a 31-16 Sooner victory, Baker Mayfield plants an OU flag on the Ohio State logo at midfield.

* Sept. 15: With a 29-0 defeat at Springdale (Arkansas) Har-Ber, the Jenks Trojans are 0-4 for the first time since 1968.

* Sept. 16: As Mason Rudolph passes for 497 yards and five touchdowns, the Cowboys prevail 59-21 at Pittsburgh. The next day, OSU surges to No. 6 in the Associated Press poll.

* Sept. 17: Falling 1-0 to Midland in Game 5 of the Texas League championship series at ONEOK Field, the Tulsa Drillers fall one victory short of what would have been their first pennant since 1998. In three consecutive home losses to Midland, Tulsa scores a total of only two runs.

* Sept. 23: In exchange for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second-round draft pick in 2018, the Thunder acquires 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks.

* Sept. 23: The Cowboys are 12-point favorites over TCU, but the Horned Frogs finish plus-3 on turnovers and record a 44-31 victory at Boone Pickens Stadium. It would be the first of OSU’s three home losses during the 2017 season.

* Sept. 28: OSU associate head coach Lamont Evans, one of the higher-paid basketball assistants in the country at $600,000 a year, is fired after having been charged in a bribery and corruption investigation conducted by the FBI.

* Sept. 29: On Kevin Durant’s birthday, Russell Westbrook signs a five-year, $205 million contract extension with the Thunder.

* Sept. 29: After rushing for 159 yards and two touchdowns during Union’s double-overtime triumph over Owasso, Redskin running back Keviyon Cooper becomes ill in the locker room. Ultimately, there is brain surgery and hospitalization for nearly a month. Cooper is recovering on schedule, his mother reports, and will be able to compete with the Union track team during the spring.

* Oct. 21: OSU escapes with a 13-10 overtime win over Texas. The Cowboys have prevailed in five consecutive OSU-Texas games played in Austin.

* Nov. 4: A sensational performance by Baker Mayfield — 598 passing yards — drives the underdog Sooners to a 62-52 Bedlam triumph in Stillwater.

* Nov. 25: With a home loss to Temple, the University of Tulsa football team finishes with a 2-10 record. The Golden Hurricane follows a 10-win 2016 season with a 10-loss 2017 season.

* Nov. 29: With a 121-108 loss to an Orlando Magic team that entered with a nine-game losing streak, the Thunder record through 20 games is 8-12.

* Dec. 1: Three days after Mike Gundy speaks with Tennessee officials about their head-coaching position, the Oklahoma State/A&M Board of Regents approves a raise for the Cowboy football coach. He had been scheduled to make $4.325 million in 2018. Now, he gets $5 million.

* Dec. 1: After having been 3-7 in 2016, the Owasso Rams defeat Union 21-14 in the Class 6AI championship football game at TU’s H.A. Chapman Stadium. The Owasso victory ends a 21-season streak of Jenks or Union having captured the title in the state’s largest classification. In the Class 6AII title game, Booker T. Washington conquers three-time defending champion Bixby.

* Dec. 2: By beating TCU in the Big 12 Championship game in Arlington, Texas, the Sooners savor their 11th conference title in 18 seasons. A day later, it is announced that OU is matched with Georgia in a College Football Playoff semifinal game scheduled for Jan. 1 in Pasadena, California.

Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, a 2017 Heisman trophy winner.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, winner of the Heisman Trophy, poses with the trophy in New York. The Rose Bowl’s marquee matchup of Georgia safety Roquan Smith, the Butkus Award winner, against Oklahoma’s Heisman-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield, will be an enticing College Football Playoff game to watch. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File photo -Dec. 9, 2017)

* Dec. 9: Having received 732 of the available 887 first-place votes, Baker Mayfield becomes OU’s sixth recipient of the Heisman Trophy. Through 13 games, he has completed 71 percent of his passes for 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns.

* Dec. 19: During a 105-68 blowout of Northwestern State, Trae Young finishes with 26 points and 22 assists. The assists total is a new Big 12 record and ties the Division I national record. Through OU’s first 11 games, Young is the national leader both in scoring (28.7 average) and assists (10.4).

* Dec. 19: Bixby Public Schools Superintendent Kyle Wood resigns nearly three months after a student says he was raped with a pool cue for the second time during a Bixby High School football team event at Wood’s house.

Copyright 2017


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