Pictured is Program Chairman Lion R.C. Morrow, Coach David Dunlap, and President Lion Duaine Janzen.
Tuesday's Lions Club meeting was another amazing story of "local boy does well" with championship results, presented by David Dunlap, a 1997 Okmulgee High School graduate and Head Coach of the 2017 Okmulgee Bulldogs Baseball Academic State Champions. What a marvelous turn-around from four years ago when Coach Dunlap took over the baseball team, and recounted that two of his freshman players had grade point averages of 1.36 and 1.85, and 18 of his 22 players were on the "ineligible list".
When Coach Dunlap was introduced by Program Chairman Lion R.C. Morrow, a former Okmulgee Bulldog baseball and football player (All-State and Northeastern Oklahoma State University All-American), from the back of the room came a "holler" of "Super Dave", from none other than Lion Craig Brydges, a "forever" legendary teacher at Okmulgee High School. Coach Dunlap explained that "Super Dave" was his nickname during his school years and no wonder, he received five letters in sports in one year, was an All-State tuba player, and valedictorian. It doesn't get much better than that, does it?
Coach Dunlap explained that three of his teachers had a great influence in his decision to become a teacher, even though the pay wasn't that good, and they were Lion Craig Brydges, Lion Beth Flud (Oklahoma History and Government), and Randy Hutchinson. He requested to teach Oklahoma History because this class is required of all students, so he became the only teacher to teach every student in school, in addition to teaching Government and American History classes.
He further related that 46 of his class of 137 students received college degrees, with quite a few receiving advanced degrees. With this background, one can see why the baseball team won runner-up academic champions last year with a GPA of 3.65, winning this year with a GPA of 3.78, and two having a 4.0 GPA, and the first year that more than one player attended college (five).
Coach Dunlap began his college career at St. Louis University (Missouri) on a baseball scholarship for one year, transferring "back home" to Western Oklahoma Junior College (Altus, Oklahoma), then attending and graduating from Southwestern Oklahoma State University (Weatherford). He had played pitcher, catcher, and first base, and was drafted by the Kansas City Royals professional baseball team, but didn't sign, opting to sign with Atlanta. He spent 6 1/2 years in the minor leagues, travelling mostly all over the South, before giving it up and coming home. What a good decision for our school system because Coach Dunlap also coaches girls fast-pitch softball, and he thinks they have a good chance to be Academic State Champions this year. He related what a thrill it was for him and some of the baseball players to be guests of, and introduced by, Rep. Scott Fetgatter to the Legislators at the State Capitol.
Coach Dunlap related that his grandfather, Fred Dunlap, moved to Morris in 1976 and was Morris High School Principal from 1977-88, but Dunlap's father wanted his son to attend Okmulgee Schools to play baseball for former Coach Dan Morgan. And Coach Dunlap says he learned so much from Coach Morgan in high school that he was able to help the assistant coaches in the minor leagues with things he had learned in high school. What a wonderful compliment paid to one of our long-time former coach. And what a wonderful compliment to our community when we, as a Lions Club, say "WE SERVE".
(Photo and information provided by Dean Craig).