Happy 100th birthday, Oklahoma!
There is certainly no shortage of deserving names on the who's who list where the 46th state of the union is concerned. Near the top of that eclectic mix are the athletes and sports figures with Okie ties, who have impacted our state's history with their various levels of notoriety and achievement.
Many of their stories were told or retold over the last 12 months, so let's take a different angle while examining what exactly it is that is so special about the number 46, besides its connection to Oklahoma's national lineage:Jack Nicklaus was 46 when he became the oldest player to ever win Masters in 1986. The 4-6 defense is one of the most-used defensive schemes in college and pro football. 46 was the number of national titles Oklahoma State University's athletics program had accumulated prior to winning No. 47 (wrestling) and No. 48 (men's golf) last year. 46 was the number of carries Steve Owens had in a 177-yard rushing performance during a 28-14 victory over Missouri in 1968. Amazingly, that total was nine carries shy of the single-game high (55) he had against OSU en route to winning the Heisman Trophy that same season. 46.6 is the number of points the University of Oklahoma football team averaged per contest while rolling to the 1956 national championship. Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy recently received a one-year contract extension that keeps him with the Cowboys until 2013, at which time he will be 46 years old and " more importantly " still a man. "Jay C. Upchurch