Stories

Alva / Athletics / Stories
| More

Vision for Victory Stories

Ranger Field HouseAthletic facilities at Northwestern Oklahoma State University are about to become better, much better in fact.

Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president, announced the school will begin construction immediately on two of its Vision for Victory campaign projects.

Northwestern has executed a contract with Henson Construction of Enid for construction of a new football locker room and multi-purpose building, and a new permanent seating area for the baseball stadium. Easley Associates of Enid is the architect for the projects. Members of Northwestern’s maintenance staff also will be involved in the construction process.

“When we launched the Vision for Victory campaign nearly a year ago, we did so with the hope that alumni and supporters of Northwestern would come together and help support this initiative,” Cunningham said. “As always, we had a number of people who chose to accept the challenge and lead the fundraising effort. To those groups and individuals, I offer my deep appreciation and gratitude on behalf of the Ranger family.”

To date, Northwestern has received gifts and pledges of nearly $2.18 million. Cunningham stressed that while enough financial support has been received to begin construction on the first two projects, additional support will be needed to complete the projects as originally designed.

“We had to work very hard with our architect to get the projects underway with the funds in hand,” Cunningham said. “It was important to everyone involved that we maintain the size and general aesthetic look of the locker room and baseball seating area. In order to do this, we will have to delay some parts of the projects and cut back in other areas. With additional funding, we can complete the projects as originally planned and create some of the finest facilities in small-college athletics. I am confident that more of our alumni and fans will now step forward and join our Vision for Victory.

“So many people will benefit from these projects, including our students, fans, alumni, the Alva Public Schools and the community in general. The Vision for Victory projects will have a transformational impact on Northwestern and the surrounding area.”

The football facility will be more than 10,000 square feet in size when completed and will feature an expansive home locker room, a large meeting room for players and alumni, a strength training area to be utilized by all sports, an athletic training area, offices for coaches and game officials, and public restrooms. A new baseball press box on the north side of the facility and an LED football scoreboard with full color display has been incorporated into the design.

Cunningham said Northwestern plans to be able to use the facility for the 2009 season. For the upcoming season, she said the home locker room has been relocated and visitors will dress in locker rooms provided by Alva High School.

“There will be some short-term challenges for players and fans this season, but they will be rewarded in the future with some outstanding facilities,” Cunningham said.

Some construction on the baseball field will begin this fall with completion of that project expected some time after the 2009 season.

The new seating facility will be named the Myers Pavilion in honor of W.D. Jr. and Lillie Myers, through the generosity of a lead gift from Todd and Mary Margaret Miller of Alva. The structure will feature the use of brick, concrete and iron work that is prominent in many of today’s major league ballparks.

As part of the budgeting process for the project, construction of new dugout facilities will be delayed until additional gifts are received.

“New dugouts are a critical piece in bringing our baseball program back to prominence and attracting various tournaments at the collegiate and prep level,” Cunningham said.

All gifts for Vision for Victory projects are tax-deductible and gifts of cash, securities and property are accepted. Numerous naming opportunities also are available. Persons interested in supporting the projects are asked to contact Bob Battisti, athletic director, at (580) 327-8632 or at rfbattisti@nwosu.edu.

More information about the Vision for Victory campaign is available at www.nwosu.edu/visionforvictory.html.


FAMILY HONORS FORMER COACH WITH VISION FOR VICTORY GIFT

Bill SchnebelWilliam “Bill” Schnebel loved coaching football, loved working with young people and loved Alva and Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

So it is fitting that his family decided to honor the memory of the long-time coach and school administrator through $25,000 gift to Northwestern for its Vision for Victory Campaign for athletics. Northwestern will recognize the Schnebel’s gift by naming the athletic training room in its new football locker room in his honor.

“We take a lot of pride in Bill’s accomplishments,” said his wife Elaine. “The teachers and parents liked him and people enjoyed working with him.

She said it was one of the couple’s sons, Brock, who moved the family to support the Vision for Victory campaign.

“I wanted to do something to help, but Brock was the motivator,” said Elaine.

The Schnebel family developed a long connection with Northwestern after Bill was named head football coach in 1965.

Elaine received her master’s degree from the school in 1972 and two of the couple’s sons – Mark and Brock – also received the degrees from the school. Mark is a chemist in Enid and Brock is an orthopedic surgeon in Oklahoma City.

Mark’s wife, Jana (Rust) also graduated from Northwestern, as did their daughter, Ferran Weese. Their son, Jason, also attended for a short while.

Brock’s wife, Kelli (Harrison) earned her bachelor’s degree at Northwestern as well.

The Schnebel’s oldest son, Joe, attended the University of Kansas and is a retired teacher living in Whitefish, Mont.

Football Glory

Bill Schnebel graduated from Fremont (Neb.) High School in 1942 and attended hometown Midland Lutheran College for a year before his induction into the Army Air Force. Schnebel trained to pilot a P-38 Lightning and was assigned to patrol the Panama Canal until 1946. He returned to Midland and earned his degree in 1949.

He immediately enrolled at the University of Kansas to begin work on a master’s degree, which he earned in 1950. While at KU, one of his classmates was Dean Smith, who would later become of college basketball’s most successful coaches. One of Schnebel’s and Smith’s teachers was the legendary KU coach Phog Allen.

“This was a really fun time in our lives,” said Elaine. “We made a lot of friends whom we became very close with.”

After leaving KU, Schnebel coached at Curtis Junior High School in Topeka for a year before becoming the offensive line coach at Topeka High School.

In 1955, the opportunity to coach at the college level came and Schnebel became an assistant at the College of Emporia (Kan.).

A year later, Schnebel became the head coach and began a nine-year run that saw him compile a 62-23-1 record and lead Emporia to a period of football greatness.

Three of his teams won the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference championship and competed in the postseason, including NAIA playoff appearances in 1962 and 1963, and a Mineral Water Bowl victory in 1959.

Personally, Schnebel was named the Knute Rockne Little All-American Coach of the Year in 1959 and 1962.

“In 1959, the presented Bill with his award at the same time they gave Vince Lombardi his NFL coach of the year award,” said Elaine.

Schnebel also was twice named NAIA District Coach of the Year.

On to Alva

In May of 1965, Schnebel accepted the position of head coach at Northwestern. He quickly turned around the program’s fortunes, leading the Rangers to a 6-3-1 record in 1966, Northwestern’s first winning season since 1960. He also coached Northwestern’s first NFL draft pick, Chip Myers.

“Coaching at Northwestern was a challenge but we enjoyed it,” said Elaine. “I know our coaches need support to be successful and that’s one of the reasons we wanted to help.”

In 1967, Schnebel began his career in administration by stepping down as football coach and becoming athletic director. Four years later Schnebel joined the Alva Public Schools as assistant superintendent.

He stayed with the Alva schools for 16 years, the last nine as superintendent until his retirement in 1983.

Schnebel passed away in December 2002.


SHARP PLEDGES $200,000 TO VISION FOR VICTORY CAMPAIGN

Mel Sharp

M.L. Sharp, a 1954 graduate of Northwestern Oklahoma State University and a long-time supporter of the school’s programs, has pledged $200,000 to the Vision for Victory Campaign for athletics.

“I am happy to be able to help Northwestern with this important project,” Sharp said. “The Vision for Victory Campaign needs to be a success.”

Sharp’s gift brings Northwestern closer to beginning phases I and II of the Victory for Victory projects – construction of a new football locker room and major renovations to the baseball venue.

“We are deeply appreciative of Mr. Sharp’s commitment to our student-athletes and Northwestern,” said Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president. “Mr. Sharp has a tremendous philanthropic spirit, and that spirit has touched the lives of many of our students. He serves as a true role model for our students and alumni.”

Sharp played basketball for the Rangers during his college years, earning a role as a starter for three seasons and winning all-conference honors as a senior.

He still holds the Ranger record for free throws made in a game with 19 during a game with Phillips University on Jan. 30, 1953. The Rangers won 86-76, with Sharp scoring a total of 29 points.

“What Northwestern did for me was develop my self-confidence,” Sharp said. “A good player has to have confidence in himself.”

That confidence inspired Sharp to take chances in business and he took a big one in 1982, when at age 49, he left a highly-successful management career with The Boeing Company to join a partner in purchasing a company that built automated baggage handling systems for airports.

Sharp and his partner turned BAE Automated Systems into a true success story, installing its automated baggage handling systems at most major airports across the free world. Three years after buying the company, Sharp and his partner sold BAE.

Sharp married Jo Kinser of Mooreland in 1953 and the couple had two children – a son, Rory, and a daughter, Lisa Jo. Jo Sharp passed away in June 2006.

The Sharps have a long history of support for Northwestern. They made an initial gift of $50,000 to the Northwestern Foundation and in 1986 made the largest gift at that time to the Foundation, a $250,000 endowment that created the Sharp-Kinser Scholarship Fund.

In 1987, Sharp was named a Distinguished Graduate of Northwestern, and a year later, he received an Outstanding Graduate Centennial Award.


TODD AND MARY MARGARET MILLER PROVIDE $300,000 GIFT
TO NORTHWESTERN’S VISION FOR VICTORY EFFORT

Todd and Mary Margaret Miller

Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s Vision for Victory campaign for athletics received its first major gift from private individuals as Todd and Mary Margaret Miller of Alva provided a gift of $300,000 to fund a major renovation of the University’s baseball stadium.

The gift will create a new permanent seating area named in honor of Mary Margaret’s parents, W.D. Jr., and Lillie Myers. In addition to the seating area, the gift will construct new dugouts and create significantly more aesthetically pleasing areas surrounding the field.

The structure will feature the use of brick, concrete and iron work that is prominent in many of today’s major league ballparks.

“I wanted to do something in memory of my parents,” said Mary Margaret. “From the moment we saw the University’s vision for the athletic complex, we knew this was what we wanted to be involved in.”

Dr. Janet Cunningham, president of Northwestern, praised the Millers for becoming the first private individuals to step forward with a major gift in the Vision for Victory campaign.

“With this gift, Mary Margaret and Todd have stepped forward and taken the lead in supporting our vision and established a new standard in private giving to athletics,” said Cunningham. “I thank them for their generosity and applaud them for their leadership.”

The Millers hoped their gift would inspire others to invest in Northwestern’s athletic campaign.

“I hope we can serve as an example for others to give,” Mary Margaret said. “It’s time for people to get involved and become part of the solution. The University has an opportunity to do something really special.”

Mary Margaret graduated from Northwestern in 1986 and today serves as chairman of the board of Hopeton State Bank and as a director of the Central National Bank of Alva. Todd attended Northwestern in the early 1990s and is a part of the ownership group of KALV-AM in Alva and one of the most recognized voices in northwest Oklahoma.

The two have shared a love for Northwestern athletics as fans, with Todd taking his involvement a step further as the radio voice of the Rangers on KALV since 1990. While their interest encompasses all sports, their passion is baseball.

“I started going to major league games when they built The Ballpark in Arlington in the late 1990s,” said Mary Margaret. “When I started going down there I fell in love with the game.”

Todd’s love for the game began as soon as he picked up a ball and bat when he was eight years old.

“I’ve always loved the game since the first summer I played,” he said. “I guess I love it because you don’t have to be very big and you don’t have to be very fast to play. That was me.”

Since their marriage in 2003, the Millers spend much of their springs and summers traveling to baseball games around the country. They have seen games involving all but three of the 30 major league teams and the two have a goal to visit every big league ballpark.

It was the traveling to baseball games and Northwestern athletic events that led the Millers to believe that they wanted to help the school improve its athletic facilities.

“For 18 years I have traveled covering games and seen first-hand how important it is to have great facilities to not only compete in intercollegiate athletics, but to compete for students as well,” Todd said. “You only get one chance to make a first impression on a student.”

Mary Margaret’s grandfather, W.D. Myers, became involved in Alva’s financial community in 1919 when he purchased a large interest in what was to become Central National Bank of Alva. He became president of the bank and led it until his death in 1951.

His son, W.D. Myers, Jr., continued the family legacy in the banking business by purchasing a majority interest in the Hopeton State Bank. Following the death of his father in 1951, he became president of Central National Bank of Alva.

Lillie Myers also was involved in the banking business, serving as a director on the boards of Hopeton State Bank and the Central National Bank of Alva.

Lillie Myers passed away in 1979, followed by W.D. in 1987.

Northwestern’s Vision for Victory includes $4 million in new construction at its football and baseball stadiums. The $300,000 gift from the Millers follows a $1.5 million lead gift from the Charles Morton Share Trust which will be used to help construct a new football locker room and associated weight training, sports medicine and team facilities.


LEGENDARY RANGER ATHLETE PLEDGES $25,000
TO VISION FOR VICTORY CAMPAIGN

<><><>
Stewart Arthurs
<><><>
<><>

As a former All-America football player and three-sport letterman at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Stewart Arthurs clearly understands the role that athletics plays in the life of his alma mater.

To this day, Arthurs cherishes the camaraderie shared with his teammates and wants future Rangers to have the same opportunities that he experienced.

That is why Arthurs has presented Northwestern with a gift of $25,000 to support the Vision for Victory athletics campaign that will renovate the football and baseball venues.

“I am so appreciative of what Northwestern has done for me,” Arthurs said. “I wanted to give back something.

“I am very much in favor of the plan to upgrade the facilities. The improvements are very much needed.”

Bob Battisti, athletic director at Northwestern, said the school will name the team meeting room and public reception area in the new football locker room after Arthurs.

Arthurs, who has served as the city attorney in Cushing since 1970, has a storied history at Northwestern.

A native of Bristow, Arthurs was an all-state basketball player in high school and had his sights set on continuing his career at Northwestern as a football player.

“I wanted to play football at Northwestern, but the school did not have a scholarship available for me,” he said. “They offered me a basketball scholarship instead.”

Arthurs took that scholarship and went on to earn all-conference honors for three years. In 1960, he led the team in scoring with 13.7 points per game. He also was a conference champion in track competing in the low hurdles.

However, Arthurs’ greatest fame came on the gridiron, where he earned All-America honors in 1960 and established new school records in career rushing yards, career touchdowns and touchdowns in a season. He also was named an academic All-American in 1960 and 1961, and served as the president of the Student Government Association as a senior.

Arthurs earned 12 varsity letters.

“At that time, they told me I was the first person since Junior Johnson to accomplish that feat,” Arthurs said.

Arthurs attended Northwestern at the same time his mother Marie was beginning her career as an English professor at the school, becoming one of its most respected and beloved faculty members.

“She set the bar a little high,” Arthurs said.

Just like he did as a student-athlete, Arthurs distinguished himself in his professional career. Following graduation in 1962, he was awarded a Rotary Foundation scholarship that allowed him to study at the London School of Economics. He graduated from law school in 1966 and went into private practice.

Arthurs served three years on the Board of Governors for the Oklahoma Bar Association and nine years as a trustee for the Oklahoma Bar Foundation. Arthurs also is a retired U.S. Army colonel after serving with the Judge Advocate General corps.

Northwestern’s Vision for Victory plan calls for nearly $4 million in renovations to the football and baseball venues. More than $1.8 million has been raised since the plan was unveiled in September.

Arthurs is committed to helping the Vision for Victory dream become a reality.

“This will put us in a position to be competitive in attracting great student-athletes,” he said. “There are a lot of people like me who benefitted from athletics at Northwestern, and we now have an opportunity to give something back.”


RANDY AND CARLA MITCHEL JOIN VISION FOR VICTORY CAMPAIGN

Randy and Carla Mitchel

Randy and Carla Mitchel of Alva have pledged a gift of $8,000 to Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s Vision for Victory athletics campaign.

The unrestricted gift will be used to help construct the new football locker room complex at Ranger Field, the centerpiece of a four-phase renovation of the football and baseball venues.

“The Mitchels have long supported Northwestern athletics in many forms and their willingness to step up and make this gift is a testament to their commitment to Northwestern and its students,” said Dr. Janet Cunningham, president.

Randy Mitchel is a 1975 graduate of Northwestern and owner and operator of KALV-AM radio and Champ’s Restaurant of Alva. He has served as the color commentator for Ranger football games for several years. His wife, Carla, is a vocal music teacher for the Alva elementary schools.

“We believe strongly in the Vision for Victory campaign,” said Randy. “We are in a position now where we can help Northwestern and believe it is the right thing to do.”

Northwestern’s Vision for Victory campaign will pursue funds to transform the school’s football and baseball stadiums. Four major projects are included in the plan, including construction of a new football locker room complex, construction of a new main press box and public use building, a new permanent seating area and fan pavilion at the baseball stadium, and a new indoor practice facility to be utilized by the baseball and softball teams.

Anyone wishing to donate to the Vision for Victory campaign can contact Bob Battisti, athletic director, at (580) 327-8632, Steve Valencia, associate vice president for university relations, at (580) 327-8478, or Skeeter Bird, director of the Northwestern Foundation, at (580) 327-8599.


K&S TIRE JOINS VISION FOR VICTORY CAMPAIGN

Scott and Christie Riley

The owners of K&S Tire, Scott Riley and Kevin Isenbart, have demonstrated their support for Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s Vision for Victory athletics campaign by making a recent gift. Riley and his wife, Christie, represented the company in presenting the funds to Northwestern.

“It amazes me the impact that Northwestern has on Alva and this project will have a great impact on the community,” said Riley. “It’s going to take everyone’s participation to make Northwestern’s vision a reality.”

The gift will be used to help construct the new football locker room complex at Ranger Field, the centerpiece of a four-phase renovation of the football and baseball venues.

“K&S Tire is truly committed to supporting Northwestern and our vision for athletics,” said Dr. Janet Cunningham, president. “The company understands projects like those that are a part of our Vision for Victory campaign can only be realized through strong community support.”

Scott Riley attended Northwestern in the late 1980s and owns K&S Tire, Inc., with locations in Alva, Woodward, Kingfisher and Clinton. Christie Riley is a 1992 graduate of Northwestern and is an instructor in the school’s education division.

Northwestern’s Vision for Victory campaign will pursue funds to transform the school’s football and baseball stadiums. Four major projects are included in the plan, including construction of a new football locker room complex, construction of a new main press box and public use building, a new permanent seating area and fan pavilion at the baseball stadium, and a new indoor practice facility to be utilized by the baseball and softball teams.

Anyone wishing to donate to the Vision for Victory campaign can contact Bob Battisti, athletic director, at (580) 327-8632, or Steve Valencia, associate vice president for university relations, at (580) 327-8478.