Comaneci, Bennett, Self Among 2013 Oklahoma Sports Hall Of Fame Inductees

Monday, August 5th 2013, 2:56 pm
By: News 9

The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame will announce seven new members tonight at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Wayne Baughman, Clay Bennett, Nadia Comaneci and Bill Self will be on hand to receive the award tonight while family members of Leroy Gutowsky, Jimmy Harris and John Henry Ward will receive their posthumous awards.

Wayne Baughman, born and raised in Oklahoma City, 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. Baughman will be presented by Olympic champion Wayne Wells.

An extremely successful businessman, Clay Bennett serves as President of Dorchester Capital Corporation, a private investment firm, and serves as Chairman of the Oklahoma City Thunder. 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. Eleven-time NBA champion Bill Russell will present Bennett's award.

Gymnast Nadia 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. Comaneci's award will be presented by her husband and former Olympic gold-medalist Bart Conner.

Bill Self Jr., an Edmond native, 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. 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 head coaching stops at Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Illinois. He was hired by KU in 2003 and 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. Self's father, Bill Self Sr., will present his award.

Raised in Kingfisher, LeRoy "Ace" 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. Gutowsky's award will be presented by Robert Henry, President of Oklahoma City University.

Jimmy Harris, the quarterback who never lost, 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. Harris' award will be presented by Jay Wilkinson.

John Henry Ward was a two-sport All-American at Oklahoma State and 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. Football legend Steve Owens will present Ward's award.