OU Racks Up National Recognition

While the Sooners haven't been awarded with any major national championships in sports like football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and softball over the 2008-09 campaign, there has been outside recognition from everywhere...

Quarterback Sam Bradford won the Heisman Trophy after posting a 50 touchdown, 4,720-yard season.

Men's basketball forward Blake Griffin won the National Player of the Year Award after averaging 22.7 points and 14.4 rebounds per game.

Women's basketball center Courtney Paris was an All-American for a record fourth straight year as she was the arguably most impressive women's college basketball player ever, recording 112 straight double-doubles over a large time span in her career.

Baseball catcher J.T. Wise was named the Big 12 Player of the Year for his stellar season, as he hit nearly .360 with 17 home runs, leading the club in both categories.

And a softball duo of junior Amber Flores and senior Samantha Ricketts earned All-American honors after hitting .416 and .322 respectively.

But one more award came in less than a month ago and rightly so.

The man that found many of the coaches that have helped prepare these players to become the type of athletes they are today received the recognition for doing so in late May.

Athletic director Joe Castiglione was recently named Athletics Director of the Year at this year's Sports Business Awards in New York City.

OU football coach Bob Stoops added a few words about why he's so deserving of the honor and what he really does for the program.

"We couldn't be happier for Joe," Stoops said. "The effort he puts forth on behalf of this university, the coaches and the student-athletes is incredible. He's a tremendous administrator, but he's also a great friend to so many of us here. It's gratifying to see him rewarded nationally because others are acknowledging what we have felt about him for a long time."

Castiglione has obviously done his fair share to get the best possible leaders for the athletes in the Sooner program.

Stoops and men's basketball coach Jeff Capel have both rebuilt programs that were in turmoil when they took over from previous coaches.

The Sooners were pitiful in football throughout the mid-90s, and Stoops managed to turn things around and bring them back to being a perennial national power .

Despite being a part of a team that missed the postseason for the first time in 25 years in his first season, Capel has brought Sooner Magic back on the hardwood and nearly guided OU to the Final Four last season.

And all the other pieces of the Sooner athletics program mentioned above have also had success, which once again leads back to Castiglione.

This is yet another example of why OU athletics is so good at the time being.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories