OU Unveils National Awards Honor Plaza

On a day where the focus was on opening day of the 2010 season and OU getting its 800th program win, it was also a big one for many former Sooners.

The Sooners unveiled their National Awards Honor Plaza Saturday afternoon and recognized a number of individuals who have won various awards, including the Thorpe, Butkus, Outland, Lombardi and others.

"I'm really glad that now the outside it's outside where everybody can see it," said athletic director Joe Castiglione. "So each of you who are responsible for this, grab a fistful of that veil, and let's yank that thing down and finally give you the proper recognition [for what you've done]. Here's to University of Oklahoma National Honors Classes. Ladies and gentlemen, pull it down."

Those that were added to the University of Oklahoma National Honors Plaza include the following: Jim Weatherall, Tommy McDonald, Greg Roberts, Brian Bosworth, Roy Williams, Tommie Harris, Jason White, Jamaal Brown, Billy Vessels, J.D. Roberts, Jerry Tubbs, Steve Owens, Lee Roy Selmon, Billy Sims, Tony Casillas, Rickey Dixon, Josh Heupel, Rocky Calmus, Teddy Lehman, Derrick Strait and Sam Bradford.

"The King," former head coach Barry Switzer, offered some words about the new unveiling.

"They need to be recognized, and Lee Allen and I talked about that," Switzer said. "I went and talked to Bob [Stoops]. I said, ‘What we've got is great tradition. Let's go sell it. Let's stick it out in front of people's faces because these people right out here. Those gates ought to be open, and they ought to be able to walk in here and see this and be a part of it. Let's don't hide it. Let's put it in their faces. Let's shove it down their throats.'"

That particular tradition of all these Sooner greats is definitely something Stoops uses to sell the program.

"I constantly when I recruit I talk about other schools who talk about tradition and they're going to win championships, and we're this kind of guys, and we have these kind of players, and I just open our books," Stoops said. "And I just start rattling off all the All-Americans, all the national award winners, and I look at all the championships that span as you all know, decades, not just in the last few years or at one point in our history. Our history goes on forever."

It really does go back a few years.

"As everyone always talks about, no one has won more football games in this country after World War II than University of Oklahoma," Stoops said.

So, it was a unique afternoon for the Sooners before they got win No. 800.

"But really, we're here recognizing all these national award winners," Stoops said. "It's special. It needs to be displayed because very few have the numbers and the great tradition and the great players that we do, and we appreciate all of you."

And the wall will continue to grow as OU's into yet another season.

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