OC to renew baseball program
Oklahoma Christian University will renew its tradition-rich baseball program for the 2008 season.
Oklahoma Christian first played intercollegiate baseball from 1960 to 2001. The Eagles were a perennial playoff team under former coach Max Dobson and placed third in the 1972 NAIA College World Series.
Chuck White, a second baseman for the Eagles under Dobson, will be OC’s head baseball coach. The 1976 OC graduate coached baseball and softball at Carl Albert High School in Midwest City, Okla., before returning to Oklahoma Christian as director of athletic operations in 2004.
“I am humbled to follow in Coach Dobson’s footsteps as we renew the baseball program,” White said. “I want to help bring back the tradition of baseball that was here in the past. I want baseball to be an ambassador for the university – a quality program that our alumni, supporters and campus community can be proud of.”
Oklahoma Christian has partnered with The Benham Companies on plans for a new baseball facility. Construction will begin in the fall. The new stadium is conceived as a first-class facility with lights and other amenities that will make it an attractive venue for night games and for state, regional and national tournaments. A campaign to fund the new stadium already is in full swing.
“Intercollegiate baseball is an integral part of OC’s athletic tradition. We’re excited about what a positive this is for the university from both an athletic and student recruiting perspective,” Athletic Director DeWayne Hall said. “Our goal is to be competitive as soon as possible. With his ties to our past success and his ability to bring out the best in student-athletes, Chuck White is the right choice to lead the rebirth of our program.”
White led Carl Albert’s baseball team to the 2002 state tournament and the softball team to the 2003 and 2004 state tournaments. The Tulsa World named him All-Suburban Conference softball coach of year in 2002. White coached future major-leaguer A.J. Hinch and Oklahoma State University star Ryan Budde as an assistant coach at Midwest City High School. He also served as president of the Oklahoma City Baseball Coaches Association.
Oklahoma Christian discontinued its baseball program in 2001 as part of a campus-wide reduction in operating expenses. The university now is thriving on the strength of its ongoing Higher Learning˜Higher Calling fundraising campaign and consecutive years of record student enrollment.
“We are blessed to be in a position to bring back the baseball program and rebuild it into a source of pride for our university, alumni and supporters,” OC president Mike O’Neal said. “This is an important step in our efforts to raise the profile of our overall athletic program and to build on our athletic success.”
All of OC’s athletic programs have advanced to the national tournament at least once in the past six years, highlighted by the men’s golf team’s seven straight national top-four finishes and by the 2003 men’s tennis national championship. The university boasts numerous NAIA All-American and Scholar-Athlete honorees on an annual basis.
Oklahoma Christian is a Division I member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Sooner Athletic Conference. The university currently fields teams in six men’s sports and six women’s sports. Men’s teams include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, and track and field. Women’s teams include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, and track and field.