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April 21, 2012

Of coaching dismissals and player salutes

Scouting around … A marvelous coaching run came to an unpleasant end in Claremore on Thursday.

Mark Campbell was dismissed after 17 seasons as the girls basketball coach.

Campbell might have had his detractors, but he leaves Claremore with a solid gold resume and a penchant for perfection.

Campbell was demanding as a coach.

He asked for much. And received much in return.

He was widely heralded as a coach who produced quality players and championship teams.

The first decade of the new century belonged to Mark Campbell and the Claremore girls basketball teams.

From 2001 through 2007, Campbell’s teams won three state championships and finished runner-up twice.

From 1999 through 2009, Claremore made 11 consecutive appearances in the state tournament.

He produced All-Staters with assembly-line efficiency.

His development of post players borders on the legendary.

Upon his retirement, whether that be now or down the road, Campbell is a shoo-in for the Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

He deserved better from the Claremore school administration.

He is a God-fearing man who has stared down cancer.

At the age of 63, he says that he has plenty of coaching years left. He relinquished his teaching position last year and coached with a temporary contract.

He has amassed more than 800 basketball wins, coaching boys and girls. At Claremore, his record was 362-100. He has a wall full of coaching awards.

Claremore will be hard-pressed to replace Mark Campbell.

He said Friday that he was disappointed in the manner in which he was dismissed. But Campbell, being the man that he is, refused to look back.

He is looking ahead. Wanting to coach again. Expecting to coach again.

Coaches of his ilk don’t come around often. They certainly don’t receive such rude treatment from school systems   they have served with championship   success. …

Another Adair product is making a splash on the collegiate scene.

Maddelyn Fraley, a senior softballer at North Texas, is walloping the opposition.

She is leading the Mean Green in virtually every offensive category. Her .369 batting average through 41 games is 50 points higher than her nearest teammate.

She leads the team in home runs, RBIs, hits and on-base percentage.

A first baseman, Maddelyn earned recent Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week honors after hitting .647 — 11-for-17 — and driving in seven runs in five games.  

Maddelyn graduated from Adair in 2007 with All-State credentials and played two seasons at Northeastern A&M.

In the North Texas single-season record book, she is fifth in home runs and fourth in RBIs. …

The 138th running of the Kentucky Derby, America’s most enduring, and endearing, horse-racing spectacle, unfolds in 16 days. Bodemaster, trained by Bob Baffert, won last weekend’s Arkansas Derby and arrived in Louisville at Churchill Downs a couple of days later. He is sure to be among the favorites as the field takes shape over the next fortnight.

The premier local connection to the Derby is Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs. Derby Day is, by far, the biggest day of the year at WRD. …

First there was the Drillers High School Showcase at ONEOK Field in Tulsa. Now, the Drillers have invited the college guys. Rogers State’s Hillcats will take on  Northeastern State at ONEOK Field at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Unlike the recent prep series, in which the Pryor Tigers participated, the Hillcats and RiverHawks will be part of a doubleheader, as the Tulsa Drillers will take on the Arkansas Travelers at 7:05 p.m. A $7 RSU ticket is good for both games.

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