NORMAN — Dan Quinn remembers what that first year was like. As Norman North principal when the high school opened in 1997, he has a vivid memory of just how bad the football team was.
That first year after splitting with Norman High, the Timberwolves compiled a 2-8 record. It wasn’t the greatest start fans could have hoped for.
“The first year, we had a combined team,” Quinn said. “The next year, we started up and we got thrashed about quite a bit.”
But now, 14 years later, North finds itself on the opposite end when it plays for its first-ever state championship at 7:30 tonight in Stillwater.
Quinn will be in the stands at Boone Pickens Stadium as the Timberwolves try to knock off perennial powerhouse Jenks. He was principal at Norman High before opening North. Years earlier, he was athletic director and head trainer when the Tigers won a state football championship in 1992.
“It’s been a long time coming, and I’m real happy for the school,” Quinn said. “We couldn’t be more pleased.”
Current North principal Bryan Young also will be in the stands with hundreds of students who are taking charter buses to the game. Young, who also was at North in 1997, has watched the enthusiasm grow.
“We did not have the largest crowd at the first-round game, so on Monday, I went to several classrooms and talked to the kids about it,” Young said. “We have great kids and they always do what we ask of them, and we decided that we would really try and work on our school spirit. We talked about how important the whole high school experience is and how we wanted to support each other in everything we do. The kids and the faculty response has been fantastic.”
Young already has experienced a championship title run with the Timberwolves. It occurred on the pitch as coach of the boys soccer team in 2000. It’s an experience he wants the members of the football team to experience themselves.