NORMAN — As a girl, Debbie Copp thought she would be an educator, like her parents. But it was a part-time job as an OU student that diverted her talents and interests to sports communication, and she has never looked back at her classroom plans.
For the past 35 years, she has been at home as a part of the OU sports information team, having the title of director of publications and awards since 1990. She is the driving force behind the football and basketball game programs.
“I do most of the planning and production,” she said, adding that there are 40 pages of each 124-page football program that change with each game. “I have some incredible students working with me. They are good writers. They get to the meat of the story and they understand deadlines.”
In a recent three-week period, things were “a little crazy,” she said, with two home football games plus programs for the men’s and women’s basketball series. Mondays before home football games are especially hectic.
“There are four things that we don’t get until the Monday before the game: game notes, starting lineup, final roster and team stats,” she said. Then it is a well-practiced hustle to get the information in order and ready for the printer.
By Wednesday, she is reading “blue lines” (proofs), and from then on, it is out of her hands. The program goes to the press Thursday, then to the bindery for delivery by noon Friday so they are assured that the programs can be in the fan’s hands on Saturday.
Shelves lining the wall of her office have binders of programs she has produced since moving to that position in 1990. They serve as reminders of playing a part in great athletic seasons, of former athletes who have gone on to great things and of the “go Sooners” spirit of her alma mater.