NORMAN — Before each football game at Oklahoma Baptist University, the players walk 50 yards from a locker room to the field. Each of the Bison enter the stadium their own special way in front of the sell-out crowd in Shawnee.
The last one on the field is head coach Chris Jensen. He doesn’t make a special production as he takes the field. He prefers that the spotlight be on his players. But they know their subdued coach is the reason they are there.
“The No. 1 reason I came here was coach Jensen,” defensive end Kimes Gilbert said. “I played for him in high school. Then to have the opportunity to play for him in college … It’s the kind of man he is, it’s the kind of coach he is. I love to be under him and learning from him.”
Jensen accepted the OBU job in Jan. 2012. At that moment he became the program’s first head coach since 1940. At the time, he had no players, no coaching staff and no equipment.
The only things Jensen had was experience in building a football program from the ground up and the determination to see the job gets done.
“For him to be able to hold steadfast is wonderful,” OBU Assistant Coach Jason Melot said. “He’s steadfast and stays the course. Keeps us all in the right direction. It’s just awesome.”
Melot was one of the coaches Jensen brought with him from Southmoore High School, where they went through their first building process. A year after his first season with the SaberCats, he had them playing in the class 6A semifinals where they lost to Jenks.
The transformation at OBU may not come as quick on the field. But he has already created an atmosphere that is attracting attention around Shawnee and the state.