The Norman Transcript


June 16, 2013

Recalling run to the ’63 title

NORMAN — (Editor’s Note: Joe Claxton is a member of the NHS Class of 1963. He has written sports for the greater part of the past 50 years for the Ada News, Pauls Valley Democrat, The Oklahoman and others as well as teaching journalism at Ada High. The following are his impressions of the reunion. Oh yes, some of you may remember him as Derrell Claxton.)

NORMAN, 1963.

The Norman High Class of 1963 50th reunion kicked off Friday night at Stepbrothers with the traditional squinting of name tags and trying to visualize what late age 60s faces looked like back in the early ‘60s. It was almost like introducing a new kid to the class.

The gathering featured most of the Class AA state championship basketball team of 1963, hence our story.

Jack Herron was still just as tall and somehow was still recognizable with a full head of white hair instead of the crewcuts of the day.

Herron was a Norman boy several times over as his dad’s career took him in and out of the town, but as a grade schooler he did get to see Denny Price lead Chet Bryan’s team to the first of Bryan’s four state titles.

“I remember thinking, I want to do that when I get to Norman High,” he said.

A later move back to Norman in the early ‘60s reunited him with players and friends he already knew. He fit right back in.

In 1963 they were ranked No. 1 at the start of season.

“I would check the paper each Monday to make sure we were still No. 1,” Herron said. After a 43-42 squeaker over Duncan for the title that capped a 22-1 season they were, of course, still No. 1.

“... And we still are,” said Herron, a career educator who ironically was superintendent at Duncan at one point and recently launched a campaign to become the next state superintendent of schools.

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