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2017 PTCI Aggie Hall of Fame Spotlight: Jerry Linton

By Alyssa Fox on 10/25/2017 Tickets are still available for the 2017 PTCI Aggie Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Banquet held Saturday, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. in the Panhandle State Student Union Ballroom. Tickets are still available for the 2017 PTCI Aggie Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Banquet held Saturday, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. in the Panhandle State Student Union Ballroom.

Goodwell, Okla.—Panhandle State football phenomenon Jerry Linton will join an esteemed and celebrated group of honorees this Saturday, as he will be inducted posthumously into the PTCI Aggie Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

Jerry Linton was a proud Oklahoma man his entire life. Linton was born and raised in Kingfisher, Okla. where he attended both grade school and high school, and where he was recruited to Panhandle State University. A true sportsman all through high school, Linton dabbled in basketball, track and football. The proclaimed "hometown hero" of football, Linton earned All-District honors and caught the eye of PSU Head Coach Oscar Williams, and Linton was signed to Panhandle State University in 1959 after graduating from high school.

Jerry's daughter Jera Green recalls fondly her father's stories of his blossoming high school athletic career, and trying to balance all his loved extracurriculars, recalling warmly, "Not only did he play football but he was in the band as well (Trumpet) and at halftime he would have to run and get his instrument and perform; he would be the only one in his football gear."

In 1960, Linton was a wide-eyed freshman, ready to set foot onto Panhandle campus for the first time. He made the inaugural trip Guymon with his mother and father, where he would not only set his eyes on his new home for the next four years, but also on something even more significant. Jera reminisces on her father's story of the first time he ever laid eyes future wife, "He drove over to Guymon with his parents and went to eat at the soda fountain at the local pharmacy and my mother was working. I remember him always saying she was the prettiest girl he had ever seen and that she was not very nice to him at first. She was going to be a sophomore in high school and was trying to play it cool being the new college boy coming to town. Dad said he would just keep going over there once or twice a week until she agreed to go out with him…and the rest is history."

Linton not only met his college sweetheart, Patricia, but he also formed friendships that would last beyond his college years. "My dad loved his coaches and his teammates and they all remained in touch after college," reveals Jera, "I do remember Dad always speaking about Coach Otis Sanders and what a great man he was and Dad always looked forwarded to when they would have their college football reunions!"

In a previous interview with an Oklahoma newspaper, Linton divulged he wasn't sure where his Panhandle career would take him. Linton was quoted saying, "We didn't have very good teams here in Kingfisher, and I didn't get much notice [so] I didn't think I'd play much as a freshman [at Panhandle]." However, soon after, Linton would grow to see in himself what Coach Williams saw the day he recruited him, as Linton became a starting running back and went on to start all four years with the Aggies.

Linton was a force to be reckoned on the field at Panhandle State, and was named National Statistic Leader in 1961, setting a rushing record with an astounding total of 4,839 yards, and averaging 155.6 yards per game, which would stand matchless for fourteen years. He felt a true sense of Aggie pride in himself and his teammates, saying in the same interview, "Our junior year, we were really good; I believe we could have played any team in the state- OU, OSU, Tulsa- we may not have beat them but we wouldn't have been embarrassed." Proving his true athletic ability and playing spirit, Linton was named to Oklahoma's 1961 All-American Football Team as well as to the All-Century State College Football Team.

After graduating from Panhandle State in 1961, Linton would go into the service as a commissioned officer for two-and-a-half years and served in the reserves for six years. Still a devout athlete at heart, Linton would also go on to find a love of racquetball, playing in tournaments and eventually, as his daughter Jera recalls, becoming a state championship racquetball player. He then worked for Woodmen of the World for 14 years before being drawn to sales and starting at an Oklahoma City auto dealership in 1994. Over the years, Linton remarried twice and his family grew from his beloved daughter Jera, to include two stepdaughters, Virgina and Joy, and two stepsons, Donnie and Jimmy.

Jera speaks fondly of her father's endowed career, saying, "I remember as a kid I would ask my dad all kinds of questions about his record and he would say, 'The hard work and passion for what you do can pay off in the end, even for a small town boy from Kingfisher, Oklahoma!'". On her father's much deserved induction into the Aggie Hall of Fame Class of 2017, Jera expresses, "He would be so proud and I know he would be smiling from ear to ear. He was such a humble man that I know exactly what he would say, 'Oh it is just as little reception for some of my accomplishments, that's all, no biggie!'".

Jera and her husband, along with their daughter and son, Jera's stepsister and brother-in-law will be attending the induction ceremony and banquet. Jera's brother-in-law, Matt Uhr, will speak on behalf of Jerry and enlighten attendees on his past as an Aggie.

Jerry Linton is among four other talented and respected Aggie athletes being inducted into the PTCI Aggie Hall of Fame Class of 2017; he is joined by David Flowers, Bob Wakefield and Georgia Walton. The banquet and induction ceremony will be held on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom on the Panhandle State campus. Those wishing to attend can contact Victor Esparza by email at coachvic@opsu.edu or by phone at 580-349-1324 for reservations and ticket information. Reservations are encouraged as space fills up quickly at this celebrated event.