Behind the Scenes at OPSU Basketball Games
by Aggie Sports on 12/29/05
Goodwell, OK - It takes
many hard working people to manage a basketball game at Oklahoma
Panhandle State University. While nearly all fans are focused
on the players during game action or on the cheer team routines
during breaks in the game, many others are getting the job
done in capacities not quite as visible.
Nikki Cothran, OPSU softball coach, has charge of the ticket
booth, the sale and distribution of game programs, concession
stands and working with security.
No matter if the game is fast and furious
or in a timeout, the action at “THE TABLE” is usually perpetual
motion. At courtside is the very important scorer’s table – the
control room, so to speak. It is there where one can find the
official scorer, the clock operators, the announcer, the statisticians,
the music coordinator, and members of media.
Guymon businessman and OPSU men’s golf coach Roger McKinnon
has served as the official scorer for several years. The official
scorer is just that – an official – and McKinnon
works closely with the striped shirts on the court to make
sure that points, fouls, and time-outs are correct as well
as that substitutions are handled properly.
Cla Hammers, an OPSU maintenance employee during the day,
normally handles the scoreboard and Courtney Harris, an OPSU
student, usually handles the shot clock. The clock operators
must stay on their toes through the entire game and watch the
action and the signals from the on-floor officials very closely.
Dr. Wayne Stewart, OPSU’s Dean of Education, normally
handles the announcing and keeps fans involved and informed
on the different things that are happening in the game as well
as several announcements that may be necessary. When Stewart
is not handling the announcer’s duties, Dr. Wayne Manning,
OPSU’s Vice President of Outreach and Academic Affairs
OPSU student Tyler Puryear takes care
of the recorded music and works closely with Cheer Team coach
Amber Hollis, as well as cheer co-captains Kenzie Talcott
and Mallory Turlington to assure that the music (piped through
the public address system) is correct as far as pre-game
and halftime along with accompanying the Cheer Team routines.
Puryear and Hollis also coordinate closely with the school’s
band director, Jason Berg.
Two spotters and a computer coordinator
work at a rapid pace to make sure that “play-by-play” statistics
are kept accurately and distributed to coaches and the media
eight to ten times during each game. OPSU students Austin
Elliot and Josh Ward are the spotters and work non-stop as
they feed information to another student, David Pierson,
who enters all the data into the courtside computer.
Scott Puryear, Sports Information Director
and Business Teacher, is the “Pit Boss” and may
be seen performing any of the jobs on the table and/or working
with the press or the radio broadcasters.
Preparations for Aggie and Lady Aggie
basketball games normally get started several hours before
the event begins. There are programs to prepare and print,
concessions to make ready and the testing of all equipment.
Shortly before the opening tip, an OPSU student, faculty
member or the band (under Berg’s
direction) performs the “Star Spangled Banner” and
then fans hear Stewart or Manning introduce the starting line-ups
for both teams.
After the game’s conclusion (and sometimes there is
both a women’s AND men’s game, one right after
the other), the work is still far from done. The table crew
breaks down all the equipment, and there are faxes to send
to media outlets, e-mails to be sent to other schools and the
Heartland Conference, and game stories to write. In addition,
all spectator areas must be cleaned after the game and that
duty is normally performed by members of the OPSU baseball
team, supervised by their coach Jason Kueffler.
On two-game days, which occur mostly during Conference play,
the process of managing the event may take as long as eight
hours. Not including players and coaches, band and cheer team
members, it usually takes about thirty people to get the job
done on Oklahoma Panhandle State basketball game day.
It’s worth it, because fans attending
Aggie and Lady Aggie games usually have a very good time.