Connor to Retire from College Coaching Ranks
- released on 01/31/2007
by Laura Hays
Goodwell, Okla. - In an emotional meeting with team members and staff earlier in the week, Oklahoma Panhandle State University’s Head Men’s Basketball coach, Curt Connor, announced he is retiring from coaching the sport. Connor will accept a position with Johnson & Johnson in their medical division, and will move to Denver following the conclusion of the 2007 season. Connor will remain head coach for the rest of the season.
President Dave Bryant said, “Coach Connor rebuilt the program into one of the most positive ones on campus. He emphasized the ‘student’ in student athlete and displayed his own college diploma in the locker room to remind players that education remained the most important part of their time at OPSU.” Bryant went on to say that Athletic Director and Head Women’s Basketball Coach Jerry Olson will serve as interim coach at the end of the season until a replacement is named.
Connor’s college coaching career spans 22 years and under his direction, teams have won 2 national championships, 5 regional championships and 10 conference championships. In addition, Connor has been named Coach of the Year five times. In his three years at OPSU, he has led his team in back-to-back playoff appearances and hopes to make it three this season. When asked about his career, Connor said, “Giving up my life’s work was a very difficult decision. I’ve reached the pinnacle of my profession twice, and my players and I appreciate the opportunity OPSU provided to compete at the highest level against Division I opponents such as Oral Roberts, UTEP, and Wichita State. More importantly, I have been instrumental throughout my career in showing players how to maximize their potential as athletes, students and citizens. I don’t have sons or brothers, and my players filled that role. Coaching has been the vehicle I used to teach young men how to conduct themselves.” He also praised Bryant for his leadership, and remarked that the President has supported the team as well as Connor’s coaching and instructional efforts.
Olson expressed appreciation for Connor’s tenure at OPSU. “Curt brought us back to respectability in the Heartland Conference. He not only took his team to 2 conference playoffs, he made sure his players graduated from college.”
As the season enters its final month, Connor said he plans to coach until the final buzzer. Hopefully that buzzer won’t sound until well into March in post season action.