Steve Zabel was a standout high school athlete in Thornton, Colorado. He won state titles in both the high jump and pentathlon. Zabel was then recruited and signed by the University of Oklahoma. He earned All-America honors as a tight end in 1969, and developed a reputation as a versatile player while at OU. The Sooners utilized him at defensive end and as a punter. He helped the Sooners win two Big 8 Championships and earned All Big 8 honors. Steve was the sixth player selected in the 1970 NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. Zabel played 10 seasons in the National Football League. He started his NFL career as a tight end, but was moved to linebacker his second season, and shined on defense. The New England Patriots acquired Zabel in 1975. His second season in New England was his best as a professional. He led New England’s linebackers with 88 tackles and was named the team’s most valuable defensive player. Zabel played in the NFL for three more years, and retired after the 1979 season with the Baltimore Colts.
OKLAHOMA SPORTS HALL OF FAME
Induction Sponsored by the University of Oklahoma and Prodigal, LLC
Yojiro Uetake Obata
Induction Sponsored by Oklahoma State University and Jim Click
Pat Smith won three Oklahoma state high school wrestling titles for Del City High School 1987-1989. As a freshman at Oklahoma State University, Pat won his first of four straight NCAA individual national titles. He earned NCAA titles in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994, and was a member of Oklahoma State teams that won the NCAA team titles in 1990 and 1994. By the time his college career ended he compiled a 121-5-2 record. He set the Oklahoma State wrestling record for consecutive matches without a loss with 98 straight. Pat was named the 1994 Amateur Wrestling News Man of the Year. He won gold medals at two U.S. Olympic Festivals, and finished second in the 1995 U.S. Nationals. He was a six-time All-American at the U.S. Nationals, and won a bronze medal at the 1997 World Cup. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006.
Induction Sponsored by the University of Oklahoma
Yojiro Uetake Obata came to Oklahoma State University in 1963 to further his education and wrestle for the Cowboys. Uetake wrestled at OSU from 1963-1966, and won all 58 of his collegiate matches. He won three Big Eight Conference titles, three NCAA championships, and was twice voted outstanding wrestler of the national tournament. After his sophomore year in 1964, Uetake returned home to Japan. He won the Olympic gold medal in the freestyle bantamweight wrestling competition at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. Four years later, in Mexico City, he won another Olympic gold medal, and became the first Japanese wrestler ever to win two Olympic gold medals. He spent two years as an assistant coach at OSU. He served as coach for the Japanese wrestling team at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and as director in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Class of 2015 Inductees
Induction Sponsored by Oklahoma State University
Induction Sponsored by Orthopedic Solutions
Induction Sponsored by Greg Hall Oil & Gas
Born in Nowata, Oklahoma, Kurt Burris grew up in a family of 11 children in Muskogee. He played center and linebacker at the University of Oklahoma, and led Oklahoma to a 4-year record of 35-4-2. Burris was named a consensus All-American in 1954, and was a two-time all-conference selection. He finished second to Wisconsin fullback Alan Ameche in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1954. Burris was named Player of the Year by the Helms and Citizens Savings Athletic Foundation, and Lineman of the Year by the Philadelphia Sports Writers. Burris played five years in Canada leading the Edmonton Eskimos to back-to-back Grey Cup championships, 1955, 1956. He was inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 2000.
Ralph Terry grew up in Chelsea, Oklahoma and attended Chelsea High School, graduating in 1953. He played football, basketball and baseball at Chelsea. Following high school he signed a contract with the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent. He split time between minor league baseball and college where he played basketball at Northeastern A&M College, 1954-1956. He made his major league debut in 1956. While in New York, he played on multiple American League Pennant championship teams, 1956, 1957 and 1960–1964. Terry was a two-time World Series champion with the Yankees, 1961, and 1962, earning World Series MVP honors in 1962. Ralph also won the Babe Ruth Award and was named 1962 Pro Athlete of the Year. He was a two-time All-Star, and led the league in wins in 1962. . Ralph had 107 career wins, 1,000 strikeouts, 11 saves, 20 shutouts and a 3.62 Earned Run Average. In five World Series appearances, Terry posted a 2-3 record, 31 strikeouts and a 2.93 ERA. After baseball, Ralph became a golf professional, and qualified for, four PGA Tour events. He also played in 96 Senior Tour Events and had a top ten finish.
Jack McCracken began his basketball career at Classen High School in Oklahoma City under legendary coach Henry Iba. He led Classen to the state high school championship in 1929, and earned first team high school All-American honors his senior season. After high school, McCracken attended Northwest Missouri State Teachers College. He earned NAIA All-American honors in 1930 and 1931, and led Northwest Missouri to 43 straight wins, including an undefeated season in 1929-1930. He left college prior to his senior year to work for Denver Safeway, and to play for the company’s AAU basketball team. He was an eight-time AAU All-American, and led Denver Safeway to three AAU Championships. McCracken was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1954 and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1962.