TULSA — Not many people know this, but former international pole vault star Joe Dial cut his teeth at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.
Dial, entering his 25th year as track and field coach at Oral Roberts University, was at NEO from the fall of 1988 until the spring of 1989 as an assistant coach.
He assisted Don Shoemake in his brief time in Miami.
Dial had coached at the University of Oklahoma for three years before coming to NEO.
“I wanted to coach all of the events,” Dial said by phone last week. “He (Shoemake) admitted he didn’t know anything about track, so he let me handle things.
“We had some good ones that went on to some great things.”
Randy Coleman earned NJCAA All-American honors before moving on to Arkansas and Mike Hines set an NJCAA pole vault record, clearing 17-10 ½.
“It was a great program.”
He and his wife, Shawna, were dorm parents at Harrell Hall.
Dial said he also took several classes while at NEO.
“I don’t have anything but great memories of NEO,” he said. “I learned so much coaching everybody. That is why I am able to do it here.”
Dial said Keith Patterson, a classmate at Marlow High School and now defensive coordinator at Arizona State, tipped him off about the job at NEO.
Dial recently was inducted to the National Federation of State High School Associations Hall of Fame.
“That’s a real honor,” Dial said.
He was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 2016 along with Brian Bosworth, Bob Barry Jr., Leon Heath, Jimmy Houston and Scott Verplank.
While a senior at Marlow, he didn’t figure he would be on the world stage in track and field.
“I just wanted to keep getting a little better and next thing I knew I was traveling all over,” Dial said. “I didn’t even realize I was doing that great. I always knew there was somebody out there that could beat me so I needed to get better.”
Dial broke the state and national record with a pole vault of 17-9 1/2. That record stood nationally for 18 years. He was also the first high school athlete to break the 18-foot barrier.
Dial set the national indoor record that year as well, vaulting 17-4 1/2.
He won four straight Oklahoma state titles then went on to be a four-time national champion at Oklahoma State.
Dial was the first high school vaulter to go 18 feet, then became the first collegiate athlete to clear 19 feet. He was the world record holder in the pole vault in 1986.
Dial joined the ORU coaching staff in the fall of 1993 and was promoted to head coach in February 1994.
At Oral Roberts, he has coached three NCAA national championships, two by Olympian Andretti Bain in the indoor 400-meter dash and outdoor 400 in 2008 and one by Jack Whitt in the outdoor pole vault in 2012.
Bain was ORU’s first-ever Olympic medalist in any sport.
Bain won a silver medal in the Olympic men’s 4x400 meter relay for the Bahamas in 2008 at Beijing.
Bain also became the first-ever NCAA national champion in any sport at ORU in 2008, placing first in the 400 at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
Construction on the ONEOk Sports Complex, which includes facilities for track and tennis in the middle of the campus, is well under way.
It will be the first outdoor track facility ever for ORU.
“Hands down, its going to be the finest in the state,” Dial said. “Nobody will even be remotely close to second. It is incredible.”