MIAMI — Members of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M’s 1967 National Junior College Athletic Association national championship team will be honored as part of homecoming activities.
The 1967 squad was led by Hall of Fame head coach Chuck Bowman and assistant coaches John Tiger, Gary Howard, the late Bob Maxwell and the late Jack Wallace.
The group will meet at 10:30 a.m. Saturday for donuts and fellowship in the Blue-Gold Room in the Bruce G. Carter Student Union.
The group will also participate in several activities leading up to the football game.
Those attending will be astounded by how much the campus has changed from their days roaming the halls of such buildings as Shipley Hall, Kah-Ne-U Hall, Cunningham Hall and Ables Hall.
Gone are such structures as the old gym (located just north of Shipley) and the married student apartment complex located at the south end of the campus.
Major campus construction was well underway when the 1967 team took to the practice field, which is still east of the stadium on the banks of Tar Creek.
During the preseason, the Norsemen welcomed more than 100 prospects to participate in three-a-day practice sessions. The two-week practices were grueling and at the end, the coaching staff made the necessary cuts to get down to 60 players.
Playing as an independent, the Golden Norsemen posted an 8-1 record during the regular season.
The only loss was a 21-20 loss to Joplin Junior College of Joplin.
The next year, it became a four-year institution —now known as Missouri Southern State University.
Traveling to Savannah, Georgia, on Nov. 24, 1967, the Golden Norsemen upset top ranked Lees McRae, North Carolina, 35-13, in the nationally televised NJCAA Shrine Bowl to give Bowman a national title in his first season at NEO.
Three Golden Norsemen, most outstanding back Doug Mathews, of Picher; most outstanding lineman Ronnie Lowe, of Thomaston, Georgia, and most outstanding linebacker John Pell, of Pahokee, Florida, earned NJCAA first team all-American honors.
As the years progressed, several of these coaches and players went on to be successful in the private sector.
After a five-year stint at NEO, Bowman went on to become the first director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He held the position for 30 years.
Howard went on to serve as head coach from 1977 to 2002 at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. He won the 1982 NAIA national championship and finished with a 161-106-6 overall record.
Wallace became dean of student affairs and later athletic director at Oral Roberts University from 1970 to 1987.
Both Maxwell and Tiger had long and distinguished careers as both football coaches and education administrators.
Maxwell, a four-sport letterman at NEO, served as defensive secondary and special teams coach with the Golden Norse until 1993. He became athletic director and head of the Health and Physical Education department until his retirement in 2000.
Tiger served as head coach at Haskell (Kansas) Junior College before returning to coach at Commerce High School and his hometown of Seminole in the 1980s. He was principal at Terrell, Texas, from 1996 to 2003.
Mathews had a distinguished assistant coaching career at both Vanderbuilt University and the University of Tennessee. He also owned and operated a large sporting goods store in Nashville while broadcasting Vols football.
Offensive guard Jack Sherrod created one of the first conversion van manufacturing plants in the 1970s in Jacksonville, Florida.
Wide receiver Donny Grambling owns a manufacturing company in Jacksonville, Florida.
Linebacker Larry Keen, a former business instructor at NEO, went on to serve as superintendent of the Vo-Tech in Stillwater. Keen is currently president at Fayetteville (North Carolina) Technical Community College.
Author Stan Beesley is the principal/superintendent of a small school in Shawnee.
Tailback Al Consuegra and his wife, Donna Wisely Consuegra, own and operate a business in Atlanta, Georgia.
Former Cincinnati, Ohio, center Mark Mecurio owns and operates a construction company in Florida.
Other 1967 players that went on to successful careers in high school coaching were Lowe in his hometown of Thomaston; running back De Cooper in Broken Bow; fullback Ramero Gonzales in Bartlesville and halfback David Slatton in both football and wrestling in the Tulsa area.