MIAMI — Steve Owens and Millie George-Gilion, two names synonymous with prep sports in Miami, will be the first two inductees into the Miami Athletics Hall of Fame.
They will be honored during an 11:30 a.m. luncheon Saturday, March 3 at NEO’s Calcagno Family Ballroom in the Carter Student Union.
Tickets for the luncheon are $20. A full table eight is $150.
The Miami all-school reunion will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon in the Miami Activity Center (MAC), south of the high school.
There will be other activities at the Coleman Saturday night.
“We are really looking forward to the first-ever hall of fame banquet and celebrating the successes of Steve and Millie,” said HOF chairman and Miami athletic director Chad Davis.
Owens went from being a three-sport standout at MHS to the University of Oklahoma, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1969 as college football’s best player, and then the National Football League.
“I am certainly honored to be the recipient of the Hall of Fame,” Owens said. “I think it’s a great to honor our students. We are so grateful that we are the first ones. We have so many outstanding graduates from Miami High School who have been so successful in different fields. To be one of the first is a great honor.
"We appreciate it and we look forward to so many great people that we can honor.”
Owens earned four letters in track and three each in football and basketball.
In 1965, Owens was named an all-stater in football and shared back of the year honors with Rick Baldridge of Lawton, when he rushed for 948 yards on 134 carries and scored 101 points for the Wardogs.
He accounted for 57 percent of Miami’s total offense his senior year, handling the ball 230 times.
Owens was also a defensive standout, posting 66 tackles and 34 assists as a senior. He had seven passes (18 total over three years), deflected five passes and had a fumble recovery.
Owens became synonymous with OU football, setting seven NCAA and nine Big 8 rushing records.
He is immortalized as the second of the Sooners’ six Heisman winners with a statue in the OU Monument Park located east of Gaylord Family-Memorial Stadium.
Owens was a first-round selection (19th overall) by the Detroit Lions, earning All Pro honors in 1981. He was the Lions’ first back to gain 1,000 yards (1,035) in a season.
After injuries forced his retirement from pro football he went into private business. Owens was athletic director at his alma mater for 19 months, stepping down in March 1998.
Owens was instrumental in the establishment of the Miami Public Schools Enrichment Foundation.
“It’s a great honor and privilege to be selected to the MHS Hall of Fame,” George-Gilion said. “I was very fortunate to play on a lot of great teams with great players and coaches. What makes it really special is to be inducted with Steve.”
George-Gilion was a trendsetter in girls’ athletics at Miami High School, where she became one of the career scoring leaders in basketball and was a three-event state track champ.
George-Gilion played for Archie Loehr, who helped re-launch the Lady Wardog basketball program.
MHS had girls’ basketball up until the 1930-31 season, and then it returned for the 1975-76 campaign.
As a senior, George-Gilion scored 45 points against Pryor on Feb 3, 1981, and 10-days later, got 45 again, this time against Bartlesville Sooner High.
She also had 41 points against Tahlequah in an era where girls played six on six — three offensive forwards on one end of the court and three defensive guards on the other, with the half-court line dividing the action.
George-Gilion also excelled in track, where she won the long jump with a then-state record of 18 feet, 3 1/2 inches. She also won the 80-yard hurdles and 200 hurdles.
George-Gilion was second in the 200-yard dash — her only silver medal finish of the season.
She was Miami’s first basketball player to earn all-state honors and was the recipient of the Jim Thorpe Award.
After graduating from MHS (where she was co-salutatorian), she played basketball and softball at Crowder College at Neosho, Missouri, and then continued her softball career at Northeast Louisiana University, now Louisiana-Monroe.
George-Gilion returned to Crowder College in 1988 as softball coach and later became athletic director.
Her teams were 506-141 in 13 seasons as the Lady Riders’ softball coach. At the time, she was just the ninth NJCAA coach to win more than 500 games.
Her Crowder teams won three Region XVI titles and finished second in the nation in 1991 and 1992 and fifth in 2000.
George-Gilion was inducted into the NJCAA Softball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2002.
She coached the North team in softball at the 1993 United States Olympic Festival at San Antonio, Texas.
The selection of Owens and George-Gilion for the first class was a no-brainer, according to Davis.
“When people think of Miami Wardogs, athletics specifically, the first thing that comes to mind is Steve Owens, and rightfully so,” Davis said. “The mark that Steve has left, not only in Miami but in Norman and across the state of Oklahoma, is really immeasurable.
“Millie was a name that came up right after Steve when we were discussing the Wardog greats,” Davis said. “I got educated pretty quick that she was pretty special. Her career didn’t stop when she left Miami.”
Other members of the HOF committee are Marcel Walther, Dick Lillard, Tara Oelke, Harley Turner, Brent Brassfield, Georgeann Roye, Matt Osborn and Jim Ellis.
Miami superintendent Jeremy Hogan is an ex officio, non-voting member.
“It took a lot of time and effort to get to this point,” Davis said. “We are very appreciative of our hall of fame committee and the time and effort they have put in to get us here.”
To reserve luncheon tickets, contact Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Central Board Office at 918-542-8455.