The "42 for 36" campaign has come to a successful conclusion.
MIAMI — To quote former University of Oklahoma play-by-play man John Brooks: “Jiminy Christmas!”
The “42 for 36” campaign to have a statue that immortalizes former Miamian Steve Owens has been a big success.
“We have $77,600 currently in the bank. We have a very good potential of outstanding contributions that we are going get the first of next week that will put us at $100,000,” said committee chair Bill Osborn.
The significance of “42 for 36” is that Owens’ number as a member of the Miami Wardog football team was 42 and his number at the University of Oklahoma, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1969, was 36.
The drive kicked off July 3 and wrapped up Tuesday, Aug. 14.
“It shows you the character of Steve Owens and the things that he does for people,” Osborn said. “I don’t know of anybody that I approached that said ‘no.’ They all are wanting to be a part of it and be a part of his story. It’s pretty neat.
“We are ecstatic.”
The Nick Calcagno-designed statue will anchor the Honors Plaza that is being constructed in the south end zone of the Miami Multi-Purpose Sports Complex at Red Robertson Field.
It’s Phase III of the stadium improvement project that included turf and new lighting (Phase I) as well as new seating, press box with suites, scoreboard, concessions and restroom areas and a locker room for Miami Public Schools football teams (Phase II).
The Robertson Field project has been a joint effort of the City of Miami, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and Miami Public Schools.
The Miami Community Facilities Authority oversees the stadium.
Osborn said of the total raised, between $30,000 and $40,000 came in during the last two weeks.
“They are from Miami citizens to OU alumni to Heisman Trophy winners,” Osborn said. “A lot of people did a lot of work. The committee has worked really hard.”
Next up: Carol Calcagno (widow of Nick Calcagno), Osborn and committee member Neal Johnson will work at wrapping up details of the statue.
They also will work at designing plaques that will be on the statue, which will be dedicated on Nov. 2.
The statue of Owens is a duplicate of the one that was dedicated in OU’s Heisman Park, located on the east side of Owen Field, in 2006.
Schaefer Art Bronze Casting of Arlington, Texas, is producing the statue.
He earned four letters in track and three each in football and basketball at Miami High School.
In 1965, Owens was named an Oklahoma football all-stater.
He 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.
Owens was also a defensive standout for the Wardogs. He had 66 tackles and 34 assists as a senior. He had seven interceptions (18 total over three years), deflected five passes and had a fumble recovery.
He was a three-event state champion in track, winning the high hurdles, high jump and long jump.
Owens also earned all-conference honors in basketball.
Owens set seven NCAA and nine Big Eight Conference rushing records during his career at OU.
He was an All-Big Eight Conference honoree in 1967, 1968 and 1969. Owens was the Big Eight Player of the Year and a consensus All-American in 1968 and ’69.
Owens was a first-round selection (19th overall) by the Detroit Lions and went on to earn All Pro honors in 1971.
He was the Lions’ first back to gain 1,000 yards (1,035) in a season.
A serious knee injury forced him to retire after six seasons in Detroit.
After retiring from football, he launched Steve Owens & Associates and the Steve Owens Insurance Group in Norman.
Owens was OU’s athletic director from September 1996 until March 1998 — when he was succeeded by Joe Castiglione.
Owens, his wife, Barbara, and Millie George Gilion were the first two inductees into the Miami Athletics Hall of Fame in March.
He and Barbara — who have been married for more than 50 years — were instrumental in establishing the Miami Public Schools Enrichment Foundation in 1988.
The foundation has raised more than $1.5 million to help teachers and students at his alma mater.
He was honored as the Outstanding Alumnus by the MPSEF in 2004.
Steve Owens also was a founding member of the Norman Public School Foundation.
Barbara Stoner Owens was a cheerleader, Miamiette, basketball queen and honor student and was active in many organizations at MHS.
She is a graduate of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, where she was a Norse Star and cheerleader.
Barbara Owens was honored as NEO’s Alumnus of the Year in 2000.
She has been an advocate for mental health in the state of Oklahoma.
Her efforts have helped raise more than $2 million to build the Thunderbird Clubhouse in Norman, a facility for those suffering from and recovering from mental illness.
Steve Owens numerous times has credited much of his success to her.