Don Bigby would love for his football teams at Northeastern A&M to be mentioned along with those of S.A. “Red” Robertson, Chuck Bowman, Glen Wolfe and Dale Patterson.
“I would love for my teams at NEO to be recognized like their teams,” said Bigby, who was named head coach Friday. “They set the bar and it’s my responsibility to keep it going. They are the kind of guys you read about and teach about in your football classes.”
Bigby had served as interim head coach since Rob Green resigned in November.
“Donnie has been a part of the NEO tradition for eight years,” interim president Tom Poole said. “During that time, he has striven to uphold the college’s standards for excellence both on and off the field. We are proud to name him head coach of the Golden Norse football team.”
Bigby, previously the offensive line coach, becomes the 18th head coach at NEO dating back to 1919.
He came to NEO as a member of Patterson’s coaching staff and has produced nine all-Southwest Junior College Football Conference first team players and three National Junior College Athletic Association all-Americans.
A native of Owasso, Bigby played football and baseball while earning a bachelor of arts degree from Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa, in 1983.
After serving one year as offensive line coach at Wilburton High School and then Cleveland High School, Bigby spent three years as offensive line coach at Stroud High School.
Bigby served one year as offensive line coach at Chandler High School before becoming head football coach from 1989 to 1992 at Porter High School.
He served four years as assistant head coach and offensive line coach at Pawhuska High School before returning to Owasso from 1996 to 2000.
“As interim head coach, he’s done everything we needed to keep our program moving forward,” said Bob Walker, NEO’s vice president of student affairs. “It’s official now, so that will strengthen his position even more as he goes out to recruit.”
Green posted a 19-20 record in four seasons at NEO. NEO was 3-6 this past season, 2-5 in the conference, finishing sixth.
The Norse finished tied for second in the SWJCFC and were sixth nationally in Green’s first season (2004), but slipped.
Bigby will serve as offensive coordinator.
His No. 1 priority will be to hire a defensive coordinator. He also wants to add another defensive coach.
Mack Whitehead, Mike Passarella and Danny Schaechter were retained as assistant coaches.
Improving grades and restoring relations with high school coaches in Oklahoma are the top two priorities for Bigby.
He said a study hall has been re-established to help the student-athletes with classwork..
“We’re trying to mend fences,” Bigby said. “We’ve had to go to schools and knock on doors we haven’t knocked on for a long time. We have to win those people over.”
Bigby and his assistants hit the recruiting trail Friday, watching Union’s victory over Jenks in the Class 6A final at Stillwater. They also fanned out on Saturday for the 5A and 4A championship games.