MIAMI — It was a memorable weekend for the Owens family.
On Friday, Nov. 2, a statue honoring “Wardog Legend” Steve Owens was unveiled in the Honors Plaza at the Miami Multi-Purpose Sports Complex at Red Robertson Field.
Then less than 24 hours later, Tinker Owens became the 11th member of the Coleman Theatre’s “Wall of Fame.”
Ironically, Tinker Owens’ number was 11.
Friday’s ceremony resembled an OU pep rally, complete with “Boomer Sooner” performed by the Miami High School marching band, directed by Toye Harris.
Legendary coach Barry Switzer, 1978 Heisman winner Billy Sims and longtime friend and teammate Mike Harper each spun yarns about Steve Owens leading up to the unveiling of the Nick Calcagno-designed statue.
Former Sooner coach Bob Stoops, 2003 Heisman winner Jason White, Joe Castiglione (who succeeded Steve Owens as OU’s athletic director in 1998), senior associate athletic director Zac Selmon and Owens family members were part of a big crowd that was seated and ringed the plaza, located in the south end zone of Robertson Field.
The brothers have previously been honored by the City of Miami by having streets named in their honor. There also is a billboard just across from the gate of the Will Rogers Turnpike that touts Miami as the home of Steve Owens.
“Thank you so much … it’s great to be home,” said Steve Owens, who donated a replica of his Heisman to MHS because “all of the wonderful people here at the high school have done so much for us.”
“We want to thank everybody,” said Barbara Owens, who has a plaque similar to the one that honors her husband on the base of the statue. “These people here are the most special. They are the sweetest, nicest people in the world. I want everyone here to know that Steve and I literally love not only our home town, but we love being Boomer Sooners!”
Steve Owens and Harper first met as rivals during a close game at Jenks in 1964 that was eventually won by the Trojans, 20-16.
“We had first-and-goal on the 6-yard line. I carried the ball four straight times and this guy named Mike Harper stops me four straight times. That’s when we first met,” Steve said.
“Besides the three great years that Steve and I played together, the biggest thrill was when he asked me to go to New York with him for the Heisman presentation,” an emotional Harper said. “That was something I'll always remember. That was one of the greatest experiences of my life.”
“It’s just been a super weekend,” said Tinker Owens, who became the 11th person added to the “Wall of Fame.”
Ironically his number as a player was 11.
“It’s a nice honor for me obviously, but I am honored for the whole Owens family, the things that Steve has accomplished, the things I have accomplished, that Jimbo has accomplished — all of our family,” Tinker Owens said.
“Like Steve said, we were successful, but it wasn’t all in athletics. Athletics was the stepping stone for us, businesswise.”
He joins his brother, Charles Banks Wilson, David Froman, Steve and Cassie Gaines, Moscelynn Larkin, Dr. Nick Calcagno, David Osborne, Bill Hudson Hastings and Carol Littleton.
Both Owens brothers excelled in multiple sports at MHS before moving on to the University of Oklahoma and then the NFL — Steve with the Lions and Tinker with the Saints.
Tinker accomplished one thing that Steve didn’t — he was a member of the Wardogs’ state championship basketball team.
“We weren’t the most talented team, but we played best as a team that year,” said Tinker Owens, who was called the better of the two athletes by Switzer. “To go undefeated that year and to win a state championship for Miami was special. We just had a bunch of hard working guys that gave 100 percent effort in every game and every second you were on the court.
“We played a much more talented team in Oklahoma City Northeast in the state finals and beat them by nine points. Nobody predicted that.”