Oklahoma Sooners beat writer at Tulsa World

 — 2016 APSE Beat Writer of the Year (30-75k)

2017 APSE Top 10 Beat Writer (30-75k)

2016 Best College Features Journalist

Second Place, 2015 and 2016 Hearst National Writing Championship

First Place, 2016 Hearst Journalism Awards (Sports Writing and Best Reporting Technique)

Internships include: MLB.com (Chicago Cubs/White Sox and Texas Rangers), Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Oklahoman, Amarillo Globe-News


Bob Stoops rides away (Tulsa World)


“Maybe, many of those closest to him say, this homecoming was part of what Stoops wanted all along — to remember what it was like as one of four boys sharing a bedroom on Detroit Avenue, to relive the feelings that came on summer afternoons painting houses with Dad, to reclaim a small part of a simple life that got lost in the harsh lights of college football fame.

Maybe, it seems, a part of Bob Stoops just wanted to be Bobby.”


Chasing Billy Sims (Tulsa World)


“As an OU student, teammates would pay Sims to fix or soup-up their vehicles. As a teenager in Hooks, he dreamed of being an auto mechanic. On that porch with Hicks, Sims expressed dreams of having his own body shop.

‘We talked about that night after night,’ Hicks said.

Sims always had a fixation with these idyllic American symbols of freedom. He was captivated by great, powerful machines and how they run. He wanted to understand why they break and how they can be fixed.

I know nothing about cars, but considering this, I start to wonder if maybe Billy Sims and I are a lot alike.”


Out of the shadows (Tulsa World)


“In some ways, when you play football at Oklahoma, the identity is permanent. But for Tay Evans, ever since the fourth blow to the head, identity has turned into a work in progress.

It started in September. A promising linebacker, Evans suffered what he says was his fourth concussion in three years. A team physician told him it was in his best interest to give up football. Knowing the risks, already feeling the mood changes, not wanting to live the rest of his life with a damaged brain, he eventually agreed.

The months after have been both long and confusing, fast and revealing.  The bouts of depression have come and gone, come and gone. Finally, Evans is confronting that ugly question: What’s next?”


Twice arrested on domestic violence complaints, OU’s Dede Westbrook took a complicated route to stardom (Tulsa World)

*Third place, 2016 APSE Explanatory Writing, 30-75k

“Before his improbable rise from nowhere — before he won the Biletnikoff Award, became a finalist for college football’s most coveted trophy and constructed one of the best seasons in OU football history — Westbrook was twice arrested on family violence complaints, according to police reports and court documents obtained by the Tulsa World.

In 2012, Westbrook was accused of throwing the mother of two of his children to the ground. In 2013, Westbrook was accused of biting the same woman’s arm and punching her in the face with a closed fist.

OU began recruiting Westbrook in the fall of 2014, the semester immediately following Joe Mixon’s high-profile arrest for punching a woman in the face. Near that time, OU linebacker Frank Shannon and transfer receiver Dorial Green-Beckham had also been accused of violence against women.”


Criminal background checks remain a rarity despite issues in college sports (Tulsa World)

*Second place, 2017 APSE Explanatory Writing, 30-75k

Despite the potential flaws and changes in OU’s system, the university is in fact a national leader in due diligence. A recent study led by Northern Kentucky professor Stephanie Hughes shows only about 2 percent of college athletic departments run formal background checks on incoming athletes.

But as conferences institute legislation and public awareness over sexual assault and domestic violence continues to grow, other questions come about for schools across the country: What is due diligence? How much is enough? How can schools be more accountable?

“We have not yet found a perfect system,” Castiglione said.


The burdens of Trae Young (Tulsa World)



“The weekend of Trae Young’s high school graduation, his mother dropped him off at the airport, and so began the cycle of 10 months that would change everything.

Airports so often signify beginnings and endings like that, home to two of life’s greatest feelings. There’s promise and opportunity when you take off, then the familiar comfort of home when you land. Already, so much of Young’s life has been spent navigating those two sensations and the confusing air in between.”


In small-town Oklahoma, a bastion for global baseball dreams (Tulsa World)


“WARNER — They came on 16-hour flights, two-day drives, southbound Amtraks and short trips across the interstate. Some came with expensive pickup trucks, others with only a pair or two of jeans. They came to chase their dreams, and that means they came from Aruba and Puerto Rico and Ontario and even just Coweta to do what kids all over the world dream of doing.

They came to Connors State College to play baseball.”


As nationwide debate hits Tulsa, athletics and activism intersect (Tulsa World)

*Ninth place, 2016 APSE Explanatory Writing, 30-75k

“As the saga plays out, Tulsa is thrust into the forefront of an ongoing national debate and push for change.

And as national conversation about institutional racism spreads, it penetrates even the most sacred of our institutions: churches, streets, schools — and yes — our sports.

From that lens, the impact of such a movement is felt in ways big and small.”



And then there was a football game (O’Colly)

*First place, 2016 William Randolph Hearst Foundation sports writing awards

“There was a football game Saturday.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys beat the Kansas Jayhawks 58-10 at Boone Pickens Stadium on homecoming.

The game was not a monumental one. The 14th-ranked Cowboys are a good team but likely not great. The Jayhawks, now 0-7, are on track to be possibly the worst in Big 12 history.

It was not important. So let’s start over.


They turned and they heard screams. People, children, objects were in the air. Some said they heard tires screeching. Others claim there was no screech; that damn car kept going.

At least four people were killed and 44 more were injured Saturday at 10:31 a.m. when a Hyundai Elantra sped through a barrier set up for the annual Sea of Orange Parade at Hall of Fame and Main, police said …”


Langford coverForever Fighting (O’Colly)


*Fifth place, 2015 William Randolph Hearst Foundation profile writing awards

“It’s fascinating, the factors that shape a life. It starts with intangible genealogy. Environment. Socioeconomic status. Then we become citizens of our own experience — love and heartbreak, hopes and failures, a range of moments and memories good and bad that shape our inner psychology. It’s believed that a child’s first four years are the most important in terms of formation, yet anyone who has lived knows we never stop adapting. Maybe we don’t change, not the intangibles of who we are, but the way we act and react never stop transforming; our attitudes and beliefs, goals and priorities, in some cases the way in which we live.”


gundyMike Gundy, OSU and a culture of secrecy (O’Colly)


*Third place, 2015 William Randolph Hearst Foundation sports writing awards

*First place, multimedia storytelling, Oklahoma Collegiate Media Association

“THIS IS THE STORY it seems Mike Gundy wants.

It’s what he wanted seven years ago when his infamous postgame rant made him a YouTube sensation. Something wrong? Don’t write about the players. Write about him.

It’s still the story he wants in 2014. His Cowboys are 5-6, fighting for bowl eligibility, gearing up for a game against their hated rivals with a quarterback controversy in full effect.

Yet Gundy won’t talk with the media about the following things: personnel decisions, recruiting, injuries, the College Football Playoff, coaching changes, the Bedlam Rivalry and just about anything else.

By not talking about his own team, by hardly talking about football, Gundy has made himself the story.

It’s not the fact itself, but the reasoning behind it that is so curious. It ties in all too well with a prevailing narrative that has quietly but viciously consumed the public’s perception of Gundy.

Either you love Mike Gundy or you hate him.”



Charles Fowler holds on (O’Colly)


*First place, Feature Writing, Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists

“When the people left and the doors closed for the last time on the Sunday afternoon of Sept. 27, Fowler, his three grown children and their spouses embraced in the parking lot on 909 W. Sixth.

Karen Cryer, Fowler’s daughter, posed a question: What do we do now? How do you say an appropriate goodbye to the place that provided your livelihood for 45 years?

Fowler answered with a simple declaration: ‘I think I’m going to go visit Mom.’ He got in his van and drove to Fairlawn Cemetery, leaving one great loss to visit another.

There was a time Fowler thought about retiring, but that was before JoAnn, his wife of 50 years, died in 2010. After that, Cryer thought her father might keep Consumer’s forever. Now, he has no wife and no store.

‘It seems like a cruel trick,’ Cryer said.

Fowler is writing a second act in a town and world far different from the one he knew so well. For 45 years, he was Charles Fowler the grocer. And now?

‘I think he’s still trying to figure that out,’ Cryer said.”

For more stories, including work from The Oklahoman, Star Tribune and MLB.com, click here