Don Sumner of Saint Gregory’s University in Shawnee brought his one-of-a-kind sense of basketball humor to one of the most eagerly awaited Tulsa Sports Charities monthly luncheons in 2012.
Sumner is an Oklahoma coaching legend and a Saint Gregory’s treasure.
Sumner spent more than half his life with Saint Gregory’s, 36 years in fact.
He was basketball coach, football coach, director of athletics, fundraiser, classroom teacher.
He was, in effect, Saint Gregory’s.
Partly as a result of his Saint Gregory’s connection, he is the most recognized citizen of Shawnee.
Sumner was born in Shawnee, reared in Shawnee, lionized in Shawnee.
He was a high school sports star in Shawnee.
He was a collegiate sports star in Shawnee.
He was he a coaching star in Shawnee.
His name still appears in the basketball record books at Oklahoma Baptist in Shawnee, where he is enshrined in the OBU Sports Hall of Fame as a player.
After winning 621 games as a basketball coach, he was inducted in the Saint Gregory’s Sports Hall of Fame.
He was in the first induction class of the Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Now retired, Sumner revisited some old acquaintances and brought out some old stories during his visit to Tulsa.
One example of the latter came during a Saint Gregory’s game against Bacone, when both were junior colleges.
Sumner was having a difficult time agreeing with the two officials on the floor. One of the officials was the Hall of Famer Bud Brown of Tulsa.
“I was on ol’ Bud to call it at both ends,” Sumner remembered.
“One time during the game, he walked across the floor, came up to me and said, ‘I can’t, because I’m only on one end at a time.’
“Later in the game,” Sumner continued, “I hollered to get them (Bacone players) out of the lane. I told them to call three seconds.
“We fouled someone. Bud gave the ball to the shooter and walked over to me. I told him, ‘I bet you can keep them out of the lane and call three seconds sometime before the game is over.’
“I just knew I was going to get a T. He said, ‘How much do you want to bet?’
Sumner replied, “I’ll bet you a dollar.”
“The game went on, and Bud still hadn’t called three seconds,” Sumner said. “Finally, the game got over, and I pulled a dollar out of my wallet and was getting ready to hand it to him.
“Bud said, ‘Keep it. I’ve got you again Monday night at Eastern, and I’ll bet you double or nothing.’”
Similar luncheons are scheduled monthly by Tulsa Sports Charities. For scheduled events, continue to visit this site.
For information on upcoming events, telephone Tommy Thompson, 918-645-4905.