ADA — Current Byng Athletic Director Bruce Punk and former Roff Athletic Director George ‘Bubba’ Tidwell were among those chosen to be a part of the 2010 Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductees.
Plunk, who has spent the last 17 years at Byng High School, was the Lady Pirates basketball coach during his first 11 years at the school. During that time, he guided Byng to five state-tournament appearances.
“It’s always an honor to be selected by your peers — people who have watched you coach and done the job themselves. It’s a great honor,” Plunk said.
Plunk and Tidwell join a sizable list of other coaches with area ties already a part of the OGBCA Hall of Fame. Some of those names include: Bertha Frank Teague (Byng), Omega Johnson (a close friend of Teague’s who helped the Bertha Frank Teague Mid-America Classic flourish for years), Kenneth Murphy (Stonewall), Eldon Flinn (McLish), Bill Johnson (Ada, Latta), Jeff Maloy (Ada), Shelby Morgan (Latta), Burl Plunkett (Byng), Rick Johnston (Konawa and Jimmy Freeman (Vanoss).
“This area has had such great girls basketball and you can see it from that list. I had the opportunity to know a lot of those people and learn from them,” Plunk said.
Plunk started his girls basketball career at Olney and after two years there, moved to Quinton where he guided the Lady Savages to the state tournament in 1991. It was the first athletic team of any kind to earn a trip to state.
Plunk actually got his first taste of girls basketball at East Central University.
“My first experience with girls basketball was at East Central’s camp, helping coach Flinn (the ECU women’s coach at the time) during the summer, and it went on from there,” he said.
One of his most memorable seasons was his first year at Byng in 1994. The Lady Pirates struggled to an 11-14 regular season record but turned things around in the playoffs.
“There’s no way you can get around what happened during my first year at Byng,” he recalled. “We were 11-14 to start the playoffs and not expected to go anywhere. We got better as the year went on and everything came together.”
Byng defeated a high-powered Atoka squad in the regionals, knocked off Heavener in the area title game and defeated Deer Creek and highly-regarded Elk City in the first round and semifinals of the Class 3A State Tournament. The Lady Pirates Cinderella run ended when Cushing defeated Byng in the championship game.
“It was a great run,” Plunk said. “But they’re all special. I’ve had the opportunity in my career to work beside some of the best coaches. I credit my players and the coaches around me for the success I’ve had.”
Plunk went on to take Byng to the state tournament in 1995, 1998, 1999 and 2002.
As athletic director, Plunk says he enjoys overseeing the many athletic events Byng is involved in — and especially likes to watch his son Clay Plunk coach junior high sports. But the elder Plunk said he won’t totally rule out a return to coaching.
“I’m having a blast doing what I’m doing. I love my job,” he said. “There are things about coaching I miss — especially the interaction with the kids. But I enjoy what I do and I get to see a lot. What the future holds, no one knows. I wouldn’t close the door on anything at this point.”
Tidwell also has an impressive coaching resumé. During his 23-year coaching career, he coached a combined 29 teams (both girls and boys).
During stops at Pernell, Carnegie, Velma-Alma, Macomb, Maud and Roff, Tidwell’s girls basketball squad compiled and impressive overall record of 221 wins and 101 losses.
Tidwell’s Pernell girls advanced to the state semifinals in 1974 and he led the Macomb girls to the state tournament in 1986.
He spend many years on the OGBCA Board of Directors and was the OGBCA All-State Coach in 1986.
Tidwell is related to OGBCA charter member Sam Taylor and began attending All-State games in 1964. He attended his first OGBCA All-State game as a coach and never missed one from that point through 1986 and has attended several since.
He spend 13 years as athletic director at Roff before his recent retirement.
Tidwell has two sons in the coaching profession. Chase Tidwell is an assistant baseball coach at New Mexico State University while Trent Tidwell is the boys basketball coach at Stuart High School.