ADA — The first annual Jerry and Murr Naylor Ada Junior High Track Meet was so-named after the highly-successful, state and national coaches halls of fame mentor, but also for his head assistant.
“They were a team, Murr and Jerry. Whether it was track, football, wrestling, basketball, it did not matter, she was coach, mom, our biggest fan,” Ada City Schools Athletic Director Mike Anderson said of the late Mary ‘Murr’ Naylor, Jerry’s wife of almost a half century.
“She was at every track meet. She was everybody’s mom. She cared about kids, all of us were members of the family,” added Chuck Roberts, ACS Native American director and a member along with Anderson of the aforementioned teams at AJH and Ada High in the ‘70s.
Roberts, a college track standout at Oklahoma State who would go on to carve out a name for himself in state track coaching circles with stints at Altus, Ada and others, remembers Murr’s ice chests. A connoisseur of foods fine and plentiful, Roberts recalled, “She always had something to eat and drink at the meets. Sandwiches, cookies, bananas. She had ice chests on a dolly back before ice chests had wheels.”
All through the ‘70s and into the ‘80s the Naylors won meet after meet at AJH and later at AHS. The 1979 state championship track trophy came under the Naylors’ watch.
Then it was on to the Ardmore area and Plainview, where Jerry Naylor’s cross country girls are now legendary with 12 state titles, including the latest one last fall, which made it four straight.
“As far as anyone knows she never missed a track meet that Jerry coached. She was always the loud one in the stands, hollering, cheering everyone on,” Roberts said. “She was a supporter of not just her team, but a strong supporter of all kids.
“When she was going through treatments for cancer, my own son, Michael, was running for Ada at a meet in Ardmore in 2006. She had two horses in the race, Michael and a kid from Ardmore. She cheered, “Go Michael! Go (Ardmore runner)! She died that summer.”
Jerry Naylor was out there April 6, 2010, at the meet bearing his and Murr’s names, still working with kids — junior high relays and long-distance girls in the main ... and anyone else who needed a tip.
“It is a honor to have this thing named after us. Lots of good, wonderful memories for us are here in Ada,” he said. “It is nice to still be well thought of after all these years.”
For the record, the seven-team meet with seventh- and eighth-grade girls and boys divisions awarded no team trophies, but saw unofficial point totals pointed to AJH winning both boys titles.
The Ada eighth boys had 190 team points to Plainview, 126; Durant, 80; Luther, 66; and Coalgate, 8.
The Ada seventh boys edged Durant 152-144 with Plainview third at 102. Byng had 32 and Coalgate 20.
In the girls races, the eighth graders were paced by Durant, 160; Luther, 156; Plainview 148; and Ada, 76; and the seventh by Plainview 202; Durant, 168; Byng, 61; Ada, 41; and Coalgate, 20.