In 1891, young men in copper-toed farm boots scoured the lush folds of buffalo grass from the prairie to outline impromptu playing fields. From early pickup games arose a broad-based athletic program that would send OSU soaring to national prominence in the decades ahead, claiming undreamed of football bowl games and national championships in wrestling, basketball, baseball, golf and cross country. When you enter Heritage Hall, you are immediately caught up visually in this early history - from photos to actual basketball bloomers! From Frank Eaton's rifle to the Bedlam trophy. From moments of famous visitors to a plastic football with Garth Brooks' autograph.
But Heritage Hall is more than a repository of mementos. It is the living, breathing spirit of OSU. And, not unlike the way the university came into being, Heritage Hall began with someone saying "How can I help?" Alumnae Kay Norris asked Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips that question in 1998 as Gallagher-Iba Arena was undergoing expansion and renovation. Moving quickly, Phillips introduced Norris to the architects to orient her to plans for the hall. Likewise, Norris lost no time putting together a committee of university communications staff and a student intern.
Norris is one of OSU's biggest - and most knowledgeable - fans. Her support has been lifelong. Ask her any question about OSU sports and an answer will be forthcoming, with accompanying background information and key details. Her memory is faultless. She was the perfect person to put together the framework for what would become the biggest scavenger hunt in OSU's history.
Welcome to Orange Country
The history of Oklahoma State University
Athletics is proudly on display inside Heritage Hall. Opened in November
2001, Heritage Hall contains trophies, memorabilia, and other
items spanning several decades of OSU's treasured past.
A call went out: "Wanted: OSU memorabilia." And, as usual, OSU alumni and friends answered the call. Soon athletic uniforms, pennants, programs, ticket stubs, clippings, trophies, championship rings, letter jackets, drum major hats, homecoming tiaras, priceless photos and much more made their way to Norris, who catalogued and stored these prizes.
Norris's quest for an outstanding museum that would allow OSU fans to revel in the many components of the university's athletic and general history led her to personally oversee the placement of each treasure once the space was ready. She and dedicated staff and volunteers worked tirelessly - even through the night - to be ready for the November 2001 opening of Heritage Hall. They made the deadline. They put the "heritage" in Heritage Hall.
Today visitors can easily move through the years, 1890 to the present, checking out national championships, conference champions, academic All-Americans, Olympians, the Hall of Honor, the early years, the development of the campus and many moments and memories.
Plan to visit Heritage Hall often because it's hard to absorb it all in just one
visit. Heritage Hall is open from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. For tours or
additional information, please call Debbie McCarthy at (405) 744-3188.
Swiggart, Barbara. "Always a Heritage - Now a Hall!" OSU Magazine, vol. 72, no. 4, pg. 10.