Oklahoma Life of An Athlete is a free program offered through the Whitten-Newman Foundation and FATE (Fighting Addict ion Through Education). OKLOA includes both dynamic online training about the impact of alcohol and other drugs on athletic performance, as well as live presentations. OKLOA has been endorsed by The Oklahoma Athletic Trainers Association, The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Association, The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, The Jim Thorpe Association and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. East Central University was the first college in the state to put all their student-athletes through on-line tutorials that educated them on the negative impact of drugs and alcohol on athletic performance. In addition, through the partnership with the Brandon Whitten institute this program has also been promoted locally to area high schools and athletic programs.
For the past three years during the school year, four athletes Monday – Thursday from the various sports go to the local boy’s and girl’s club to mentor and act as role models to the children in the club’s after school program. Each year is culminated with an all day service project on their property. Cleaning up the fields, painting, and of course playing with the kids are just some of the activities that take place.
Boys and Girls Club Pictures
In November, East Central’s FCA which is run by State Representative Todd Thomsen in conjunction with the ECU Athletic Department SAAC set up an event whereby 100 needy families in Ada could receive a Thanksgiving meal for the holidays. Money for the food was raised by the athletes and purchased from the local food bank. During the night local kids meet and get autographs from ECU athletes and allow the families to become familiar with the sports teams.
The Ada Youth Football League just completed another season with eight games for youth in grades three through six that were played at ECU’s Norris Field in September and October and plans are for all games to be played at the home of the Tigers in the future.
“We’re looking to expand the opportunities of the youth in regards to football,” said ECU Athletic Director Brian DeAngelis. “We look forward to expanding opportunities for the future of the community and East Central students.”
Jeff Williams, chair of ECU’s Kinesiology Department and also an officer with the Ada Youth Football League, says that not only do the Ada area youth benefit from this experience, but so do ECU students.
“It expands the opportunities of East Central students who can become a part of the league in various ways like coaching, officiating, game management and athletic training,” said Williams.
ECU Night at McDonald's
For the past two years ECU Athletics has held a special event at the local McDonald’s that serves as part community engagement activity and pep rally for the football team. ECU athletes sign autographs and play with the children in the community. During the pep rally the band plays, the cheerleaders cheer, and special contests are held. This is a great community event that allows local kids to come out and see our athletes and at the same time helps support the charitable efforts of McDonalds.
This past October, East Central’s volleyball team asked fans to pledge money based on digs during a fall match. The team raised nearly $700 during the match and along with other pledges made a significant donation to the American Cancer Society in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
ECU’s cross country team participated in the Salvation Army’s bell ringers program around the city of Ada. They took time out of their holiday schedule to try to raise money for the Salvation Army. Groups of 2 were sent out in shifts around the community (I.e. Wal-mart) leading up to final exam week.
Golden Tiger Brunch
ECU’s women’s soccer team participated in the Golden Tiger Brunch. This brunch is held during homecoming weekend and recognizes those alumni who are 50 years removed from graduating. They helped out by being greeters, servers and clean up after the event.
Meet the Tigers
Annually the athletes of ECU conduct an event called “Meet the Tigers Night” at Lazer Zone family fun center here in Ada. Local kids have the ability to play the numerous games (bowling, lazer tag, mini golf, etc.) with ECU athletes and enjoy pizza and soft drinks. ECU athletes sign autographs and give away tiny basketballs and footballs to the children in attendance and speak to them about the importance of staying in school.
Members of ECU Athletics recently helped with the St. Joseph Smorgasbord Dinner at a local Catholic church in Ada. Members acted as servers and cooks during the day’s festivities. Proceeds go to the support the church youth group
East Central’s volleyball team helped with the bowling portion of the Special Olympic Games in Norman, Oklahoma. Each member of the team was assigned a lane to encourage the athletes, make announcements on special achievements, and track the scores.
Women's Basketball-Special Olympics
Women’s basketball player Ashley Robinson is shown with one of the participants in the community engagement activity with the Special Olympics that was sponsored by the Great American Conference during the recent GAC Women’s Basketball tournament in Bartlesville, OK.
Baseball at Wintersmith Park
The baseball team annually assists the parks and recreation department in installing all the Christmas lights at Wintersmith Park during a Saturday morning in November. These lights are displayed for the community through New Year’s Day.