Oklahoma City University | In Memory - Fall 2022 Skip to content

In Memory - Fall 2022

Denney Crabaugh

Aug. 8, 1957 – July 13, 2022

Oklahoma City University mourns the loss of Denney Crabaugh, head baseball coach. Crabaugh died in his home after a prolonged battle with cancer.

Crabaugh, 64, had been OCU head coach for 34 years and built the winningest college baseball program in the nation since 1991. He directed Oklahoma City to a 1,601-493-2 record, collecting victory No. 1,600 in 7-5 win over Kansas Wesleyan on May 16 at Jim Wade Stadium in the NAIA Championship Opening Round Oklahoma City Bracket. Crabaugh led OCU to 14 NAIA World Series appearances, 14 50-win seasons, four trips to the national title game and the 2005 national championship.

“Denney Crabaugh brought out the best in so many people, including me,” said Jim Abbott, who retired at the end of 2021 as Oklahoma City director of athletics. “I spent 23 years working with Denney in the OCU athletics department, and he set the example for work ethic, preparedness, sportsmanship and so many other incredible attributes.

“Denney had an unmatched competitive fire, but remained grounded in his responsibility to help build young men as more than just baseball players. I join the Crabaugh family and OCU family in mourning his loss, but I’m so grateful to have experienced his impact on my life and so many other lives firsthand. Denney’s legacy will live on through those of us who were so fortunate to have him in our lives.”

OCU President Kenneth Evans said that while Crabaugh was an icon of college baseball, his impact extended well beyond the diamond.

“With more than 1,600 wins, more than a dozen World Series trips and an NAIA national championship, Denney Crabaugh’s legacy as OCU’s greatest baseball coach is without question,” Evans said. “While we celebrate that legacy, we recognize his impact off the field of play, as well. Denney coached more than 80 NAIA scholar-athletes and more than 20 academic all-Americans during his time at OCU. His presence between the lines and in the lives of his student-athletes will be greatly missed.”

Corey Bray, OCU director of athletics, said, “This is a very sad time for Oklahoma City University, the athletics department and the OCU baseball program. Denney bled OCU blue and white; and it showed in his passion for the university, his program and, most especially, for his student-athletes. While Denney’s accomplishments on the OCU baseball field are numerous and very noteworthy, the core of Denney’s legacy will live on through the alumni of his program as they live out their lives as outstanding spouses, fathers, community members and contributors to their chosen career field.”

Crabaugh followed his father Duane into coaching baseball, saying that he was hooked into the sport by growing up around coaches and listening to the Xs and Os of the game. He said he always admired the impact coaches had on his life, and wanted to be in a position to impact young men as a coach himself.

Crabaugh coached 92 all-Americans, 150 future professionals, 71 Major League Baseball draftees, 83 NAIA scholar-athletes, 21 CoSIDA academic all-Americans and eight national player of the year award winners. Five OCU alumni coached by Crabaugh reached the major leagues, including 2006 National League batting champion Freddy Sanchez.

Crabaugh’s association with the university dated back to when he joined Charley Lodes’ coaching staff as pitching coach for the 1987 season. When he became OCU head coach for the 1989 season, he hired Keith Lytle as OCU hitting coach.

“I truly believe Denney’s greatest accomplishment is the impact he has had on the lives of our players and us as coaches,” Lytle said. “They’ve become college coaches. They’re police officers. They’re doing great and wonderful things out there in the world. His tough love method of being able to look at players – and coaches, too, for that matter – and not accept them for what they are but show them what they’re capable of being, I think is awesome.”

Crabaugh became a four-time hall of famer, gaining recognition from OCU Athletics, the Oklahoma Baseball Coaches Association, the NAIA and the American Baseball Coaches Association. He guided the 2004 Stars to a 73-7 record to set the NAIA single-season record for wins. OCU won 14 conference regular-season championships, 13 league tournament crowns, one district title, five regional crowns, three area titles and six NAIA Championship Opening Round titles. Crabaugh’s win total ranks third all-time in NAIA baseball history. OCU owns 1,535 wins since 1991 to lead the country during that time.

Crabaugh began his coaching career as a graduate assistant and pitching coach at Southeastern Oklahoma State under Mike Metheny. He had been head coach at Ada High School and an assistant at Ardmore High School in Oklahoma prior to arriving at OCU.

The Del City native is survived by his wife, Sue, and four children – Kaylee, Mindy, Cody and Amy. All four children attended OCU. Mindy reeled in all-American honors competing for OCU softball, and Cody took all-American acclaim playing baseball for his father. Amy contributed to OCU winning the softball national title in 2022.

Gary Gardner

March 6, 1937 – May 18, 2022

Dr. Gary Gardner was born in Lawton on March 6, 1937, and departed this life in Lawton on May 18, 2022, at 85 years old.

While Gary was a basketball player for Oklahoma City University, he was chosen to be the model for the “Eternal Challenge” bronze statue by Leonard D. McMurry. The statue resides in the middle of campus.

Gary met Judith Randolph at OCU in 1958. He was dating Judith and asked her to be a model with him. Over the years of their marriage, they reflected on the statue and brought their kids to see the statue, which they called “Love in Bronze.”

He grew up in Walters and attended Walters High School. At OCU, Gary was member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and was on the basketball team and golf team.

Gary married Judith on Aug. 3, 1958, at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City. He went on to attend the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry from 1959-62. After graduation from dental school, Gary began working with the Oklahoma Department of Health and served in the U.S. Army Reserves. He served as a research assistant to Dr. James Andrews, who was a great influence on Gary throughout his life.

Dr. Gardner started his dental practice in Lawton and loved his profession from 1963 to 2007. One year after retirement, Gary took over an established prosthetics dental practice limited to full dentures and partial dentures from 2008 to 2011.

Gary was a member of Centenary United Methodist Church and served as a board chairperson. He was elected president of the Oklahoma Dental Association in 1976, and was a life member of the Oklahoma Dental Association, the Internal College of Dentists, the American College of Dentists and the Pierre Fauchard Academy. He also was a board member of the Southwest Opera Guild, member of Arts for All, Community Theatre and Lawton Country Club. At age 31 he was introduced to Dr. Kenneth Cooper of Cooper Clinic in Dallas and began running half-marathons and 10Ks for the next 40 years. He had a passion for running because he wanted to beat the odds since his dad passed away from heart failure.

In 1990, Gary started sculpting clay to create life-sized bronze sculptures, eventually creating five works of art. Some of his favorites were “General Lawton” in front of McMahon Memorial Auditorium in Lawton, “Buffalo Soldier” on Gore Boulevard in Lawton, “Field Artilleryman” at Fort Sill Military Base and “Dr. Pierre Fauchard, Father of Dentistry” in front of the Oklahoma Dental Association in Oklahoma City.

Phillip Haskel Warford

Nov. 8, 1945 – Aug. 15, 2022

Phillip Haskel Warford was born on Nov. 8, 1945, on a farm south of Wilburton, Oklahoma, and passed away on Aug. 15, 2022.

Phil was a longtime public address announcer for Oklahoma City University athletics, announcing at various events for 45 years. Coaches, fans and student-athletes became accustomed to the basso profundo voice of Phil echoing through the stands at Abe Lemons Arena, Frederickson Fieldhouse and Ann Lacy Stadium.

In addition, Warford became the regular announcer at the All-College Basketball Tournament in which OCU often competed. Warford regularly offered the PA at Moore High School Athletics events and high school state track & field meets for nearly 50 years.

Phil graduated from Wilburton High School in 1963 where he played football, basketball and baseball. He went to Eastern State College in his hometown for his first two years of college and then transferred to Northeastern in 1965, graduating in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. There, he met the love of his life, Linda Buchanan. They celebrated their 56th anniversary earlier this year.

The two taught at schools around the state, including Allewe, Hominy and Moore. Phil’s sports announcing began while he was teaching at Central Junior High. The athletic director asked if he would announce the lineups of the boys’ basketball team. Those lineups were the beginning of a 48-year career as a public address announcer. He gained recognition statewide and beyond.

Phil also loved teaching and was very proud of his profession. He taught for 31 years in Moore Public Schools, touching the lives of hundreds of students over a couple of generations.

After retiring from teaching, Phil furthered his career by joining The Oklahoman newspaper as the building manager. He left that work in 2008 due to heart disease. After recovering from his heart issues, he spent his time playing golf and returned to his love of announcing sports. He announced his last Moore High School football and basketball games in the fall of 2021, and retired from his work with OCU in December 2021.

Richard Sias

Oct. 13, 1927 – July 28, 2022

Oilman, philanthropist, vintner and music lover Richard L. “Dick” Sias, age 94, died July 28, 2022. He was predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Jeannette Joullian Sias.

Through his generous contributions of time, money and leadership, he helped to sustain and improve the status of the fine arts and education in Oklahoma and Kansas, including Oklahoma City University. His myriad interests included the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra, the University of Kansas, OCU, opera, art, dance, cuisine, enology and many other programs and causes.

A native of Fredonia, Kansas, Sias served two years in the U.S. Army and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Romance languages at the University of Kansas, a master’s degree in Spanish literature from the National University of Mexico, and a J.D. at the University of Kansas School of Law in 1954. Upon graduation from law school, he joined Continental Oil Company. He later served as vice president of exploration at An-Son Corporation before becoming vice-chairman and chairman emeritus of Mustang Fuel Corporation in Oklahoma City.

Upon retirement in 1991, he operated Bint Development LLC and Joullian Vineyards of Carmel Valley, California. His family foundation, Ad Astra, has benefited numerous organizations. He was president of the Oklahoma City Association of Petroleum Landmen and a director of the American Association of Petroleum Landmen. He served on the board of directors of First Interstate Bank, Oklahoma City. He also served as a trustee of the American Symphony Orchestra League; National Symphony Orchestra, Washington, D.C.; Oklahoma City Community Foundation; Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs; Casady School; Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra; Oklahoma City Philharmonic Foundation; Civic Center Cultural Trust; Oklahoma City Museum of Art; and others.

Sias was a member of the Nichols Hills United Methodist Church, Fortune Club, Petroleum Club, Beacon Club, Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club, Chaine des Rotisseurs and L’Ordre Mondial.

His honors include induction in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma City University Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor and Servant Leader Award, the Business in the Arts Award from the Oklahoma State Arts Council, Friday Newspaper's OKC Cityan of the Year, and the E.C. Joullian Distinguished Citizen Award of the Last Frontier Council of the Boy Scouts. Both Dick and Jeannette were honored as “Living Treasures” by the Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, the Oklahoma Jewish Federation and the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society.

Keith Dwain Magill

July 31, 1982 – July 1, 2022

Keith Magill not only earned two degrees from Oklahoma City University (BA Political Science ’04, JD ’08), but he also taught political science as an adjunct professor as a way of giving back to his alma mater.

Friends recalled that he never missed an opportunity to celebrate others, and they remembered him as loyal, dependable, and compassionate, caring deeply about his nieces and nephew, as well as many honorary nieces and nephews. He laughed loudly and enjoyed life fully.

He played percussion for Edmond Santa Fe High School band and graduated in 2000. Following OCU, he joined the law firm that his father, Jerry Magill (BS ’94, JD ’98), started in 1999 and nurtured its growth, taking over and building up the team.

He was an advocate, volunteer, and board member for the Oklahoma March of Dimes for more than a decade, served on the Metro Tech board, and was involved with many networking groups. He was a longtime Oklahoma City Thunder fan and nurtured many family relationships and friendships over basketball.

Our Condolences


Robert N. Thompson ’47

Christine M. Stathis ’49


Tom Deplois ’50

John D. McRee ’50

Emerson C. Gillett ’51

Forrest D. James ’51

Robert W. Schmidt ’52

Jo Kimmel ’53

Lavonne M. Buis ’55

James Shadid ’55

V. C. C. Davidson ’55

Jack E. Fairbairn ’56

Thomas J. Minter ’56

Ruth D. Stover ’57

Jayne B. Wardwell ’58

Robert L. Burns ’58

Gary Gardner ’59


Albert R. Linholm ’60

Larry A. Pendleton ’60

Minnie M. Flowers ’61

Edward N. Spence ’61

Thomas R. Williams ’61

James L. Gullett ’61

Inez E. Heusel ’62

Virgil G. Vaughn ’62

Neena Haddad ’62

Jerry D. Mullins ’62

Charles E. Jacob ’63

Robert M. Neuffer ’64

Stuart W. Santee ’64

Jerry D. Sanders ’65

Enoch Kelly Haney ’65

Jeannette W. Pritchard ’65

Lee E. Fleming ’66

David S. Eldridge ’67

Robert R. Blackwell ’67

Paul L. Nickens ’67

H. Thomas Moran ’68

Myrtle L. Edmond ’68

Rozanne M. Reynolds ’68

Edmund C. Root ’68

John D. Grice ’69

Kenneth W. Thomson ’69


Wayne C. Rasch ’70

John C. Hill ’70

Jack F. Livesay ’70

Henry Trattner ’70

Thomas G. Warriner ’71

Sara H. Caskey ’71

Walter J. Barnes ’72

James R. Cobb ’72

Robert McHeffey ’72

Rhonda C. Freeman ’72

James M. Godwin ’73

Darrell C. Brown ’73

John W. Higgins ’73

Thomas Donnelly ’74

Arthur E. McIntyre ’74

Jeanne Hoffman Smith ’74

James W. Berry ’75

Hollis G. Harper ’75

James R. Nutt ’75

Jo A. Bennett ’75

Dennis P. Kruse ’75

Henry R. McMillan ’75

Robert L. Evans ’75

Gregory P. Sense ’75

Ronald Ivey ’76

Jimmy D. Stewart ’77

Barbara C. York ’77

Kenneth L. Rinehart ’77

Robert Ayala ’77

Garold L. Spencer ’77

Teresa A. Rendon ’78

Beverly A. Morawski ’79

Edwin W. Robey ’79

Billy R. Vetter ’79


Jean A. Whiteman ’80

Frank K. Berfield ’80

Raymond E. McCartney ’81

George E. Crotts ’81

Clayburn C. Curtis ’81

Barbara Sayre ’82

James T. Dupre ’82

Gary H. Gerlitz ’83

Dang M. Nguyen ’84

Raymond Nauni ’84

Sandra Robbins ’85

William J. Rinehart ’85

Helen D. Murphey ’86

Michael G. Cluck ’86

Christopher M. Smith '88

James D. Bulger ’88

David A. Petrey ’88

Grady L. Rainbow ’88

Bea E. Blackshire ’89

Claude E. Woodson ’89

Thomas A. Massey ’89

Rocco A. Martin ’89

Larry R. Goins ’89

Julia A. Shepherd ’89


Christy L. Esterline ’90

David B. Hickens ’90

Mary C. Coulson ’91

Linda L. Hill ’91

Steven W. Kelly ’91

Donald D. Peterson ’91

Ronald D. Metzner ’91

Pauline B. Harjo ’92

Darlene Medrick ’92

Gregory A. Wade ’93

Frank McKevitt ’94

Maethell Smith ’95

Marvin L. Mitchell ’97

Troy N. Rainbolt ’97

Jacqueline A. Dawson ’99


Harold H. Goodman ’00

Judith K. Sell ’00

Reubin H. Turner ’02

Nelda G. Hobbs ’03

Keith Magill ’04

Lyndel T. Harris ’07


Bridget N. Poputa-Clean ’11

Lore E. Silkey ’12

Douglas M. Garretson ’13

David M. Hammer ’14

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