Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

June 26, 2012

Former Checotah Hall of Fame coach passes away

CHECOTAH — Leon Dixon, whose basketball coaching career spanned 24 years with stops at Stidham, Bixby and Stigler before joining his brother Truman at Checotah, died suddenly Monday. He was 76.

“I talked to him this morning and he had a severe headache,” Truman Dixon said by phone early Monday evening. Leon Dixon had been taken to St. John’s earlier in the day, he said.

“When he went, he didn’t suffer at all.”

Both brothers were members of the OBCA Hall of Fame. Leon Dixon coached former NFL and college football coach Butch Davis at Bixby. At Checotah, he coached former University of Tulsa football standout and Detroit Lions player Tracy Scroggins.

Ray Grandstaff, the head football coach at Muskogee from 1974 to 1978, left there on the heels of two successful seasons to coach at Checotah and said he developed a bond with both brothers.

“When I was head coach at Muskogee we were 19-1 over a two-year period and people would ask me, ‘why would you leave that and go to Checotah?’ The three of us had a camaraderie that was very special and it didn’t exist at Muskogee near the end of my time there. I wanted more than that on the field. Leon and Truman brought that to the table.

“We coached each other’s kids. We had a close feeling amongst us and I’m just in a state of shock.”

The three are believed to be the only members of the Oklahoma Coaches Association Hall of Fame that coached together at the same school at the same time. Leon Dixon was inducted in 2004, eight years after both his brother and Grandstaff.

Both Dixons are also members of the Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Their other brother Junior, who was inducted into the Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1986, previously died in 2008. He coached football and basketball from 1963-1978 and later became superintendent there.

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