Claremore Daily Progress


October 10, 2012

1975: Missouri Southern installs first AstroTurf field in Missouri

JOPLIN, Mo. — The project in the mid-1970s was to raise $300,000 to install artificial turf in Missouri Southern’s new football stadium.

Jim Frazier, the Missouri Southern football coach and an admitted “eternal optimist,” believed there would be no problem completing the task.

“There was no question we could do it,” Frazier said Tuesday afternoon. “We had a lot of support, a lot of interest, a lot of enthusiasm in the community and the area. We knew we could do it.”

A fund-raising drive officially launched on Oct. 4, 1974, but $2,500 already had been raised through Frazier’s public speaking.

“I spoke at Carthage, Neosho, Carl Junction, all the civic groups in town,” Frazier said. “Banquets, athletic banquets, that’s really how I got to know so many people in the area. I met a ton of people that year.”

“Jim Frazier probably sold 95 percent of the turf,” said Bob Higgins, chairman of the fund-raising drive committee. “What little we sold after he really initiated that campaign resulted in what I thought was a very successful ending.

“Leon Billingsly (school president) said we would meet some resistance because we would have the only AstroTurf field in Missouri at that time, but we really didn’t meet much resistance. The reception was really greater than I thought it would be. I didn’t hear a lot of negative responses or comments after the campaign got under way.

“This was a passion for Jim. He really wanted it. Leon Billingsly asked me to chair the committee because I was involved in the community (postmaster at Joplin Post Office) and not a part of the school. But Jim was the dynamics of that campaign.”

There were turf-purchasing plans for both individuals and corporations. The most popular plan was a yard-a-year —$33.75 per square yard for three years.

Text Only
  • DSC_0292web.jpg ‘All-State Sluggers’

    When Claremore’s Matt Whatley takes his place behind the plate tonight in the Oklahoma Coaches Association Large School East-West All-State baseball game, the former Zebra catcher will be right at home.
    Whatley, who started four years as the catcher for the Zebras, finds his final high school baseball game taking place in his future college ballpark.
    Last November, Whatley and his long-time friend, Bryce Howe, signed NCAA Division I baseball scholarships to play for the Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles.
    Tonight, those dreams come true for Whatley and Jenks outfielder Cadon Owens, who will be joining his former Bearcats teammate on the East squad. Also, Verdigris' Ryan Skalnik will start at third base for the Large East All-State team.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • FISHFRYweb.jpg Claremore QB Club holds Fish Fry Aug. 2

    The Claremore Zebra Quarterback Club will hold its annual Fish Fry fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Claremore High School cafeteria.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • GOLF: OSU's Jelly wins Oklahoma State Amateur

    Oklahoma State's Brendon Jelley captured the Oklahoma Golf Association State Amateur Championship on Wednesday with a 1-up victory over Preston Crawford at The Patriot Golf Club.

    July 29, 2014

  • OSU wrestling to host Alumni Reunion

    Oklahoma State wrestling will host an alumni reunion for former Cowboy wrestlers, trainers and managers on Sept. 19-20 in Stillwater.

    July 29, 2014

  • OU's Mixon claims self defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense.

    July 29, 2014

  • Sooners' secondary gets ready for changes

    There’s a reason Oklahoma is the preseason favorite to win the Big 12 Conference and a front-runner to get a spot in the first College Football Playoff.

    The experience – especially on defense – is the leading cause.

    July 29, 2014

  • SOFTBALL: Adair aiming high in 2014

    Adair's Lady Warriors have never shied away from the spotlight.

    Head coach Chell Looney's team will have plenty of chances to earn respect and a shot at the program's third straight regional tournament appearance.

    July 29, 2014

  • Cat Conti earns her stripes as football official

    Cat Conti never played sports, let alone had any interest in them, when she was growing up in Southern California. She wanted to be a Hollywood star.

    July 29, 2014

  • Fitzgerald: Union push unified Northwestern

    No matter how this season unfolds, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald insisted there is no more unified team than his Wildcats.

    For that, he credits the push for them to unionize.

    July 29, 2014

  • NFL: Make or break season for Rams QB Bradford

    It's become a rite of training camp for Sam Bradford.

    Every summer, he deals with the oversized burden of living up to getting picked first overall in 2010. The St. Louis Rams quarterback is not surprised that once again, he's supposedly at a career crossroads.

    July 29, 2014