Greater Tulsa Reporter
CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM: Regent Prep boys celebrate their area consolation championship in 2016.
Courtesy Regent Prep Athletic Department
One school that has risen to excellence in the athletic realm is Regent Preparatory School, a private Christian institution with high academic standards.
Regent, located at 8621 S. Memorial Dr. in Tulsa, has gained most of its athletic attention from its volleyball team, which won a state championship in 2014. But it has excelled as a competitive force in other sports as well.
The football team, which currently plays 8-man, was in the Class C playoffs this past year, and the boys basketball team is ranked eighth in Class A, as of Jan. 23. The Rams have also been forces in baseball, golf, tennis and cross country in recent years. Individually, they boast the state girls’ cross country champion the past two years in champion Ellie Gilbreath and a girls state champion tennis player in Grace Willis (No. 2 Singles in 2015; runner-up last year).
Regent Prep didn’t become the power it is overnight. It took years of building.
“The school is 17 years old. It started off by adding grade-by-grade, year-after-year,” says athletic director Kerwin Dees, who came to Regent in 2014, the same year the school joined the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association. “At some point, there was a decision to start athletics. It was not a member of the association.”
Dees is also head coach of the boys’ basketball team.
The foundation of Regent’s success in both academics and athletics can be found in its representation of Jesus Christ and the family culture.
“One of the really great things at Regent is the community we have of like-minded people who are committed to building a school,” Dees says. “We have families that have been there before there was a high school, before there was athletics and before we became affiliated with the OSSAA. As these families joined together up to 17 years ago, they put their children in these grades, started to try to build a school. Some of these families have stayed and continued to support the school because it is like family for them.
“The kids in our locker room, our fields and our playing courts, they are like family, they are like brothers and sisters,” Dees says. “It’s really a unique situation in our school. We rarely get a move-in to our school, so these are kids that have grown up through the grammar school, through the middle school and through the high school program, that are joined together with the like-mindedness of honoring Christ, growing in Christ, growing in all areas of their life, spiritually and academically, and together, they’re building a school and an athletic program.”
Two of the most notable alumni athletes of Regent Prep are Madeline Drake and Daniel Philpot, standouts respectively in volleyball and football, and both from the Class of 2015. Both athletes are now playing their respective sports at Northwestern State University of Louisiana and Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri.
“We do have tremendous support as far as our alumni coming back to games, coming back to support the Regent community,” Dees says. “Many of those alumni still have brothers and sisters in school and it is like a homecoming for them when they return.”
Dees said he hopes for the school to be viewed as a program best known for not just what it does but how it wins in every sport.
“It’s not just wins or losses, although we are striving for excellence and we are striving for success,” Dees says. “But it’s how we win with such togetherness, sportsmanship, class and lose with dignity. We have certainly have had great success there, but I think we’re trying to model that across our athletic program. My volleyball program has had tremendous success since the OSSAA with winning the state championship and having a runner-up. Our other sports compete in very difficult leagues as well. We’re a Class A school playing schools that are three or four times bigger than us. I believe our basketball program this year plays more larger schools than any other Class A program in the state.”