Brad Calip Joins Owasso Football Coaching Staff as Assistant to Head Coach Blankenship
By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
When Owasso begins defense of its Class 6AI state championship, a familiar name will be on its sideline.
Brad Calip has joined the Rams as the assistant coach to Head Coach Bill Blankenship. Calip had been thehead coach at Booker T. Washington the past four seasons and led the Hornets to the Class 6AII title in 2017. Before that, he coached as an assistant at Jenks for seven seasons. Calip was also a head coach for one season at Bishop Kelley in 2004. He started his coaching career as an assistant at Ada in 1998. So he has apprenticed under coaching legends Larry McBroom, Allen Trimble and now joins Blankenship.
“It don’t get any better than that. Those three guys,” said a happy Calip, who was also on staff at the University of Tulsa after his one season as the Kelley coach.
“I consider Brad a ‘homerun hire,’” Blankenship said. “He brings so much experience to the table. His passion and commitment to young people is exciting to be around.”
And you can bet Calip looks forward to it too.
“It’s a good move for me to work for a high-caliber coach,” he said.
Blankenship has led the Rams to Class 6AI state titles twice in the past three seasons. One was this past season, the other in his first season at the helm in 2017, the same year Calip coached BTW to the 6AII championship. Blankenship also coached Union to three state titles in the 2000s and led Fayetteville to the Arkansas Class 7A title in 2016.
Both men have known each other for quite some time, Calip said, and it won’t be the first time they’re working together.
“I’ve known Bill for a long time,” Calip said. “We worked some camps when I was in college and that’s how I really got to know him. He’s a great coach. He’s a godly man and that’s something I like about him. He has that family tradition.
“I still have a lot of learning to do,” he said. “I was at Booker T. Washington for four years and my first head coaching job was at Bishop Kelley for one year before I went to the University of Tulsa, so I haven’t been a head coach long. People don’t know that when I first got the job at Booker T., he called me and was on my staff for three and a half months before he went to Fayetteville (Ark.) and I was looking forward to working with him.”
Calip began his duties at Owasso on Feb. 7.
Resigning from Booker T. late last month was difficult, he said.
“The hardest thing to do is leave your kids and that was the toughest thing for me, leaving Booker T.,” he said. “But I explained to them that it wasn’t anything personal. It was just a career move and a lot of them understood it.”
The Hornets replaced Calip by promoting Jonathan Brown, a 1994 BTW alum, from an assistant to head coach. Calip believes BTW will continue to be successful under Brown.
“Diversity and change is something Blankenship has brought to the Owasso program,” Calip said.
“I see a lot of African-Americans on that team and when I started in 2000 (at Jenks), you didn’t see that at all. Same with Broken Arrow, they’re getting a lot of diversity in their program and its just changing the game. I think Bill is of building a dynasty like Allen Trimble did (at Jenks),” Calip said. “Kids are flocking out here, we’re upgrading our facilities, we’ve got a big jumbotron, new fieldturf and an indoor facility. So he’s got that thing going well and they’re just going in the right direction. With him getting the diversity with players coming in there, I think it’s going to be a pipeline for him to have success in the future.”
Calip is hoping to finish his career in Owasso with hopes to take over the reins of the program when Blankenship retires.
“I think it’s a great move for me and my career,” Calip said. “What a great opportunity to work with one of the greatest coaches within the state of Oklahoma. I’m so excited to work for Bill. I hope this will be the last chapter. I’m 57 years old and I think I have about 10 or 12 more years maybe left in me and I would like to close my chapter there if I could.”