By Doug Eaton
Editor’s note: This is the second article in a series about Tulsa’s rich history of athletes and sports personalities who have made significant marks on their respective sports. In the August issue of GTR the personalities profiled were Steve Bowling, Bobby Cox, Joe Dial and Charlie Dumas.
NFL All-Pro player
Chris Harris was a three-sport (football, basketball and track) standout for Bixby High School and went on to play football at the University of Kansas. Despite recording an outstanding collegiate career, Harris went undrafted by any NFL team. He later signed as an undrafted free agent with the Denver Broncos for a paltry signing bonus of $2,000. Hard work, determination and talent paid off as Chris soon cracked the starting Bronco defensive lineup as a cornerback. In his first nine NFL seasons, he was named to the Pro Bowl four times and First Team All-Pro once in addition to being a Super Bowl Champion. This off-season, he signed a two-year, $20 million contract with the San Diego Chargers.
Olympic bronze medal winner
Earl Jones was born in Chicago, but is currently a Tulsa resident. He was a virtual unknown beginning the 1984 Olympic year, but soon made his presence known by winning U.S. Olympic Trials in an American record of 1:43.74 and then went on to win the bronze medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, less than a second from claiming the gold despite starting from lane one. He ran for Eastern Michigan University, and later won the 1985 NCAA title in the 800, after placing second in 1984. Sadly, a serious automobile accident resulted in the end of a short, but brilliant athletic career. He was in the world top 10 in the 800 meters for three years from 1984-86, ranking as high as number 3 in 1984.
Won two bowl games with two different teams – OU and Tulsa
Bobby Klinck is one of the most highly regarded high school football players in Oklahoma history. Klinck was a three-year starter and three-year (1998-2000) State Champion for the dominant Jenks Trojans, a perennial power program that claims a total of 16 football state championships.
In Klinck’s senior season (2000) for the Trojans, he rushed for over 2,500 yards and 33 touchdowns and recorded 73 tackles.
As the No. 14 ranked safety in the nation, Klinck was heavily recruited by dozens of NCAA Division I schools. He decided on the University of Oklahoma where he was part of the nation’s No.1 ranked recruiting class in 2001. He spent a redshirt year and then saw limited action when he decided to transfer to the University of Tulsa for more playing time. While at OU, Klinck was part of the Sooners’ 34-14 victory over Washington State for the 2003 Rose Bowl championship.
At Tulsa, Klinck helped the Golden Hurricane return to football prominence and its first Conference USA Championship since 1985. His efforts helped the Golden Hurricane to a 31-24 victory over Fresno State in the 2005 Liberty Bowl.
Thus, Klinck becomes one of only a handful of collegiate football players in history to claim two bowl victories with two different programs.
Klinck is currently head football coach at Charles Page High School in Sand Springs.
From Tulsa football team manager to NFL kicker
Jason Staurovsky was born in Tulsa March 23, 1963 and was a kicker in the NFL for six seasons, 1987-1992.
He played in a total of 46 games for the St. Louis Cardinals, New England Patriots and New York Jets. He played college football at the University of Tulsa.
Originally, the Golden Hurricane football team manager, Staurovsky, who had kicked for Bishop Kelley High School, worked himself onto the Golden Hurricane football team as a kicker and still holds the school record for most career field goals.