5/23/2013 8:07:00 PM Dearinger puts Pioneer Pride into action
Tom Dearinger, left, presents the annual Dearinger Award to senior Callie Atkins. The award is presented annually to the outstanding female student-athlete at Stillwater High. Journal photo by Ron Holt
By Ron Holt
Pioneer Pride is a concept Tom Dearinger experienced up close and personal at Stillwater High.
It's a phrase that continues to be important to the 1967 SHS graduate.
That's why Dearinger, like many of his classmates and teammates, remain involved with the school.
While at SHS, Dearinger played football, basketball and ran track for the Pioneers. He later played football at Oklahoma State, where he graduated in 1971. He was a member of SHS's football coaching staff in the mid-1970's before entering the printing business.
"I know they have a lot of good coaches out there now, but we were blessed to have individuals as coaches who had a desire to better us as young men, not just as athletes," Dearinger said. "I really believe that was their main purpose because I'm sure they didn't get paid much back then."
Dearinger's involvement with the school has been wide spread. He sponsors the Dearinger Award, which began in the 1979-80 school year. This award goes to an outstanding female student athlete at SHS.
The Gallagher Award, named for former Pioneer Kenny Gallagher, was given for many years to the top male student-athlete.
"When Mike Turvey, who was a teammate of mine, came back to the school as the athletic director, he approached me about the need for an award for girls since women's athletics was taking off at that time," Dearinger said.
"It's something we've enjoyed doing ... it continues to give me a connection with the kids." Dearinger recently presented the 2013 award to senior basketball player Callie Atkins.
He also became involved with the Stillwater Pioneer Athlete Memorial with former SHS head coach Jim Harris in 1994. The S.P.A.M. honors former Pioneers who are deceased for their contribution to the school. The first induction ceremony was held in 1996.
The S.P.A.M. also awards a scholarship, named in Harris' honor, Holteach year to an SHS athlete. The award began as a $2,000 over four years' gift but has grown to $2,000 a year for four years.
"When Nick Dreessen, a teammate of mine, died several people donated money to his family. Mr. Dreessen (Ralph) wanted to donate the money but he wanted it to go toward more than bricks and mortar," Dearinger said. "That was the seed money given for a scholarship and it has grown from there.
"There were a lot of people involved initially with Coach Harris taking the lead in getting the Stillwater Pioneer Athlete Memorial started."
Jenny Scarbrough, a Lady Pioneer softball/basketball player, was honored with the scholarship last week.
Dearinger, along with his brother Rick, a former Pioneer, contributed to the NewsPress' Player of the Week awards when this reporter was sports editor of that publication.
An SHS and Area Player of the Week were selected in football and basketball. Certificates were awarded to several players but the top player at SHS and the area received plaques, courtesy of Dearinger Printing & Trophy. Each Thursday, Dearinger presented the award during a team meeting at SHS.