Sports are human. So most every sports story is a human story. It’s a large part of why I’ve joined Sellout Crowd.
I wanted to learn something human about Brent Venables in the summer of 2022; to find some element in Oklahoma’s new football coach deeper than his commitment to hard-nosed defense or to running a football program at 212 degrees, which he’ll gladly tell you is the point at which water boils.
So I called up old friends of his in Norman. Spoke to Dabo Swinney and coaching peers across the country. I chatted with Jake and Tyler, the two Venables sons who played on their dad’s defense at Clemson. The former sounds a lot like his father now; the latter — I’m told — more like his father during his college days at Kansas State.
Some of what I learned is that Brent Venables crushes vegan sausage most mornings, that he became not only a smarter coach but a better father in his decade at Clemson and that it took taking that job 989 miles away from Norman for him to gain greater peace with the childhood he experienced in Salina, Kansas.
Sports are human. So most every sports story is a human story.
It’s a large part of why I’ve joined Sellout Crowd.
The ambitious goal here is simple: To change the way local sports coverage is produced and consumed in Oklahoma with a talented group of writers, podcasters and creators I’m now fortunate enough to call my teammates.
No different from before, we’ll write and podcast about Billy Bowman and Jenni Baranczyk, Kinzie Hansen, Patty Gasso and Porter Moser, too. But we’ll do it without paywalls. We’ll do it without deadlines. And we’ll do without any limitations beyond our obligations to you, the Oklahoma sports fan.
I’m a born and raised New Yorker who has adopted the Sooners State as a second home. Please believe me when I say it is a genuine honor to report stories here and to be part of the Oklahoma sports scene.
We’re going to write about wins in Lawrence, Kansas and losses in Waco, Texas. Pretty soon, we’ll get to report about them from exotic locales like Tusacaloosa, Alabama, Athens, Georgia and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
We’ll write about coaching changes, the transfer portal and NIL. National sports stories reside in Norman and we’re going to tell those, too. Analysis, criticism, perspective — it’ll all be here.
But there will also be more stories like that one I wrote about Venables just before his debut season last fall.
I got to write a lot of those — about Doc Sadler, Brayden Willis, Jackson Arnold, Derek Mason and Tulsa Athletic, for instance — in my previous job at the Tulsa World. I’ll be able to write a whole lot more of them here. I hope you’ll be game to think, feel and learn with me on each one.
That thing I said before about the obligation to the Oklahoma sports fan? I meant it.
You’re a part of this with me. I want to interact. I want your feedback on my reporting, my podcasting and newsletter writing on this site. And I want to build this thing together with you.
Now, can you believe I made it this far without explicitly mentioning OU’s impending jump to the SEC? Me neither.
Well, the Sooners are about to embark on a new era. So is sports journalism in the state of Oklahoma. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
So join the crowd, come along for the ride and jump in for this new journey we’ll take together.