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Win Case's Oklahoma roots run deep, even though he's now at Ole Miss

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The face will look familiar when you see it on the Ole Miss bench Friday, during the Rebels’ NCAA Tournament game against Oklahoma. The smile will be the dead giveaway.

Winfred Case.

Yes, Win Case. The eternally young, always smiling, personality deluxe Win Case.

Case, the protégé of Paul Hansen and the college teammate of Bill Self, has been gone from Oklahoma for 11 years, the length of time he’s been an assistant coach to Kermit Davis, a full decade at Middle Tennessee State and now a year at Mississippi.

But Case’s Oklahoma ties remain deep. Tulsa Hale High School. Seminole State College. A two-year teammate of Self at OSU, where they were the starting backcourt in both 1983-84 and 1984-85. The 13-year head coach of Oklahoma City University, where he produced two NAIA national title teams. Coach and athletic director at Eastern State and Redlands junior colleges.

“Obviously, Oklahoma will always be home to me,” Case said this week.

Case easily reels off the names of Oklahomans who are special to him. Darrell Johnson, who hired him as an assistant at OCU way back in 1990. Self, who recommended Case to Davis 11 years ago. And the late Hansen, who coached both OCU and OSU and was among the most likable Oklahomans ever.

Case didn’t just like Hansen. He loved his coach, who died in 1993 at age 64.

Hansen left OSU after Case’s senior season and resumed his coaching career at USAO in Chickasha. He took Case with him.

“If it wasn’t for Paul Hansen, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Case said. “I’m there at Oklahoma State University and didn’t really know what I wanted to do in life. He could have easily forgotten about me, but he cared so much about his players. And if it wasn’t for him I know for a fact, and I thank him every single day and I’ll never forget him, of him bringing me with him, and in turn, this is where I am today, because of Paul Hansen.

“The thing that I’ve taken from him is just how to treat people. The janitor was just as important to him as the president of the university. He treated people so well.”

The Hansen/Self/Case triangle continues to this day. Case’s son, Jeremy Case, was a star at McAlester High School who in 2003 signed with Kansas, as part of Self’s first recruiting class. Jeremy Case played on KU’s 2008 NCAA title team and now is video coordinator on Self’s Kansas staff. And when Davis was looking for an assistant coach in 2008, Self suggested Case.

“Bill kind of got the ball rolling a little bit,” Case said. “I got a call from Kermit Davis. I had heard that he was one of the better coaches out there, and that I could learn a lot, and going to a Division I program really interested me a lot. Kind of all evolved. Ended up working for him and learned so much from him, loved working for him.”

Case returned to Stillwater in December 2014 for an OSU-Middle Tennessee game. The Cowboys won easily, 68-44, but the night was memorable for Case.

“I was almost in tears, just coming back,” Case said. “That was my first game back as a coach on the opposite bench. And getting the reaction I got from the fans just really touched my heart. So it’ll always be a special place for me.”

Case, 55, would like to be a head coach again. He misses the gameplanning and decision-making that goes with the top job. He figures working so long for Davis will lead to some options.

Case was ultra-successful at OCU. The Stars were 315-96 in Case’s 13 years as head coach and won NAIA titles in 1994 and 1996.

“Oklahoma City University gave me my first head coaching job,” Case said. “I’ll always be very very loyal and thankful to them, and I’m always rooting for them as well.”

High school. Small college. Junior college. OSU. Case has ties to them all. His OU ties are limited to competition, and those renew on Friday, when Case will sit on the bench opposite the Sooners, with a smile on his face and Oklahoma memories on his mind.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at 405-760-8080 or at btramel@oklahoman.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

Related Photos
<strong>Ole Miss assistant coach Win Case greets a player before the Rebels' Jan. 19 game against Arkansas. Case has many ties to Oklahoma, including as a player at OSU. [Josh McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics]</strong>

Ole Miss assistant coach Win Case greets a player before the Rebels' Jan. 19 game against Arkansas. Case has many ties to Oklahoma, including as a player at OSU. [Josh McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-0518886817030fdccc5698c34c937f1a.jpg" alt="Photo - Ole Miss assistant coach Win Case greets a player before the Rebels' Jan. 19 game against Arkansas. Case has many ties to Oklahoma, including as a player at OSU. [Josh McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics] " title=" Ole Miss assistant coach Win Case greets a player before the Rebels' Jan. 19 game against Arkansas. Case has many ties to Oklahoma, including as a player at OSU. [Josh McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics] "><figcaption> Ole Miss assistant coach Win Case greets a player before the Rebels' Jan. 19 game against Arkansas. Case has many ties to Oklahoma, including as a player at OSU. [Josh McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics] </figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

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