Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football games. Her mom kept the scorebook during baseball games and yelled her head off no matter the sport. They passed along that passion to Carlson and her two younger brothers.
Carlson played golf in high school and planned to play in college, but when she started at the University of Kansas, she decided to focus her attention on journalism. It’s a decision that she’s never regretted.
Her first big story was a profile on Kansas basketball coach Roy Williams for the yearbook, and Carlson has enjoyed interviewing sports figures and sharing their stories every since.
Carlson is a 1997 graduate of Kansas. She and her husband, Ryan, were married in 2009 and live in Oklahoma City. They welcomed their first child, Millie, in June 2012. Carlson was the president of the Association for Women in Sports Media from 2008-10 and chair of the board from 2010-12.
Updated: 5 hours ago
Eddie Sutton sat in his wheelchair in the bowels of the BOK Center, a black stocking cap on his head, an animal-print blanket on his lap and a cheesy grin on this face. It was hard not to smile at his smile. These are clearly trying days for the 83-year-old. His health isn’t great. His energy isn’t high. But Friday he spent much of the day at the NCAA Tournament games in Tulsa. Then he did the same again Sunday. And Sunday evening with son Sean on his left and former assistant Glynn Cyprien on his right — the Texas Tech staffers were still in suits and ties after a big second-round win — Sutton looked like he was in basketball heaven. Here’s hoping he’ll soon join the basketball pantheon.
Updated: 2 days ago
Joel Blumenthal wanted to block out every distraction. A solid plan on the biggest day of his life. But a couple times when a pass went high and he went just as high to snag it a couple Wednesdays ago, the crowd amassed for OU Pro Day would start buzzing. It was part “Wow,” part “Who?” “I heard that a little bit,” Blumenthal admitted. It was the sound of the football world taking notice of him. Almost two weeks have passed since the most-watched pro day of the year was held in Norman. Kyler Murray was the star of the show, big enough to convince two cable networks to go live with his throwing session. Even though the Oklahoma quarterback didn’t disappoint, he wasn’t the only one who
Updated: 5 days ago
Nick Collison smiled at the mention of his Iowa hometown, Iowa Falls. “Five stoplights,” he said, still grinning. Marissa VanWingen jumped in. “Six,” she said. “We got a new one.” VanWingen would know. She’s a reporter for the Iowa Falls Times-Citizen, the twice weekly newspaper in the small town in central Iowa. She usually covers sports at the three high schools in the county and the junior college in town. Wednesday night, she was in Oklahoma City to cover Collison’s jersey retirement. On a night the Thunder bestowed its greatest honor on Collison, VanWingen’s presence was a reminder of how big a deal this was back in his hometown some 600 miles away.
Updated: Tue, Mar 19, 2019
The first time Sam Presti spoke publicly in Oklahoma City, the basketball bunch he oversaw didn’t even have a name. But there was a vision. It was July 10, 2008, and the Sonics had announced only a week earlier they were leaving Seattle and moving to Oklahoma City. In a banquet room at the Skirvin Hotel — the franchise didn’t have a headquarters either — Presti talked repeatedly about core values. Hard work. Persistence. Resiliency. “What we’re trying to do is bring players … that have tremendous work ethics,” the general manager said. “Players that play for the team and give themselves to the team.
Updated: Sun, Mar 17, 2019
His name is Zev. He is 3 years old. That means he’s probably learning his ABCs and playing make believe and getting potty trained. He’s running and jumping and maybe even riding a tricycle. But now, he’s also trying to figure out how to do all that little-kid stuff with a broken arm. And authorities are trying to figure out if his daddy did something to cause that injury. Late Friday evening came the saddening, maddening news that former Oklahoma State receiver and current Kansas City superstar Tyreek Hill is again under investigation for battery. Five years ago, the victim was his pregnant girlfriend; Cowboy coach Mike Gundy quickly dismissed Hill. Now, the alleged victim is Hill’s son.
Updated: Fri, Mar 15, 2019
Sometime after the first couple gold balls had been handed out last Saturday, my good fortune dawned on me. Norman and Norman North had played for the Class 6A girls basketball crown, and the game was close until the end. The Class 5A boys title game followed, and Tulsa Memorial and Del City staged another dandy not decided until the fourth quarter. Two games. Two battles. I was batting a thousand. What a treat to see. But while those games were played at the Mabee Center, there were equally fabulous games happening at the Big House in Oklahoma City. The Anadarko girls pressed their way to title over Muldrow, the Adair girls ended Christian Heritage’s chance at a three-peat, and the Howe girls and super scorer
Jenni Carlson | Updated: Thu, Mar 14, 2019
Not doing the speed drills or the strength tests on Wednesday is yet another sign Murray is in line to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.
Updated: Wed, Mar 13, 2019
The Oklahoman's OU beat writers and others follow developments at OU Pro Day.
Jenni Carlson | Updated: Wed, Mar 13, 2019
I am not sure what Shane Keisel intended. “Get down on your knees like you’re used to!” When the Utah Jazz fan allegedly hollered those words at Russell Westbrook on Monday night, I don’t know whether Keisel meant it to be a racial insult. Or a sexual putdown. Or something else entirely. But what I do know is that once the words left Keisel’s mouth, he left the interpretation up to Westbrook. The Thunder superstar got to decide how he felt about what had been said, and as everyone knows by now, Westbrook felt degraded. Debased. Dehumanized. He snapped. “I’ll (expletive) you up,” he snarled at Keisel. Debate raged the day after the heated exchange.
Updated: Tue, Mar 12, 2019
STILLWATER — Sean Gleeson is a self-proclaimed New Jersey boy. He was born there. Raised there. He lived nearly his entire life there, the exception being his college years spent in nearby Massachusetts. Never has he lived outside the Eastern Seaboard. Needless to say, moving to Stillwater has been a bit of an adjustment. “I don’t have a pair of cowboy boots yet,” he said Monday with a chuckle. On the day Oklahoma State opened spring practice — and Gleeson met with the media for the first time since being hired from Princeton to be the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator — there were reminders about how different the new guy is. His voice is different, both in dialect and verbiage. His background is
Jenni Carlson | Updated: Sun, Mar 10, 2019
TULSA — Moments before tipoff, a chant went up from Norman High’s student section. “Nor-man Ti-gers!” Clap. Clap. Clap clap clap. After a few go arounds, the cheer died, and the Norman North student section answered with a chant of its own. “Nor-man Nor-rth!” Clap. Clap. Clap clap clap. On Championship Saturday, that was the first reminder about these girls basketball programs — they are different, but at the heart, they are cut from the same cloth. It made for a weird but wonderful afternoon at the Mabee Center. Norman 44, Norman North 31. “Who would’ve thought two Norman teams in the championship?” Norman senior Turner Mattingly said. “I mean, that’s crazy.
Updated: Fri, Mar 08, 2019
Sometime on Monday night, after the confetti has fallen and the trophy has been awarded and the nets have been cut at The Peake, Oklahoma City will say goodbye to the Big 12 women’s basketball tournament. We know not when it will come this way again. Or even if it will. There were times the off-and-on, decade-long marriage between the city and the tournament was glorious. Lots of love. Tons of excitement. But in recent years, the fire has cooled. So, on the day the Big 12 women’s tournament gets under way — Oklahoma-Texas Tech at 6 p.m., Oklahoma State-Kansas at 8:30 p.m. — an honest assessment of the relationship seems in order. Perhaps it’s time the tourney went elsewhere.
Updated: Thu, Mar 07, 2019
Walk into the field house at Millwood High School any afternoon in early March, a time when most basketball teams have already checked in their gear, and you’ll likely find someone. This week, it’s the boys. But exit through the lobby, past packed trophy cases, across the parking lot and into the old gym everyone calls “The Hot Box,” and you’re also likely to find a team getting ready for state. This week, it’s the girls. Having both teams headed to state isn’t anything new at this tradition-rich school on the northeast side of Oklahoma City. This marks the 16th time in 31 years. And yet, this year is like no other — the boys are led by a coach who succeeded a legend, the girls by a legend who
Updated: Tue, Mar 05, 2019
Gathering his players in the middle of the basketball court, Daniel Cunningham tried to tell them what to expect during a week like they’ve never had. Lots of excitement. Lots of attention. Lots of pressure? “No pressure,” he said, smiling. His boys basketball team at Putnam City High has been playing like a squad with nothing to lose. It rolled through state qualifying without a loss. It enters the Class 6A state tournament as one of the most dangerous teams in any classification. One of the most unlikely, too. Putnam City has already helped elevate its district to new heights. For the first time, all three high schools in the Putnam City School District qualified their boys basketball
Updated: Sun, Mar 03, 2019
Katelyn Ohashi usually leaves people in awe, what with her flipping, flying, bobbing, bouncing, splitting, smiling floor routine. But the UCLA gymnast has been the one in awe since that routine went viral. She’s been congratulated by Jesse Jackson, Gabrielle Union and Kamala Harris. She’s been on Good Morning America and in the New York Times. She’s been imitated by Stephen Colbert. (Well, sort of. A middle-aged late-night host can only do so much.) Best of all, she's been able to use the fame from the floor to bring attention to an issue important to her. “It’s been amazing,” Ohashi admitted about everything that's happened during a recent phone interview with The Oklahoman.
Updated: Sat, Mar 02, 2019
Christian Patterson pulled off his sweatshirt, rubbed his palms and bounced his legs. He knew it was his time. From his seat at the end of Cyril’s bench, he leaned over and waited for Shane McLemore to give the signal. Only when the coach looked and waved did the junior with the floppy brown hair spring out of his chair, sprint toward the scorer’s table and bound onto the court. What happened next will long be the stuff of Big House legend. On the day our state’s best small-school basketball teams punched their tickets to Saturday’s state championship games, there were tons of memorable moments at State Fair Arena. Big shots. Huge rebounds. But with an unbelievably classy assist from Okarche, nothing was
Jenni Carlson | Updated: Thu, Feb 21, 2019
Mike Gundy took a risk when he hired Sean Gleeson. It’s not about Gleeson’s lack of major-college coaching experience. Or his limited time as an offensive coordinator. Or his mere 34 years of age. His vitals upon arrival at Oklahoma State are nearly identical to Mike Yurcich’s — he also had no major-college coaching experience and was only 37 years old, though he had been a coordinator for seven seasons compared to Gleeson’s two — and we know what a smashing success Yurcich was. So where’s the risk with Gleeson? It’s lies in who Gundy didn’t hire and the precedent it continues in his program.
Updated: Tue, Feb 19, 2019
Andrew McGee felt many emotions as he attended tech workshops and met at-risk students and saw tangible results of his work with Russell Okung over the past few years. Wonder. Joy. Gratification. But a year or so ago as the two former Oklahoma State teammates did life-changing work in the Greater Foundation, a non-profit they co-founded to expand opportunities for minorities in tech, McGee felt another emotion creep in. “I was just agitated almost,” he said. Not angry. Antsy. “It wasn’t enough for me,” McGee said. “I felt like I could do so much more than work with just one athlete.” McGee recently launched iinfluence, a company that aims to do what he did with Okung, who just
Updated: Fri, Feb 15, 2019
Lindsey Morrison knew what to do with the big news on social media — go all caps. IT’S BRENNA DOWELL ON BEAM TIME. Morrison does PR for the Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team. That includes managing the team’s Twitter account. She sees what gets attention. She understands what makes waves. And when the Sooners had a last-minute scratch on the balance beam and went with Dowell, a fan favorite who had never competed beam in college, Morrison realized the announcement would be like throwing a virtual boulder into the online ocean. “And it blew up,” Morrison remembered. “The Gymternet is a strange place, honestly.” The Gymternet? You read right.
Updated: Thu, Feb 14, 2019
WEATHERFORD — When her coach started talking about implementing a full-court press this season, Hailey Tucker had questions. She is a 6-foot-2 forward. She is lean and lanky. But she is also a self-proclaimed slow girl. “You want me to get up in a press?” she asked. “Full court? Me?” Tucker laughs now at her concern over the change — because to the funneling, trapping, unrelenting system she questioned now gets credit for her team’s success. Southwestern Oklahoma State is on a 21-game winning streak, which ranks among the longest in all of college basketball this season. Men’s. Women’s. All levels of the NCAA. Only a couple teams have anything close to this.