Burl Andrew Plunkett (1931-2008)

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Burl Andrew Plunkett (1931-2008)

June 05, 2008

Burl Andrew Plunkett (1931-2008), died Thursday, June 5, 2008 after a long illness at his home in Ada, Oklahoma. Plunkett is survived by his wife, Juneiva, a son, Gil, Gil’s wife, Crystal, and one granddaughter, Lyndsey. Plunkett was born in 1931 in Plunkettville, a community so small it isn’t even listed on Oklahoma’s offical state map. Bob Wallis, who worked as an assistant with Plunkett said “he was quite the bull rider” and “he never got too far from his cowboy roots,” even while coaching in the Big Eight Conference. In a career that spanned parts of five decades, Plunkett recorded more than 1,000 coaching wins. Having engineered 35 district championships, 16 state tournament qualifiers and three girls’ state championships, while coaching 21 all-state honorees, Plunkett was honored several times in his career. In 1985 he was named the Oklahoma boys’ coach of the year and earned the girls’ coach of the year honor the following season. In 1970, Plunkett was selected to coach in the Oklahoma-Texas Girls All-State Game. Plunkett was enshrined into Valliant High School’s Alumni Hall of Fame in 1997. The former All-American at Centenary College (Shreveport, LA.) began his career as the junior varsity coach at his college alma mater. In 1962 he returned to his hometown and was the boys’ and girls’ head coach at Valliant (Okla.) High School for three seasons. Plunkett then coached the teams at Tuloso-Midway (Corpus Christi, Texas) High School (1966-71), Byng High School (1971-79) and Idabel High School (1980-90) before accepting the head coaching position at OU. As a player, Plunkett earned all-state honors at Valliant his senior season in 1951 and held the state’s scoring record for 28 years. After earning his associates degree in physical education from Tyler (Texas) Junior College, Plunkett averaged 17.9 points in two seasons at Centenary, where he was named a Helms Foundation All-American in 1954. In 1990, Oklahoma women’s basketball was in turmoil after university administrators briefly dropped the program. After receiving much criticism the program was reinstated with Gary Hudson as head coach and he asked Plunkett to be one of his assistants. In 1993 Plunkett was named head coach. He took OU to its second NCAA tournament appearance in school history in 1995. Plunkett retired in 1996 citing health concerns. The coach OU hired to replace Plunkett, Sherri Coale, remains with the Sooners. Coale said Plunkett left an indelible mark on the sport of women’s basketball in the state of Oklahoma, and he was beloved by his players. Before coaching the Sooners, Plunkett won three state championships, including back-to-back titles at Byng High School in 1975 and 1976. Services were held at the Valliant High School on Sunday, June 8 at 2:00 p.m. Plunkett’s family has established a Scholarship in his memory. Memorial contributions may be sent to the First State Bank, P.O. Box 775, Valliant, Oklahoma 74764. The family would like to thank the many friends who sent cards, flowers, prayers and contributions at this time of loss. Condolences to the family may be expressed at www.adaeveningnews.com.
Published on June 23, 2008
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