Posts Tagged ‘Bacone College’

Native All-Star Football Game July 24, 2010

July 6, 2010

The Native All-Star Football Game is for Native American and Alaska Native high school football players along with Canadian Aboriginals who will graduate in 2010 that are able to prove their Native heritage by holding a tribal identification card from a federally recognized Native American Indian Tribe or a Canadian Indigenous Tribe.

Since 2002, this game has given young Native American men the honor to finish out their outstanding high school careers, many of whom go on to compete at the collegiate level, and others who begin new endeavors outside of football.

The original idea and concept of the game started with a man named Jeff Bigger. He was the founder of the Native All Star Idea. The first season the two coaches asked to coach in the game were Carl Madison and Herman Boone. Bigger stumbled across them both as friends of an acquaintance and both were also US Army All American Bowl coaches. Carl was one of the first head coaches in the game as well as the winner of the first Native All Star Game. 

There has only been one year (2006) where the game was not under the direction of either Jeff Bigger or John Harjo. That year the name of the game was played in Lawton, OK and renamed the Jim Thorpe Indian All Star Football Classic. It pitted former Muscogee (Creek) Chief and former Jenks head coach Perry Beaver up against former Miami of Ohio coach Jim Wachenheim. Perry’s team walked away with the game with a score of 35-0. While the score was lopsided the game seemed closer and was exciting to watch. 

In 2007 John Harjo retook the reigns of the game and moved it back to Lawrence, KS once again and Haskell hosted the closest ever NAS finish. Dave Brown and his East team won with no time left on the clock with a 2 pt conversion. The final play of the game the running back for the West took the ball back into his own endzone to secure the win even giving Brown and company the safety, but he did not take a knee or run out of the endzone. Quick thinking by a corner from the East took the ball from him tying the game as the horn went off. The play was never called dead and it resulted in a game tying touchdown. Eventual Game MVP and Choctaw Central runningback Joshua Parkhurst punched in the 2 pt conversion and helmets went flying in an unforeseeable upset.

2008-The original 2008 game was to be held on the Soboba Reservation near Hemet, CA. Tragedy and turmoil on the reservation caused game officials to quickly change the location of the game and move it to the home of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians near Philadelphia, MS. Miko Denson and A.D. Walt Wilson were very receptive and helpful in allowing the game to played at Choctaw Central. 6 months of planning and organizing were squeezed into 4 weeks and the NAS Football Game was given new life.  Dave Brown held off a 4th quarter offensive explosion by Coach Raymond and company for the victory.

In 2009 the head coaches were two former head coaches Bryan Raymond (Cherokee) and Jim Sandusky (Colville).  Both coaches lost in previous years and are great coaches and highly competitive.  Coach Raymond and the White team’s physical defense held the Red team’s prolific offense to 0 points.  Every time the Red’s got near the endzone the White team would tighten up in a bend but don’t break effort by a defense anchored by Matt Billy from McAlester, OK.  Billy, who won the Defensive MVP of the game, was also an Oklahoma All-State Selection. 

To find out more about this year’s game which is being played on July 24 at Bacone College in Muskogee, OK or the game’s history, check out

Returning Indians to Prominence in Football

October 6, 2008

Coming across a 1937 newspaper article in which Gus Welch launched a movement to return Indians to prominence in football. He was quoted as saying:


“The Indian is disappearing from football just like he disappeared from the forests. There used to be a lot of good Indian athletes—Thorpe, Guyon Mount Pleasant, Sweet Corn, Jim Levi, Tiny Roebuck and Mayes McLain. Pop Warner developed a dozen great ones at Carlisle and Haskell Institute produced a number. But they are fast dwindling. Most of the Indians we see in athletics today are impostors, or at best half-breeds. And they might as well be cigar store Indians in so far as I’m concerned.”


The article went on to say that Gus and his wife had recently adopted a baby girl. He insisted that the next child would be a boy adopted from one of what he considered the two fiercest tribes.


“I’m going to visit the Sioux reservation first and look over their crop of babies. If they don’t have anything to my liking, I’m going to pay the Cheyennes a call. I’m determined to find a real all-American and restore the Indian to his proper place in football.”


You already know that didn’t work out, but did you know that Bacone College attempted to revive Indian football after it was de-emphasized at Haskell Institute during the Great Depression? It was a natural thing for the little Muskogee, OK college to do because the school’s original name when it was founded in 1880 at the Cherokee Baptist Mission in Tahlequah by Almon C. Bacone was Indian University. Oklahoma’s longest-running institution of higher education was renamed Bacone Indian University in 1910. Later, its board of trustees gave it its current name. An irony is that Bacone and Haskell, both now four-year schools, play each other.

Gus Welch between Possum Powell and Jim Thorpe