Jerry Jobe, of Edmond, Ok., who led Oklahoma Christian’s men’s basketball program to great heights during his tenure as coach and athletic director in the 1970s and 1980s, died Sunday December 27, 2020 in Oklahoma City, OK at the age of 85.
Jobe was a member of six Halls of Fame, including the OC Athletic Hall of Fame, into which he was inducted in 2007. He served as the Eagles’ coach for eight seasons – from 1975-76 through 1982-83 – posting a 211-56 record, a .790 winning percentage. During his tenure, OC won the 1982 NAIA District 9 championship and won 30 or more games three times. He received numerous coach-of-the-year honors in NAIA Area 3 (1982), NAIA District 9 (1978 and 1982), the Texoma Conference (1977 and 1978) and the Sooner Athletic Conference (1982). His OC teams won Texoma titles in 1977 and 1978 and SAC titles in 1979, 1980, 1982 and 1983.Jobe guided the Eagles to perhaps the program’s most famous win, a 90-76 drubbing of NCAA Division I Memphis State (now Memphis) in the old Mid-South Coliseum on Dec. 3, 1979.
Jobe’s son, Kelly Jobe, led the Eagles with 32 points as they controlled the game from start to finish. “They paid us a couple thousand dollars to go down there and play. They counted that as a victory,” Jerry told The Oklahoman in 2010. “We beat them soundly. My son Kelly had 30-plus points and it was probably the best ball game we ever played. “That trip to Tennessee also included wins over OC’s sister institutions, Lipscomb and Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.).
After the death of OC’s first athletic director, Ray Vaughn Sr., in 1980, Jerry also served in that role, in addition to his work as the men’s basketball coach.
Jerry’s wife, Laura Beth Jobe, served as OC’s first volleyball coach from 1977 to 1979 and again in 1982. She died on December 9, 2020. They had three children – son Kelly, a star basketball player for his father’s teams in the early 1980s, and daughters Sherry and Terry, who both were OC cheerleaders.
Jerry was born on March 6, 1935. He graduated from Chickasha High School – playing on a team that won a state championship in 1953 – before attending Eastern New Mexico University, from which he graduated in 1957.
After his college graduation, Jerry was hired as Chickasha’s head baseball coach and as an assistant coach in football and boys basketball. He later became Chickasha’s head boys basketball coach, guiding the Fightin’ Chicks to a 20-6 record and a state title in 1963.
In 1964, he moved into the collegiate ranks at Southwestern Oklahoma State, where he was hired to as the Bulldogs’ men’s basketball and baseball coach. In baseball, Jerry guided Southwestern to the 1966 collegiate state championship and into the NAIA Area 3 tournament. In basketball, the Bulldogs went 198-108 during Jerry’s 11 seasons at the helm, winning 20 or more games four times. In 1969, Southwestern won the District 9 title and advanced to the second round of the NAIA tournament.
He left Southwestern in 1975 to take the job at Oklahoma Christian, as the program’s fifth head coach. Jerry’s first team at OC finished 14-16, but then the wins came in bunches, with final season records of 30-3, 28-4, 27-7, 25-9, 23-10, 33-3 and 31-4. He coached five All-America players at OC – Kevin Jones, Kelly Jobe, Kenneth Orange, Norvell Brown and Ron Webb.
During the 1981-82 season, the Eagles went 33-3, posting winning streaks of 14 and 17 games and going 10-0 in SAC play. In the postseason, OC swept Central State (now Central Oklahoma), Northwestern Oklahoma State and Oklahoma Baptist to win the District 9 title and advance to the NAIA tournament. In Kansas City, Mo., the Eagles lost a 65-64 heartbreaker to Hampton Institute (Va.) in the opening round.
“It was the most fun we ever had as a family,” Jerry said about his time at OC. “I had the opportunity to coach my son for four years. My wife was a teacher and volleyball coach, and our two girls were cheerleaders. We couldn’t have had as much fun anywhere else”.
After resigning from OC in 1983, Jerry worked for the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association, serving with the governing body of Oklahoma high school athletics for 13 years before retiring in 1996 as the OSSAA’s associate executive secretary, a role which he’d held since January 1991.
Graveside services were Thursday, December 31, 2020 in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Chickasha..
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