KUSH Radio

Published on: 02/25/2008

Former Football Coach & Teacher Faye O'Dell Dies

Sean Kelly

KUSH Radio News

Faye O

Faye O'Dell
(Edmond) - Former Cushing High School Football Coach Faye O'Dell has died at age 81 at his family's home in Edmond. Funeral Services are set for Saturday at 1:00 PM at the First Baptist Church in Edmond, under the direction of the Memorial Park Funeral Home & Cemetery. Interment will follow in Chandler.

O'Dell's son John told KUSH this morning that his father had suffered from Parkinson's Disease, and succumbed yesterday.

The former Marine Colonel was a coach and teacher in Cushing in the late 50's and early 60's, and coached the Cushing Tigers to a State Football Championship.

Coach Faye O'Dell was born July 11, 1925 in Springdale, Arkansas to Nora and Robert L. O'Dell. While in high school, Faye lettered in Football, Basketball, Track, Baseball and Boxing. He was All-State and All-Conference in Football, All-Conference in Basketball, a State Champion in Track, and a Golden Glove Boxing champion. His freshman year in college took him to The University of Arkansas where he played halfback for the Razorbacks.

Immediately following football season his freshman year, Faye enlisted with the Marine Corps and fought to defend his country during WWII, serving in the South Pacific. At the end of the war, Faye finished his education at Central State University in Edmond, Oklahoma where he not only excelled athletically, once again being named to All-Conference for football and winning consecutive Golden Glove championships, but he was also elected student body president his senior year. It was that year that he met the love of his life, Mary Alice Crews. After dating a few months, Faye was called for service in the Korean War. They eloped July 14, 1950 and were married in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Upon returning from active duty in Korea, O'Dell began his coaching career in Cushing, Oklahoma. He also coached and taught in Cleveland, Drumright, and Perry, motivating young men and women to excel in the classroom and to be fierce competitors on the field.

During the late 1960's, Coach O'Dell began a motivational speaking career. From a humble beginning speaking to the Rotary Club in Cushing about his football team, he eventually became one of the most sought-after patriotic speakers in the nation, on average presenting more that 200 speeches a year. He proudly represented The Fellowship of Christian Athletes as he has traveled to 46 states speaking at events such as Coaches' Associations, NFL team devotionals, Marine Corps reunions, High School Banquets and even former Alabama football Coach Bear Bryant's retirement dinner.

He has been named to The Fellowship of Christian Athletes National Hall of Fame, Outstanding Alumni of Oklahoma Central University, and inducted into the Springdale Public Schools Hall of Fame. He served as President of the Oklahoma Coaches Association for a term and was named to the Oklahoma Coaches Hall of Fame in 1983. He also had the honor of coaching Oklahoma All-State Football players against Texas All-State players in the 1972 "Oil Bowl". But the most sentimental honor he received was the naming of the Cushing football field "O'Dell Field" in 1998.

His beautiful wife of 55 years, Mary, preceded him in death as did their infant son, Johnny Bob. Coach's survivors include his three children, John, Susan, and Shannon and their families; including ten grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

One of Coach O'Dell's greatest challenges in life was his battle with Parkinson's disease. It was with this "fight" that he exemplified what he taught throughout the years...integrity, intensity, positive attitude and toughness. It was his personal relationship with Jesus Christ that molded him into the man so many respected.

A celebration of Coach's life will be held Saturday, March 1st at 1:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 1300 E. 33rd, (33rd & Bryant) Edmond, Oklahoma under the direction of Memorial Park Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Oak Park Cemetery, Chandler, Oklahoma. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Faye O'Dell Scholarship Fund Fellowship of Christian Athletes, 3809 South Boulevard, Edmond, Oklahoma 73013.

Coach Faye O'Dell...

Semper Fidelis...Always Faithful